11 Jan Who’s Watching Your Company Culture?
What is company culture? We hear this term so often in the workplace, yet there doesn’t seem to be a true understanding of what it is, the purpose, the benefits, or the impact culture has on an organization.
Before answering these questions, let’s clear up what culture is not. It’s not your mission and vision statements or a poster in your break room with suggested good/bad behaviors.
Your mission provides the why; the purpose of your company. Your vision provides the goal(s) you are working towards.
Culture is the unwritten, invisible habits in which you use to reach those goals. It’s a culmination of values and behaviors that create a specific experience within your organization – for your employees and your customers. Simply put, it’s the how not the why of your organization.
And every company gets to determine what this looks like for their organization.
The success of your business will be determined by the clarity you have around the culture you want and the actions taken to cultivate that culture. If you’re not clear on the culture you want and you’re not taking care of your employees, you won’t see your desired business results.
When clear expectations and values have been determined, to successfully create that culture those values need to be modeled . . . by you. The company’s leadership team, executives, and managers are responsible for nurturing that culture.
Why? Because these are the individuals who are engaging with others the most to visually and verbally model these desired behaviors. In many cases, I’ve seen companies who have asked their HR directors to shoulder the responsibility for cultural cultivation, and while they too need to model it, they are not engaging with employees as often as managers and leaders.
Culture needs to follow a top-down model to gain traction, respect, and follow-through from employees. Interaction is necessary for developing a healthy culture and employees need to see that their leaders are walking the walk, not just talking it.
The Good and The Bad
There are companies that do a phenomenal job of cultivating effective cultures.
Unfortunately, a lot more aren’t doing such a great job. But the thing is, whether a company has a “good” or “bad” culture depends on what the employee wants and what the company wants.
Culture comes down to how you treat and interact with others. Your culture will reflect this if you’re only focused on the results and not the team who gets you there. This is where you’ll run into retention and turnover challenges.
One of the biggest mistakes I see in the hiring process is not hiring for a cultural fit but only for a competency fit. This eventually catches up with companies as conflict, dissatisfaction, and unproductive behaviors creep in.
3 Ways to Cultivate a Healthy Culture:
Purpose: Determine what your company’s purpose is and create clarity around this purpose. Ask yourself if you (or the leaders) in your company are modeling the values of this purpose and why/why not.
Accountability: Are the leaders responsible for culture being held accountable for modeling it? Are they ensuring it is trickling down through all levels of the organization? Determine how leadership will be held accountable for modeling the desired behaviors.
Trust: Without trust, your desired culture will not occur. Actions speak louder than words, so by modeling and leading by example you will build trust.
Your company culture affects the health of your organization. Having clarity around what you want that to look like and how to model (as well as modeling it) can significantly increase many important facets of your business, from retention and satisfaction to more innovation and collaboration, to ultimately better business results.
If you’re finding it difficult to pinpoint your company’s culture or are looking for ways to better cultivate your company’s culture, connect with me for a free 15-minute diagnosis to see what improvements can be made.