Corporate culture is a foundational concept in business and organizational management that describes the social principles, behaviors, and attitudes prevalent in a workplace. Many major brands have been investing heavily in internal culture development for years and this trend is growing with small and emerging companies as well. While culture is notoriously difficult to quantify and measure, it has a profound impact on the long-term success and direction of an organization. All businesses should consider their culture throughout all stages of their development, but it’s particularly important during periods of growth and expansion.
Defining Workplace Culture
In the context of business, culture is often described as the establishment of a set of values that reflect the company’s core mission. For example, hazardous environments, like those found in construction or energy extraction, often emphasize personal and group safety. Leaders in these workplaces try to emphasize the importance of following procedure and using the proper equipment for delicate operations to prevent accidental injury. Every company’s culture reflects the needs and values specific to their industry, size, and structure.
Importance in Modern Business
Despite the lack of clear definition or quantifiable impact on profits, there’s little doubt that culture is extremely relevant to modern businesses. In fact, the vast majority of corporate executives and employees questioned in a recent survey believe that a distinct culture is relevant to commercial success, according to Forbes. Even though culture is primarily a way for companies to express and propagate their own core values, it’s also a way for employers to show that they respect and want to connect with their employees. Strong culture helps build loyalty and motivation throughout all levels of the business and can lead to huge boosts in overall productivity.
Cultural Development Strategies
Perhaps the most serious and most common culture mistake is believing that it will simply develop on its own. Executives and other leaders within a company set the bar when it comes to culture. Employees look to them as an example to model their own actions and behaviors. That’s why all cultural development starts at the top of the organization and filters down. However, companies also need to take steps to integrate new employees through on-boarding and develop other ways to strengthen the social bonds that hold their organization together.
Maintaining and Changing Culture
Maintaining a healthy corporate culture is never just an accident or happy coincidence. Company leaders should always look for opportunities to bind their team together, increase employee loyalty, and improve life for everyone within the organization. As businesses grow, leaders also have to learn how to delegate management and cultural responsibilities to more people within the company. Investing in professional and experienced talent isn’t just a matter of finding excellent people, but also finding those who truly understand the company and appreciate its values.
There are many reasons for employers to care about the social fabric within their company. Retaining good employees, improving collaborative potential, and drawing more promising recruits for new positions are just a few of the possible benefits of developing a productive corporate culture.