A company’s culture is the set of beliefs and values an organization holds, and it influences every area of a business.
Having a strong company culture is a must—not just a nice to have. It’s essential to keeping engaged, long-term employees, and to your company’s overall success. Businesses that survive and thrive over time understand this principle.
With the global pandemic that has lasted most of 2020, and will likely extend into 2021, now, more than ever, companies need to develop a great organizational culture. It will help navigate times of uncertainty with more ease and success.
Our informative guide below illustrates how you can create an exceptional organizational culture.
Why Is Organizational Culture Important?
Organizational culture is the invisible lifeblood of your company. It’s essentially the foundation of your company, regardless if you’re a small or big company. Simply put, a strong company culture inspires, motivates, and nurtures employees. So developing organizational culture should be any successful business’s top priority.
A company culture that prioritizes employee happiness means less turnover and better performance. Companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple understand this, and aside from building stand-out brands, they have created renowned company cultures. Surveys on employee satisfaction with company culture rank high at these companies. And not surprisingly, countless people want to work there.
Of course, many other companies worldwide (both big and small) rank high in company culture.
Why Companies Lack Strong Culture
Excellent company culture doesn’t merely manifest from out of nowhere. It has to be built.
You’d think that every single company on the planet would invest in developing a strong company culture. It’s a no brainer, right? The sad reality is that many companies still fall short of having a decent—let alone strong—company culture.
The reasons for this are as diverse as companies are different. However, if you were to do an audit of such companies, you would find culprits like the following:
• Lack of proper leadership
• Lack of a strong vision
• Not enough investment in team development and team culture
• Employees don’t feel valued
• Low retention rate of employees
• Profits before people
• Loyalty to stakeholders and not employees
• Ego and clash of egos dominating the company
• No values, or at least values that are not being practiced
7 Pillars to Build a Strong Company Culture
Just like there are content pillars, financial pillars, etc., there are pillars for building a great company culture. The key is consistent maintenance. This is true with everything in your life, health, finances, and relationships. It’s not enough to just build; you must continually upkeep, review, and refine.
Below are seven research-based pillars that we believe form a solid basis to develop a great company culture.
1. Create a Shared Company Vision
Having a strong vision that goes beyond just making profits is essential to building a great culture. It’s your north star and daily roadmap.
But just as vital is having everyone on board share in your vision. If you can’t get others to share your vision, you’re in trouble. You might as well be a sole trader.
Good companies continually talk about their vision with all their employees from the top down. Like all aspects of business, it is open to evolving, but everyone needs to be in the know once it changes.
2. Practice Core Values
Visionaries like Steve Jobs understood the importance of values and incorporated them in the workplace, branding, and customer service. Too many companies do not actually practice their values. Their website might state values like integrity, transparency, and commitment to quality—but in reality, no one practices them.
Just like with personal values, company values guide so much behavior and decisions. They should always be at the forefront of everything you do as a company, not on the backburner. Businesses that practice their values have them displayed on their workplaces’ walls so everyone can see them. Strong companies live and breathe their values.
3. Build a Stellar Team
Your team is what makes or breaks your company, so you must choose the right team for your company. They should embody your vision and your values. And they need to know how to work together.
Remember, “There is no I in team.” There should be excellent team chemistry. Each employee brings their unique strengths to the table.
When building your team, don’t just focus on skillset and experience. These are important but don’t neglect good character. Remember, skills can be taught, but you can’t teach character. Personality plays a huge role in shaping company culture.
4. Be Inclusive, not Exclusive
Company founders like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford were exceptional relationship builders and made sure that everyone in their company felt valued and appreciated. This included everyone from the top down.
No one wants to feel left out and unacknowledged. It erodes self-confidence and self-worth. Companies that don’t invest in making employees feel valued often have a “cliquey culture.” This leads to gossip and backstabbing, which eventually, if not handled, leads to a toxic work culture.
Being inclusive, not exclusive, is the key to eradicating this. Invest in relationship building, and you’ll get dividends and happier and satisfied employees.
5. Cultivate Positivity
A positive workplace can be detected from the moment you walk into the door. Often it can even be sensed via the phone and now virtually. The same can be said of a hostile workplace. To cultivate positivity, you must reinforce it through positive acts like:
• being encouraging
• being transparent with your team
• having incentives and perks
• being friendly and genuinely interested in people (asking how they are)
• looking out for one another and learning from mistakes
Having team building days and activities brings people together and further reinforces positivity. Afternoon teas, birthday acknowledgments, etc. also go a long way in supporting positivity.
6. Promote a Supportive and Productive Environment
We know that our environment plays a massive part in our overall wellbeing and happiness. So it makes sense to invest in creating a great atmosphere—and one that is supportive.
Whether you’re working from home or in the office, research shows that closed spaces and windowless workspace reduce productivity and motivation. Consider open spaces, bright colours, good lighting, pleasing interior design, music in the background (if that boosts your mood and productivity), and yes, the good old table tennis table if your team uses it.
If you’re at home, there are countless break activities you can include. Also, encourage your employees to come up with ideas for a better environment. Their input is invaluable. They are working in the space, after all!
7. Innovate and Improve
In our rapidly changing society (across all areas), you’ll get left behind as a company if you don’t innovate and improve. Every six to 12 months, you should be innovating and improving. That’s what most great companies do. It will help you stay relevant, competitive, and help you navigate your way around unexpected situations.
Don’t just stay in your comfort zone. If you do, it’s an almost guarantee that something will come along and shake you out of it. Embrace new technologies and trends. Invest in your employee’s training and upskilling and encourage them to think differently and to think big.
Building and sustaining a strong company culture is essential to your long-term success. In summary, the 7 pillars of a strong company culture are:
1. Create a shared company vision
2. Practice core values
3. Build a stellar team
4. Be inclusive, not exclusive
5. Cultivate positivity
6. Promote a supportive and productive environment
7. Innovate and improve
For more great tips to help accelerate your company’s growth, including any content marketing needs, Contact Content Callout today.