Let’s be honest. For most of us, a day at the office is certainly no night at the opera. But we all know that our working environment is ripe with a culture all its own. Sometimes it’s a little too ripe – the culture and prevailing mindset have been in place so long that they start to rot, leaving a putrid smell for everyone to inhale day in and day out. Other times, the culture is a little green. Company leaders are still trying to figure out how to establish the kind of culture they want for their business, or they haven’t given the first thought to it. In an ideal company, the corporate culture is perfectly ripe – established, yet open to change, a colorful representation of the leadership and employees, and juicy with sweet success.
How ripe is your corporate culture? And how does it affect your employees? To answer that, consider the definition of corporate culture.
The Society for Human Resource Management defines it as “shared beliefs and values established by the organization’s leaders and then communicated and reinforced through various methods, ultimately shaping employee perceptions, behaviors, and understanding.” Sound about right?
So start at the top. What are the attitudes, beliefs, and core values of your company’s leaders? Are those values shared throughout the company? Do they seek to build employees, as well as the business itself, up? Does integrity matter? Is the company able to handle change? These answers define your corporate culture – and they 100% affect your employees, for better or worse.
Researchers John Kotter and James Heskett spent 11 years studying 207 companies across 22 industries. They found that corporate culture significantly impacts a company’s employees and overall performance. The companies that performed best were able to adapt to change, and had a culture that emphasizes customers, investors, and employees. I imagine it goes a little something like this:
Successful companies have leaders who value and respect their employees, customers, and investors. That appreciation and respect guides everything they do, and employees feel that. As a result, the employees show appreciation and respect in how they do their jobs, and likely have more pride and enthusiasm for their jobs and their company. That pride and enthusiasm shows in their work and how they treat customers. Customers then feel valued and respected. They keep coming back, and even refer others to the company. That boosts profits, which makes the investors happy.
In other words, the corporate culture is perfectly ripe, and everyone reaps an abundant harvest.
Three Ways to Apply This Information Now:
- Be deliberate: Sit down, block everything else out of your mind, and focus on your corporate culture. Think about how you want it to be. Make a list of the important aspects of the culture – like your core values, and your beliefs. Map it out. Envision it.
- Share your insights with your employees: If you haven’t established a strong corporate culture, there’s never a better time to start. Explain your thoughts on the subject, your approach, and how you want the company to be and why.
- Leave a comment below: Let’s start a conversation about creating a juicy and delicious corporate culture.
Ildikó Oravecz is an award-winning course creator and holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies from the University of New Mexico.