Company culture includes more than your organization’s mission statement, company handbook or formalized policies. It’s the personality of a company, defining the atmosphere (whether negative or positive) in which your employees work.
It’s that nebulous, yet defining awareness of who we are, how we act, and what we believe in as an organization. And it results primarily from the character of the organization’s founder or owner. Understandably, company culture can either make or break an organization.
A Strong Company Culture Enhances Your Company’s Position
When employees fit in with the company culture, they tend to enjoy their work more. They generally are more productive and even develop better relationships with coworkers. A strong company culture helps employers improve productivity and employee retention.
Because company culture guides your organization’s actions, it’s important to develop a culture that enhances your company’s position, rather than detract from it. Here are four factors that can help strengthen company culture.
1. Encourage Buy-in
Make sure every key or influential person in the organization knows and believes in the organization’s values.
Food in the refrigerator absorbs the odors of its most aromatic shelf companions. Likewise, an organization whose owner does not define the company’s culture sometimes assumes the personalities of its most dynamic, personable, or just plain loud-mouthed staff members. Without attention from the owner, a company’s culture is at the mercy of the human equivalent of stinky cheese.
2. Provide Meaningful Work
Studies show that ignoring or discounting someone’s work is equivalent to immediately destroying it. Employees are more likely to continue doing a good job when they feel their efforts have value and meaning. Even if the work an employee does seems repetitive and unimportant, emphasize the ways in which the work and the worker contribute to the company’s success.
3. Identify and Reward Loyal Employees
Confident, steadfast employees typically don’t vocally identify themselves as such. Therefore, it’s important to publicly acknowledge these people. Why? Because, if the organization’s de facto heart and soul quits employment because loyalty went unnoticed, expect morale to plummet. And if, heaven forbid, he or she leaves to start their own business, you also can expect to see your best people pied-piper’d out of the building.
4. Increase Your Visibility
Leadership can encompass many things. You can be benevolent, humorous, competitive, brilliant, dictatorial, hip, charming, and even nerdy. The one thing you can’t be is invisible. You need to interact with your managers and employees frequently, reinforcing values, beliefs and expectations. As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t define your company’s culture, someone else will.
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