What is company culture and how does it impact on a workplace?
The best way to think about or define company culture, is to think about it as the personality of the company. Company culture can include a variety of elements, including work environment, company vision, mission and values, work ethics, organisational drive and direction, as well as brand, reputation and goals.
Company culture is set at the top, from the executives and or founders of the company. They set the tone of the culture that filters down and throughout the company hierarchy. If the executives and leaders of an company treat each other and create an environment of competitiveness, combativeness, aggressive and dog-eat-dog, these types of behaviours will be systemic within the company. On the other hand, if a company’s leaders are collaborative, team-oriented and enjoy coming to work, this will create a work environment to match.
There are clear reasons and benefits of ensuring that a company’s culture is recognisable and relatable for all employees across all levels:
The company’s culture contributes to the identity and values of the company. If your company culture is driven by profits and revenue, then your employees will be driven by the same matrix. If your company culture is driven by engagement, team participation and inclusion, then your employees will be attracted and driven by the same matrix.
A strong and identifiable culture can attract people with similar morals, ethics and values. When people feel like they belong to a team, they are more likely to stick around for the long term, therefore lowing turnover and increasing retention.
Ensuring that a company has a strong brand and reputation can also prove beneficial to the company’s culture. Brands that have a reputation for looking after their employees, for providing support and guidance throughout an employee’s career lifecycle can instill loyalty. Employees will defend the company and will remain committed in hard times. Having a good reputation can help to attract better talent and encourage employees to refer friends to join the company.
How companies respond on social media and to social / political issues can also contribute to the culture within an organisation. Companies that supported same sex marriage during the recent Australian 2017 postal vote, were considered more inclusive, forward thinking, diverse and acceptive than those who remained silent. Companies that recognise and celebrate their team’s diversity perform better and problem solve faster.
Over the years, company culture has become a buzzword, that many organisations throw around with no real understanding of its implications. Ensuring that a strong and positive culture exists within a company not only create an environment where people want to work, but it can become the underlying reasons for success in the long term. Companies that have created a distinct, supportive workplace culture have a competitive advantage overs those that struggle to understand their personality in the market.