Your company has a culture. No matter how big or how small, your company is made up of people. And people create cultures. Good or bad, intentional or unintentional, you will have a company culture.
A culture is made up of the habits, customs, and preferences that make up any society. And if you’re not careful, those preferences and habits may not match the overall vision you have for your workplace.
It’s made up of what we do, not what we say we’ll do.
The importance of company culture
Company culture matters to current and prospective employees. In fact, culture is significantly more important to American workers than it was in previous years. And it should be important to you as well.
One Gallup report on the state of the American workplace states that disengaged employees cost up to $605 billion each year in lost productivity. They’re twice as likely to seek new jobs. When asked what was most important to job seekers, the top responses were:
• Ability to do what they do best
• Work-life balance and personal well-being
• Stability and job security
• Increase in income
• Company brand and reputation
This has everything to do with culture. You can offer more money, put ping pong tables in your office, or offer free yoga lessons, but at the end of the day people want to work at a place they like going to where they can do what they do best.
It’s not rocket science. We spend a good chunk of our lives at work. Why not choose a place we like?
Intentionality in company culture
Your culture is affected by the people you hire and the policies you put in place. Regardless of the size of your business, each individual has an influence on culture rather you’re a small business where one employee influences the entire business, or a large company where each department is a small business and the same logic applies. It just takes one toxic employee to bring down the whole.
You can either have a culture that’s built intentionally or one that grows haphazardly. If you want to build a strong company culture, lower your turnover, and increase your team’s productivity, you need to be intentional.
First, ask yourself three questions:
• Why do we exist?
• What values are most important to us?
• What’s our vision for the future?
And be honest. Lots of companies put “integrity” somewhere on their mission statement or list of values. Is it the most important thing for you, though? Don’t make up values if they have no relation to what you actually do on a daily basis.
Once you know why you exist, what’s important to you, and where you’re headed, you can break it down into the nuts and bolts. Are you hiring people that are on board with that vision? Is everyone you have right now on board with it? If not, you need to adjust your process.
Be consistent with policy—if it’s true for one person, it has to be true for everyone. And if you have a policy that’s consistently being ignored, either change the policy or change your culture.
Perhaps most importantly, you need to make sure people are comfortable with bringing up problems or disagreeing. They need to feel heard. If there are problems in the workplace, they need to have a place to get them out. Create feedback loops at every level to give them a voice.
And last but not least, make sure leaders and managers are doing what they’re supposed to. You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Employees know and care when you don’t.
You need everyone on board to build a strong, intentional company culture. It’s not just the responsibility of your HR person or your team leads. It’s everyone’s responsibility. Know what your culture is. Work towards what it should be. And at the end of the day, you’ll see the benefits in engagement, retention, and reputation.
Ready to get intentional about your company culture? We can help you create policies, procedures, and training to create the culture you want in your company. Contact us today.