What is company culture and how can it affect your business?

By Harness Change Ltd

22 Feb 2023

Company culture is the shared beliefs, values and attitudes of an organisation - a system that ultimately drives everything your company does.

Yes, we know that company culture is nothing new – it has existed for over 100,000 years since people started working together for common goals. What is new is the idea that culture can be managed consciously rather than just “happening naturally” as companies grow from small groups into large organisations over time.

Culture has become a powerful tool for success in today's business world because it helps build trust among employees, allowing them to work together more effectively on collaborative projects and team efforts. It also makes it easier for people to find meaning in their work, supporting innovation by encouraging creativity within departments and teams.

As the glue that holds your company together, culture is the foundation for your business strategy. It's also the basis for your business success. Culture can even affect how much talent you attract and retain in-house, as well as how well the business performs in other areas such as customer service and product development.

But where do we really start with building your business' culture?

Start with a values statement, which should be based on the company's vision and mission statements, as well as its core competencies and products or services it provides to customers (we'll talk more about how to create these another time).

Then look deeply at the organisation’s leadership (the people at the top of the company). What are their professional goals and objectives, what are their strengths and weaknesses? What is their communication style with the rest of the organisation?

Create a code of conduct that lays out the behavioural expectations for employees, including how they should behave when representing the brand in public or online.

Establish an onboarding process for new hires, which will help them acclimate themselves into their new roles within the business and let them know where they fit within its overall culture.

This could include orientation or training sessions designed specifically for this purpose, during which employees are shown around their facilities and introduced to their colleagues as well as any other important information about working at this organisation.

It may also involve one-on-one mentoring sessions between senior management members who have been there longer than others have been employed by this organisation but still spend time actively involved in providing guidance so junior staff members get off on good foot from day one!

HOW CAN YOU CREATE A POSITIVE COMPANY CULTURE?

There are five key areas you can focus on in order to create a positive company culture. These areas include:

  • Trust — Creating an environment where employees trust each other, and the decisions made by management is vital for success.
  • Accountability — Making sure that everyone holds themselves accountable for their work and actively looks to improve their skills by sharing experiences with others.
  • Innovation — Encouraging employees to come up with new ideas and ways of doing things will help drive innovation, which is crucial in today's fast-paced world.
  • Collaboration — Openly communicating with colleagues will make it easier to collaborate on projects or find solutions when problems arise. You should also encourage your team members to ask questions if they don't understand something; this promotes learning and ensures everyone feels comfortable taking part in conversations at all levels within the organisation.

 

THE BENEFITS OF A STRONG COMPANY CULTURE.

A strong company culture can help you attract and retain talent. A culture of respect, openness and honesty will make your company one that employees love to work at and want to stay at. Candidates will want to work for you because they know that their voice matters and that they can be themselves in the workplace (which is important if you hope to attract top talent).

A strong company culture can help build a loyal customer base. Your team members are your best ambassadors, so if they love working for the business then this will rub off on customers too! If a customer has an issue with something, it’s much easier for them to approach someone who shares their same values rather than someone who doesn’t share their values or beliefs.

A strong company culture helps build a loyal team who believe in what the business stands for, which translates into happier employees (and thus better service) too!

WHEN DOES A STRONG CULTURE STOP BEING USEFUL?

We know what a strong culture can do for your business, but let's think about when it might become harmful to the company. A strong culture is good for a business until it stops being useful. There are four main situations where this could happen:

When the culture no longer aligns with the company's goals
When it becomes too rigid and prevents change
When it is not flexible enough to adapt to new challenges
When it becomes too focused on the past and unable to adapt to the future
"Company culture can be a powerful tool for success, but it can also become too powerful and make changes difficult to implement"

The power of company culture can be beneficial in several ways, but it can also become too powerful and make changes difficult to implement. A company's culture is built on its people and their shared beliefs, values and attitudes. When these elements are in place, employees feel valued and empowered to do their best work for the organisation. In this case, having such a strong sense of identity creates a virtuous cycle: The more successful your business becomes because of your strong culture and high employee morale, the stronger your culture will become because more people want to work there!

While it’s true that having a strong culture can help your business in many ways, it can also become a crutch that prevents you from evolving. Even if your culture is great now, there will come a time when you may need flexibility and adaptability to grow. Ask yourself today, is my company culture winning? Or could it do with some improvements?

Zara Myers is the director of Harness Change. She is experienced in Equine Facilitated Learning and uses these skills to promote change in businesses as well as to coach individuals.

To find out more about Harness Change visit the website at www.harnesschange.co.uk and to follow our progress visit the Facebook page.

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