Company culture is a popular buzzword that is used to cover a multitude of things. It isn’t easy to define, but broadly speaking, it is a company’s values, beliefs, and behaviors. It’s also the vibe. Company values may say one thing, but the truth of the matter is shown in their culture. It’s how the company deals with their customers, how the employees respond to one another, and how management relates to the lower-level staff.
The goal of every company should be to establish a strong culture that supports productivity, profitability, fair treatment of employees, advancement, and an overall happy workplace.
What is Company Culture
Company culture is the common set of beliefs that form the organizational strategy and structure. Think of company culture as the personality of the company. So then, culture dictates how it behaves, how it responds to situations, how employees know what is expected of them, and what actions get rewarded or reprimanded.
Employers set company culture, beginning with who they hire and onboard.
How Company Culture Works
Like your personality, some parts of company culture may be deliberately cultivated, while other facets just develop without your notice. But however it all came about, it is clearly seen and felt by the employees. The culture lets them know how to respond to customers, what their daily attitude to work should be, what behaviors and work ethics are acceptable, and what support they can expect from the company.
Some company cultures are traditional and hierarchical, while others are more team-based and encourage feedback and participation from everyone on all levels. The employees learn very quickly which type of culture they have joined.
Traditional company cultures:
- Provide clearly defined roles
- Define exact procedures or processes for any expected situation
- Distinguish leaders and explain who is responsible for who
- The advancement process is formal and strict
Relaxed company cultures:
- Leadership is informal and casual
- Roles are defined, but employees may work on other projects or take on additional roles
- Advancement may come by alternative routes
- Feedback is encouraged
- While procedures and processes are described, creativity is encouraged
How to Identify Company Culture
As company culture isn’t always easy to see, here are ways to identify it.
First things first, what does the company say about itself? Check out their About Us page on the website. It usually discusses how and why they began and states their company values and mission. You can get a feel for the company this way.
Talk to people who have worked for that company in the past. Hear what they have to say about their experience. You can also check online for employee reviews or ratings of the company.
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Ask Good Interview Questions
If you’re interviewing for a place in a company, ask good questions. The interviewer will ask you questions to see if you will fit in there, but you should also ask questions. Think about things that are important to you, like will they naturally expect you to work past regular hours, what your daily schedule is likely to look like, or how much of your work will be independent instead of teamwork.
Once you have the job, you can ask to shadow someone for a day or two. This will give you real insights into the company’s culture and get your real questions answered.
Why Company Culture is Important
Company culture is crucial because it reveals how the organization views and values people and tasks. A more relaxed culture is people-centered and values its employees as the main drivers of the good that happens for the company. They prioritize the well-being of their people over processes or even profits. Most people in this environment will feel valued and seen. They will be happy to commit to more work because their sacrifices are acknowledged. They feel a part of the organization.
As good as this kind of organization sounds, it’s not a good fit for everyone. Some people prefer to work within a traditional culture that values processes and procedures. This company is task-oriented and believes that efficiency drives the company’s productivity and performance. Whichever company culture you become a part of, it needs to be one where you will thrive. This may be a different environment for everyone.
People spend a great deal of their life in the workplace. Company culture matters because it determines the well-being of people for a large portion of their day. It affects their physical, mental, and emotional health, and family life, and finances. A person trying to survive in toxic company culture is also trying to survive their life. The negativity of work will overshadow any good they experience elsewhere.
The Benefits of Positive Company Culture
A company that actively cultivates a positive, healthy company culture will benefit significantly.
Attracts the Best Talent
Up to 66% of job seekers ranked a strong company culture as the most important factor in the companies they considered.
Greater Employee Engagement
Companies with strong cultures get up to 72% higher employee engagement than companies that don’t put in the work. This means that 72% more employees feel excited, passionate, and invested in their work than those working for other companies.
Keep Your Talent
Organizations that have a strong culture retain more of their people. In fact, they have 40% higher employee retention rates than other companies. People stay where they feel valued and heard.
Engaged Teams Outperform Others
- Engaged teams outperform peers by 10%, according to customer ratings.
- Engaged teams are 21% more productive.
- The work produced by engaged teams is 22% greater in profitability.
Company Culture in a Nutshell
People spend such a significant part of their lives at work that the culture they’re immersed in matters. A strong positive culture can make employees feel valued and supported and can attract the best talent and commitment. Weak, unhealthy company culture is harmful on every level and can make people feel stressed, anxious, and unhappy. But strong company culture isn’t just good for the employees. The employers also benefit. Companies that cultivate strong, positive cultures benefit from more productive and profitable workplaces.
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