While some companies strive to be known for their awesome culture, others view emphasizing culture as inefficient, and a waste of people’s time and resources.
It turns out, striving to have a good company culture is not a waste. In fact, investing in your company culture is also an investment in your company’s success and profits.
Think about the companies you know who notoriously have great company cultures. For me, the names that come to mind include Starbucks, Google, Chipotle, and Costco. What do all of these companies also have in common? They have proven to be highly successful.
Eric Barker’s TIME’s article “Culture Change: How to Improve Your Workplace Culture” discusses the findings of a new book The Culture Cycle: How to Shape the Unseen Force that Transforms Performance written by Harvard Business School Professor Emeritus James L. Heskett.
According to Heskett, as much as half of operating profit can be attributed to a company’s culture.
Hesket says “We know, for example, that engaged managers and employees are much more likely to remain in an organization, leading directly to fewer hires from outside the organization,” Heskett writes in the book. “This, in turn, results in lower wage costs for talent; lower recruiting, hiring, and training costs; and higher productivity (fewer lost sales and higher sales per employee). Higher employee continuity leads to better customer relationships that contribute to greater customer loyalty, lower marketing costs, and enhanced sales.”
In a book in which Apple’s Steve Job said “deeply influenced” him author Clayton M. Christensen defines culture: “Culture is a way of working together toward common goals that have been followed so frequently and so successfully that people don’t even think about trying to do things another way. If a culture has formed, people will autonomously do what they need to do to be successful.”
People want to stay with companies who realize the value of their hard work and care about them and their contributions. Establishing a culture in which relationships are important will allow others to work closely with one another comfortably. This creates an environment where one isn’t afraid to express ideas to others, where individuals aren’t afraid to ask for clarification, and a place where employees are happy at work, they’re excited to be there and because of this, want to work hard for their employees.
But where does a company culture come from?
“In both good and bad cultures, it’s the people at the top.” -Creighton
On the lobby wall of Enron the words “Integrity, Communication, Respect, and Excellence” were displayed.
It is not the words written on a wall, or in a mission or vision statement that create the culture, but rather the actions of the company that will validate the words. How the company functions will come from the leaders of a company. How they address behaviors and show appreciation and value will create culture.
“So if the top salesperson gets treated like a king — no matter how abusively he treats people, congratulations, that’s your culture, no matter what’s on slide 47 of the PowerPoint deck.” – Creighton
Understanding ways to create lasting relationships with and among your employees creates a positive culture. Understanding the needs of your colleagues helps to address company culture issues. It is in the hands of managers to take the necessary steps to understand their company’s needs and to build a culture that ensures effective relationships.
How would you describe your company culture? Do you think that company culture is important to the success of a company? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!