BUSINESS SPOLTLIGHT: What Exactly Is Company Culture and Why Does It Matter?
By Josh Adams, Rock Paper SImple // July 16, 2017
character, personality of your workplace
Hello there on this fine afternoon! It’s very nice weather here in sunny Brevard County, Florida (although I’m stuck inside writing this article) and I hope you are busy doing something fun and reading this later on.
Today I’m going to chat a bit about company culture.
What exactly is it, you ask? Well if you Google it, you get, “Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.”
Basically, it’s the character and personality of the environment at your workplace. If I were to ask you to describe to me what it’s like to work at your place of business, to tell me how people act, what their attitude is like, what they believe, what they hold important and how they treat others… you’d be describing your company culture.
Now… company culture isn’t necessarily something that is always well planned or thought out before-hand. Typically it’s something that develops organically over time and is heavily influenced by all the individuals that work at the organization. Past, existing and new team members will all influence a company culture, but the leadership of every organization will influence it even further.
Every company culture is different and serves different purposes. Some are more serious while others are more laid back, some encourage having some fun at work, while others are more rigid. Some companies define specific behaviors and language for their team to use that helps to build and encourage that culture. It can be a challenge to build the culture you want and even harder to change a current company culture once it has been established.
BUT WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Simply put… because the work environment an organization creates drastically effects both the employee (I prefer using “team member”) and the customer. For the team member, it can affect job satisfaction and how much they enjoy that job, their loyalty, productivity and how they treat your customers. For the customer it can mean the difference between a pleasant experience and a negative one, it can attract or push them away and many times will influence whether or not they return.
J. Williard Marriott, founder of the Marriot Corporation, once said, “Take good care of your employees and they’ll take good care of your customers, and the customers will come back.” Marriott achieved great success, but part of that was due to his understanding of the type of company culture he wanted to build in addition to actually having a why behind that plan.
Marriott understood the importance of building a positive work environment and he cared about his employees (team members!). Marriott created a workplace environment and culture that his employees thrived in and in turn created an environment that kept customers coming back.
Company culture makes all the difference, and the workplace environment and culture you create sets the stage for how team members are treated and valued.
SETTING THE EXAMPLE
Here at Rock Paper Simple, you will find that we have a very specific company culture. We like to have fun, we make jokes, we don’t take things that don’t matter too seriously… but when it comes down to business and delivering a service and product we believe in doing it right the first time, creating results and growth for our clients and standing by what we say we will do. You find two sides of the coin. Our team members (as we call every employee here) know that they can have fun here as long as that doesn’t affect the client negatively and the work gets done. We have a lot of fun at our office, but we also know how to get down to business and get the job done. Our core values include: integrity, growth, simplicity, fun, community and teamwork… and the company culture we have and continue to build reflects those values.
The company culture here at Rock Paper Simple empowers each team member, so our team can in turn go and empower our clients. I truly believe that what we’ve built is about more than just doing some marketing and making some money, that it’s about people… it’s about the clients, it’s about our team and it’s about the community.
Having a great company culture doesn’t always have to mean the cliché bean-bag chairs and humor-laced company statements, though. Every company is different and yours might take a more serious note than ours…but that’s not what is important. What IS important is that your team grabs hold of the vision, that they feel empowered by the culture in a way that allows them to serve each other, your customers and your community in a big way!
Take care of your people and they will take care of you. I am blessed to have an amazing team and we enjoy a wonderful company culture here at Rock Paper Simple! Remember when I said leadership has a big effect on culture? It’s up to me to lead by example and to put my team first. I have a phrase up on the wall by my desk that says “Empower Talented People” and that’s my most important job here. If I take care of my people, they can thrive and treat our customers well.
HOW DO YOU BUILD COMPANY CULTURE?
Well, chances are you already have one if you are in business for yourself or work for an existing business. There is some sort of sense of what is acceptable, there are unsaid rules and expectations. Sit down and jot down what you feel they are; bring in other team members and gain their insight. From there, you have to determine if that is the company culture you want. Some of that will be preference, but there truly is a business decision to be made in regards to what you build.
How does your company culture affect your team and your customers? If you make a change, will it positively affect both your team and your customers? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to start looking at a company culture change. It will take time and a lot of planning, but if you start with the end goal in mind and base that off of solid core values it can be a truly rewarding experience.
If your business hasn’t started yet, now’s the time to get started on that plan for your company culture as part of your branding process!
I don’t have time today to dive into all the various details on how to develop a company culture for your organization (I have to get out and enjoy that beautiful weather!), but feel free to hit me up and ask all the questions you’d like at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for spending some time with me today and don’t forget to always always be moving… Ever Forward!
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