2020 has been a year of unprecedented change, but amidst the transition to remote work and the overall uncertainty of the times, company culture remains a critical component for all organizations. It is logical to assume that the ongoing uncertainty and shift to remote work makes it more challenging than ever to develop and maintain a strong culture.
Discussing company culture and how it relates to your organization has become a hot topic especially with businesses forced to work remotely. While the term has gained buzzword status over the years, it seems to have lost its true purpose due to the plethora of discussions, HR “smokescreens” and perhaps an inordinate focus on more elaborate perks (dog spa, anyone?) which might create a short term “feel good” situation but aren’t exactly the foundation upon which create cultures are built and sustained.
Company culture goes far beyond simply serving to attract and retain employees by making them feel good. While many companies openly tout their benefits and perks, company culture runs much deeper than extra vacation days and weekly Happy Hours. It sets the tone for the customers you will onboard, the customer service they receive, the investors you will attract, and which companies will partner with you.
Why is company culture so important?
A company’s culture molds how the organization and its employees are viewed by the rest of the world. Building a positive company culture is not easy, yet it defines how you do business, how you interact with others, and how your team of employees communicates with customers, partners and the media. The company culture you adopt translates into the business’s DNA formula.
It also influences your business’ expectations, guidelines, and mindset. It should include shared beliefs that are established by the business leaders and then clearly and passionately communicated to your team, outlining the employee’s expectations and understanding of the company culture.
Culture should serve as an inspiration starter that encourages employees to be motivated while working. The most talented and dedicated employees always want to work for the best companies and those who are highly motivated will organically share their positive work experience, thereby strengthening a company’s culture.
A positive company culture that aligns with your employees’ values and expectations help partners and customers to see your culture as an example of how you do business instead of just thinking about your product or service that you are offering.
Strong culture leads to company success
A positive and strong culture breeds dedicated managers and employees which results in better business outcomes. By embracing positive company culture within, employees will be more engaged and involved which leads to an improved financial outcome for your company.
It’s important to take the time to contemplate what you can do to make your company culture more successful and think about why it’s important for your company goals. Here are my top four tips for developing and strengthening your company culture:
1. Create a unique company DNA
As people, we are all unique – from our personal values to our DNA, no two people are alike. The same is true in business; every company needs to differentiate itself from others with unique principles that are aligned with its business mission. Your core values create your company’s uniqueness.
Your product can be copied, but your values will always inform who and what the company truly is. A strong and differentiated DNA can play a major role in attracting the best employees and customers.
While business behavior can’t necessarily be seen, it can definitely be felt. A company’s board, managers and employees can feel the company’s DNA and core values every day. However, you must not forget that the core values of the business need to be communicated from the top.
They should be created by the founders and communicated to the managers who can then share them with all the employees. With unique company values and DNA in place, you can differentiate your company culture when compared to others.
2. Be transparent with all employees
Transparency in communication builds trust between employees and management. It is a critical factor for every business and it starts with the founders. It’s imperative that the company leaders are transparent and continuously updating employees about the health of the business and its direction and mission.
When discussing company news with employees, it should always be structured and honest. Your company numbers and data should be available to all employees so that they will have an idea of what’s going on with the business. Company transparency can include ongoing conversations about the company performance, mission and vision.
Being transparent with your employees creates the idea of employee trust and your team can then feel that they are a key factor of your business success which increases company culture internally.
3. Communicate continuously
In every business – regardless of industry – continuous communication with employees is key. In a business, where open and positive communication is encouraged, employees feel they have open access to management without judgment. It is important to encourage communication with employees and managers where everyone will feel comfortable to ask for help.
To improve communication, keep it simple. Make sure that the message is clear and straight to the point and make sure there is a joint understanding. With strong communication between employees and management, your employees can strive for more positive communication, which is key to your company culture.
4. Rethink employee benefits for remote workforce
Happy employees translate into better company culture. Company culture thrives when celebrated correctly. However, with everyone remote, it is tough to celebrate together.
Companies should get more creative when celebrating or acknowledging employee wins or achievements. I have initiated showing employee recognition for their contributions during company-wide meetings or in company communications channels.
Whether it is a shout-out on the company Slack channel or highlighting their achievements over a Zoom call, your employees will feel the appreciation. This is just one way to redesign company culture for the remote workforce. By adopting different creative culture initiatives that will help your remote workers feel more ingrained in your company culture, you will see happier employees no matter where they’re working.
To be sure, company culture goes beyond perks and benefits for employees. It is the core values that hold the company up and spread its message to the rest of the world. Employees who are motivated and excited to perform their daily tasks yield better results for the company as a whole.
Personality, communication, and transparency make the workplace a more pleasant environment for everyone involved and, in turn, are communicated to customers and investors as well.
So you’re interested in the future of work? Then join our online event, TNW2020, to hear how successful companies are adapting to a new way of working.
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