In simple terms, organizational culture refers to the personality of an organization. It relates to the day-to-day beliefs and behaviors of the professionals who work together in a company within the same work environment.
This would include how they act and engage with the organization, the values they ascribe to these actions, their personal goals and how these align with the goals of the business, and how employees engage with each other.
Purpose plays a large role here. Because without a stated purpose, then the individuals within that group don’t know how they fit in and align with that purpose. It is vital for employees to understand the company’s mission, vision, and goals. This means that every employee in the organization should know what the company wants to achieve. But, these organizational goals should also align with their own individual goals.
This fact that’s often overlooked. It’s not enough for employees to do their tasks because “that’s just my job” or “I need to make money somehow”. The repetition of menial tasks, day after day, adds up to a monotony that can become unbearable. Identifying and working diligently with a purpose adds meaning, passion, and intention to every action you take.
When a company has a clearly stated purpose, and it is known and understood by the entire organization, there is a tangible and noticeable energy in the air. Employees are upbeat and enthusiastic about their jobs. They feel like they’re a part of something. Compare that to a company that does not operate this way, and it is just as noticeable. It is far less energetic and filled with employees who are punching the clock.
A recent McKinsey study showed that employees expect their jobs to bring a significant sense of purpose to their lives. Employers need to help meet this need or be prepared to lose talent to companies that will.
A strong corporate culture and a great place to work — where every employee knows their values and acts in line with their company’s values — helps even large organizations work like a well-oiled machine. Human Resources will find it easier to engage employees with a good corporate culture behind them. This is because everyone in the company will know the company’s expectations and the generally accepted ways of treating one another in the workplace.
When everyone from senior management downward is rewarding behaviors that contribute positively to the culture, it becomes deeply embedded in the company’s values and ways of conducting business. Hence, organizational culture is a long-term investment, but it pays off.
A Deloitte study shows that 94 percent of executives and 88 percent of employees believe a distinct culture is important for the success of a business. Companies with a strong culture stand head and shoulders above the crowd with 20 percent higher employee satisfaction ratings for collaboration, environment, and values.
When the culture isn’t as positive and strong, the alignment to company values becomes tenuous. This means that more effort needs to be placed in controlling employees, monitoring their behavior and productivity, and keeping them working as efficiently as possible.
The advantages of company culture are obvious. It means that less monitoring is required by managers and team leaders and that the work of the employees is of a higher quality and value to the company. Tracking or monitoring software becomes redundant almost because your team is just getting on with the tasks at hand — and doing it well. Company culture helps improve organizational performance.
A tight-knit crew of professionals, who all understand and ascribe to the values stated by their employer, is far more likely to be resilient to change. Teamwork becomes the order of the day and onboarding new employees becomes a smooth procedure, where it is also obvious as a sore thumb when someone isn’t going to fit in. This also makes hiring a lot easier.
For example, if your company has a strong set of values and purpose to help affect positive change in the community, and you interview someone who has absolutely no interest in community engagement or social responsibility, then it wouldn’t make that much sense to try and fit a round peg in a square hole, so to speak.
Effectively communicate your organization’s mission statement, vision, and values. This helps create the sense of having a shared goal and shifts your employee’s mindset from being a cog in a wheel to a key part of a team. Communication goes both ways — it isn’t just talking to your employees. It’s listening as well. 75 percent of employees say that they would stay longer at an organization that listens to and addresses their concerns. 65 percent of employees who don’t feel they can approach their manager with any type of question are actively disengaged.
Encourage collaboration between employees to reinforce the idea that you are a team. A culture of collaboration highlights the freedom for individuals and teams to practice active communication and sharing of knowledge and skills. This helps to break down departmental silos and creates an openness to share ideas and creative solutions. 86 percent of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.
While we can sometimes get bogged down in the fact that we’re dealing with serious situations with serious repercussions, making your workplace fun and light-hearted will always go a long way in bringing out the best in your people. Making an effort to lighten up the “game of work” can set the table for a fun and great place to work. Use games and team-building activities to energize your teams. Celebrate each others’ successes. Hold competitions. Encourage breaks. There’s a lot you can do to create good vibes around your workplace.
Nurturing a diverse and inclusive workplace promotes a culture centered on honoring differences with dignity and respect. Adopt a policy of kindness to others. This makes everyone feel comfortable and welcome. It also has the added benefit of attracting top talent who may have creative solutions that will ultimately benefit the entire group.
Happy employees are the hallmark of what makes an amazing workplace and a top-notch company culture. By cultivating a work environment centered on employee wellbeing, you create an atmosphere of trust and support. An increased sense of wellbeing raises productivity by 31 percent and inspires 59 percent more loyalty among employees. 60 percent of employers see the positive impact of employee wellbeing programs on employee retention. 61 percent believe that it improves engagement and overall productivity.
Organizational culture isn’t just something nice to talk about because it happens to be a hot topic right now. It is literally the backbone of a company and reflects the daily experience of everyone working there. Putting attention on improving your company culture will not only improve your company’s chances at success, but it will make it a home for your work family and an amazing place to work.