What Company Culture Is and Why It Matters

Every organization has a culture. Every business and its employees are part of that culture. Defined as an institution’s unwritten rules or norms, a company’s culture is an amalgamation of the values and standards that it holds. These can be influenced by many things, from how employees interact to what they wear on Fridays!

The culture within organizations is a crucial component to success. One of the ways a business can create an environment that encourages employees for growth while also providing them with job security, good benefits packages, etc., relies heavily on the corporate culture or organizational culture, which can vary significantly from company-to-company but ultimately leads people in their workplaces toward becoming engaged, well-fulfilled professionals who will stay at your organization longer!

Business culture cannot be pinpointed or defined in detail. That’s because it is a complex system that arises from all of the individual beliefs and behaviors coming together to create an overall vibe for your company and its employees’ approach towards work and each other. It is a culture or atmosphere that prevails about how employees behave and generally their beliefs. Employees and owners/managers interact with outside parties (customers, vendors, other stakeholders). Expanding this even further, business culture can even dictate a dress code (formal or informal), hours worked (flexible or stated), office configurations (open or closed), or a philosophy of how customers are treated (priority or non-priority). A business culture might include group lunches, on-site services, break rooms with games, or various employee perks.

Overall, a company culture contributes (or doesn’t contribute) to the success of a business. Culture is the driving force of any company. A culture that embraces its mission and vision will positively affect how employees work, act, or pursue their goals for success within an organization. If it lacks in this area, then there may be some adverse effects on both individual performances and overall business results.

Different Cultures
It’s important for businesses to be culturally sensitive. Sometimes there can be two different cultures within the same company, one that is stated and another which exists only through observation or inference of how people act on their own terms. A stated culture is what owners and managers view as the business culture, the values they perceive the employees have and how those beliefs and attitudes affect productivity, performance, success, and the long-term viability of the business. Conversely, a hidden culture is probably more accurate than both cultures that exist in a company. This is the genuine value and behaviors of employees rather than the perceived values and behaviors seen from the eyes of management.

These two cultures can undoubtedly be different and completely disconnected from each other. Management, perhaps, sitting in offices will view the culture from their vantage point while the employees on the floor, in warehouses, or the field might have an opposite view. Often, management does not see or hear employees’ true thoughts, making employees shake their heads in disbelief about how the business operates. Gossip, bickering, and complaining can become the norm in this situation.

Businesses usually cannot go from one level of success to a higher level without a positive business culture in which all values, philosophies, missions, and visions are the same. Since most employees have to work to pay bills, make mortgage payments, send children to college, etc., they want to work in an engaged and energized environment. When this atmosphere prevails, businesses can transform from a current level of performance to a higher level of performance.

A transformation, however, is not automatic or quick. It takes time and energy to change a culture, especially one entrenched with employees for years. Before real change can take place, there must be open communication and dialogue.

Employee Feedback
It is often difficult for management to ask employees what they think about the business or its culture and get a straightforward, honest answer. Usually, it just doesn’t work. However, when a neutral observer or third party gets involved, the feedback can be an eye-opener, especially when management sees the culture one way. At the same time, employees see something just the opposite same business but with different views and opinions entirely.

If a business seeks to change its culture for the better, all employees have to be listened to from the lowest level employee up. It’s not the person who complains about the snacks in the vending machine that can make a difference. Still, the employee wants to work every day in a positive environment and connect with a successful business that can make a positive difference. Everyone prospers when a business grows and meets objectives.

Culture Is Here to Stay
Business culture is here to stay. It’s not going away. Every business has a culture and will continue to have a culture. Whether the culture produces a positive climate is dependent on management. Creating the right culture that parallels with the mission and vision of a business is worth the effort. In creating a culture that works for a business, it must blend employee values and behaviors with the objectives of the business.

Perhaps, the business might have to make some changes such as improvement in communication, employee perks, or work/life balance that more closely matches the desires of its workforce and even competitor businesses. Likewise, some employees might need to be replaced with fresh faces and attitudes which are more inclined to fit in with the business’s current culture.
It is not an easy task, but the right culture for a business is essential for success. When employees feel valued and a sense of belonging and loyalty to a business, business value also increases.

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