I am really enjoying my HRM (Human Resource Management) class for it gives me hints on what to expect in my future work life. It is preparing me as an individual to know what kind of environment I will like to work at and what is expected of me as an employee/employer. When I describe to people what kind of environment I would like to work at, most of them respond by saying “I think you should work for yourself because no organization will allow that.” I know you’re already wondering what kind of environment that is but read on…
Today I’ll like to talk about company culture and how that affects the organization’s performance especially the employees. Before I go into details, I’ll like to define company culture. “Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.” Therefore, Company culture is the shared values and practices of the company’s employees. Company culture is important because it can make or break your company. Company culture changes over time has new employees are hired and replacements made in the company. Companies with an adaptive culture that is aligned to their business goals routinely outperform their competitors. Some studies report the difference at 200% or more. Organizations should know what their culture is and try to move everyone towards it by making it adaptive.
Recently, the Facebook offices were redesigned and I was amazed by Mark Zuckerberg’s comment. “Our goal was to create the perfect engineering space for our teams to work together. We want our space to feel like a work in progress. When you enter our buildings, we want you to feel how much left there is to be done in our mission to connect the world.” After reading his comment, I compared it to Tony Hsiesh of Zappos who said “We want Zappos to function more like a city and less like a top-down bureaucratic organization. Look at companies that existed 50 years ago in the Fortune 500 – most don’t exist today. Companies tend to die and cities don’t.
After watching this video I think I’ll like to work at Zappos because I think the company suits my personality. I’ll be free and happy there for the culture is something I can relate to.
The above comments are all great steps in creating the perfect company culture. But when I compare creating a company culture to service design I realized that you cannot satisfy everybody. As the saying goes, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” but there has never been a one-size-fits-all solution to making sure your staff are happy and healthy, but that doesn’t stop people trying to apply tired and ineffective motivational tactics. Creating a unique company culture that makes your staff want to spend the rest of their lives at your organization, give great customer service which makes you stand out from your competitors.
“Creating a great company culture can feel like a minefield, but everywhere you turn are warnings of what happens when a company culture goes awry. There’s a reason the oft-cited Gallup survey discovered 70% of American workers are disengaged on the job. Companies can easily get caught up in the day-to-day struggles and forget the importance of creating an unbelievable culture for employees.” John Tabis (the founder and CEO of the Bouqs Company, a cut-to-order online flower delivery service.) He also gave great tips on how to build a great company culture from the ground up. These are:
Make it personal: One of the most important aspects of developing a brand voice is to keep it consistently authentic. A good company culture should strive for the same authenticity, and this voice should come from the founder in the case of a startup, or the leadership team in the case of a larger organization. Your culture needs to be an extension of your own consistently held and demonstrated beliefs, along with a clear mission that goes beyond dollars and cents.
Find a Way to Communicate Your Vision: Communication is key, whether it’s selling your idea to investors or selling your company culture to employees. Yet communication is one place many leaders fall down on the job, especially when it comes to company culture. According to a study by SIS International Research, 70% of small to midsize businesses claim ineffective communication is their primary problem. If a founder is a great communicator, it’s pretty easy early on to get the culture moving in the right direction.
Put People First: We need to start treating people like human beings, not like cogs in a productivity machine. Look at the individual first and their role second and relate to employees on a more human level. When employees feel cared about as people, I’ve found they do their best work. They also stay longer, work harder, and produce more, which makes caring an amazing rate of increase. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Culture is all about the people that is, company culture is all about the employees. Companies should bring their employees first, invest in them, and give them a fun and peaceful environment to work at in order to be the best. There is no culture without people, organizations should focus on what is best for their employees instead of their profit or loss.
For example Virgin Hotels in Chicago partnered with Voxy – the English language learning platform to teach their staff whose first language is not English improve their language abilities. Mars incorporated is another company with a great company culture that wows everybody. Allowing their employees who are dog owners to bring their dogs to works is amazing. Generations of one family work for the company because of their rich company culture. Some companies and schools have nurseries for babies to allow their mothers to work or learn. This doesn’t just help the company but the staff too in their private lives.
“There’s no right or wrong way to go about creating a company culture, as long as you keep the staff that it’s designed for in mind every step of the way” – Richard Branson (Founder at Virgin Group).