If you had to define your company’s corporate culture, could you look in training manuals or business documents and find it? Probably not.
Corporate culture isn’t the result of a written code of conduct or mission statement. It’s the approach to management, employee interaction, and customer relations that organically surfaces based on the types of people you hire. And it means everything to the success of your business.
Technology, now an inherent part of our everyday lives, has changed the way we relate to colleagues compared how we did even a decade ago. Tech tools that connect us 24/7 provide channels for consistent communication and collaboration. But they also hold an equal capacity to undermine corporate culture if we aren’t mindful of keeping a work/life balance.
Why Corporate Culture Matters
Unlike so many tangible things in business—your product, your service, your policies and your numbers—corporate culture is intangible. Yet, just like those tangibles, it can be either an asset or a liability.
Imagine what would happen if you hired a group of people who didn’t care about their work. They did the minimum necessary to get paid each week, they put no energy into innovation, and they had no desire to further their careers. What kind of corporate culture would arise from that group of individuals?
Likewise, a positive, customer-friendly culture results when you hire go-getters who are more than financially invested in the success of your business.
How Management Can Steer Corporate Culture
You can’t manufacture or force a corporate culture, but there are ways you can influence the one that organically occurs in your company.
1.Hire the right people. You cannot treat corporate culture and as a policy that employees must abide by. Instead, you have to nurture and nourish it with the choices you make and the actions you take. One of the most fundamental choices that will create your culture is hiring. Hire people who naturally embrace and exude the very traits you want in your corporate culture.
2. Embody the traits you want corporate culture to reflect. As a company owner or manager, it’s your job to make sure that you, too, are embodying the traits that are critical to your desired culture. Nothing will chip away at a great team’s willingness and dedication as quickly as a management team that undermines them.
3. Provide perks that enhance the culture. Entrepreneur Magazine points out that many companies mistake perks for culture. As if providing free food and coffee to employees will make them happy!While perks can help enhance and encourage a certain culture, they don’t create it. Thoughtful perks, however,can support the underlying culture you want to build. Think about perks that help support career growth, that offer flexibility for work-life balance, and that help employees communicate, collaborate and create more effectively.
Corporate culture doesn’t just impact the way your customers see and experience your business; it impacts your ability to attract and retain great employees. It impacts your ability to succeed. The Harvard Business Review says culture “can account for 20-30% of the differential in corporate performance when compared with ‘culturally unremarkable’ competitors.”
So, hire the right people, zero in on what makes your team tick and enjoy the many benefits a great culture will create.