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Company Culture – The Fundamentals

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Company culture is an integral part of every business. Culture can define a business and make a significant difference when it comes to providing a positive and motivating workplace that retains employees and keeps them happy.

After reading this article, you’ll realize that your company culture really is the backbone to your business. Why you ask? Culture touches every aspect of your business from the company’s vision, values, practices, people, and the place you work. Without the fundamentals, you could be at risk for creating an unmotivating working environment which may cause your employees to struggle to find the value in their own work, which in turn has several negative consequences for your bottom line.

All companies have a “vision” or “mission” statement and without it there’s no direction. These statements give companies their purpose and affects every decision employees make. Great vision or mission statements align you with customers, suppliers, business partners, etc. The company vision is a foundational element in creating a sturdy company culture. While a company’s vision is the foundation to any business, its values are the core of its culture. And, while your company’s vision certainly articulates its purpose, the values are created to set expectations on behaviors and mindsets to help achieve what the company’s vision is. When you put like-minded people in a room you are organically drawn to each other and become a team which effectively allows you to accomplish more. That’s why recruiting and hiring the right people is critical for any business and finding someone who will execute your vision while using the values as their guidelines to achieve that.

Ever heard the term “practice what you preach?” Practices include everything from company events, recruitment and hiring, onboarding, running meetings, recognition and performance management programs, and how decisions are made. In aligned organizations, the same core values and beliefs motivate and unite everyone, flowing down from the C-levels to individual contributors. Great companies and leaders know that building and sustaining a culture is extremely difficult. It takes time to define and it takes work to execute. However, if you spend time understanding the expected behavior throughout the organization, identify what policies and systems are in place to help sustain those behaviors, and are actively shaping practices that will help the employees, the organization will naturally become better allowing you to close any culture gaps.

Believe it or not, a ping pong table, the occasional work from home day, and keg isn’t always the answer when we’re talking about retaining top talent or keeping employees happy. No company can build a cohesive culture without hiring people who either share its core values or possess the willingness and ability to embrace those values. When you have engaged employees, it’s easier to retain them, keep them motivated, and have them fully committed to the company. Overall, an employee who is aligned with your company vision and values is going to exceed their goals, take initiative, be a positive influence within the organization, will be a problem solver, and will see themselves developing a long term career within your company.

What’s in it for the employer? An engaged workforce adds several benefits to the business. To name a few – higher productivity, better customer service and relationships, and lower turnover. The place you work at has an impact on your company culture. Whether you’re the owner deciding where your new office space will be or an employee choosing your next place of work, determine what environment you want to be in to ensure it’s a fit. If you have an office with an open floor plan it would allow for more collaboration. Why do you think these tech companies have offices with big open floor plans with desks lined up or facing each other? It’s so they are given more opportunity to interact with one another as things come up so they’re continually creating and collaborating as a team. If you have an office with cubicles or closed doors, it’s naturally going to provide an environment for less collaboration. Take into account where the office is located and how it’s designed as it will have a direct impact on the behaviors of the people in the workplace. There are several key components that shape and identify a company’s culture. These are just a few elements that will help in developing the foundation of your organization. Always remember, as your company is changing and growing, it’s imperative you’re continually developing and nurturing its culture.

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