What Constitutes a Strong Company Culture – and Why Should You Care About It?
You’ve probably heard of the term “company culture”. In large part, culture is what makes successful businesses retain their talent, boost work efficiency, and increase profitability. In a survey of 1,800 CEOs and CFOs worldwide, fully 90 percent of respondents stated that company culture was important to their business.
Still, many business leaders cannot grasp what makes for a strong company culture – and many that do, nevertheless struggle to nurture one. Oftentimes, the problem is that business leaders see company culture as little more than an HR concept, and decide that adding some entertainment facilities at work, such as bean bags and ping-pong tables, will do the trick.
But company culture goes far deeper, acting as the “personality” of the business. As a foundational attribute, culture influences every action and decision, from hiring new employees, to structuring internal operations, to interacting with customers.
So, what exactly are the ingredients to an exceptional company culture? While no two businesses are exactly alike, there are some common components that make up a solid and sustainable company culture – such as core values, a mission, and a vision, as well as an emphasis on leadership within the organisation.
Key essentials of a strong company culture
Core values are often featured in the company’s website or employee handbook, but the words here must be more than just for display.
Values are central components of your company culture. They are the DNA of the organisation – the guiding principles that form the commitments and decisions which in turn drive the business forward.
Every business decision, whether internal or external, should reflect your company values. From hiring requirements to environmental policies to marketing campaigns and more, your company’s actions should align closely and consistently with its values. It is this consistency that gives your personnel both an identity they can believe in, and a goal they will work hard to achieve. Actions that conflict with your company’s core values may be seen as a massive red flag by your team.
Mission and Vision
Alongside core values, mission and vision statements shape your company’s overall culture, and are often used to identify current and future business goals and strategies. A failure to formulate or articulate these statements could mean that your business lacks deeper objectives, and has identified no path toward achieving its goals.
However, while mission and vision are often regarded as synonymous, they actually serve slightly different purposes. A vision represents the long-term goals and aspirations that a company looks to achieve – and become – in the future.
A mission, by contrast, is often regarded as the “north star”. It provides practical direction toward the goals and objectives of the company, essentially representing short-term steps to achieve its long-term goals (i.e. vision).
But how can mission and vision help your business? In short: They help keep everybody on the same page, while also showing the team why their efforts are so important. Particularly where remote working arrangements are becoming a trend, mission and vision statements can help employees work in concert toward shared ideals. This outcome also tends to increase employee morale, while instilling a sense of identity and belonging as well.
Leadership and communication
Simply posting the aforementioned values, mission, and vision on the company website does not mean that your personnel will get the message. Helping employees truly understand and live by these statements requires excellent internal communication. This is where leadership comes into play.
Strong company culture starts from the top. Business leaders must take seriously their role as the driving force of the company, and embody its core values, mission, and vision statements. Once employees witness their leaders’ commitment to these ideals, they are more likely to buy in as well. As employees become more personally committed to the success of the company, they will engage more deeply with their work.
If, on the other hand, business leaders do not actively engage in their company culture, then employees may take a similarly carefree approach – and have no qualms about leaving to seek fulfillment elsewhere.
Business leaders should therefore demonstrate and reinforce their company cultures at every opportunity. For instance, executives would be well advised to reward employees who reflect the company’s core values. Such initiatives make these values more tangible and relatable, moving them from the abstract to the concrete.
Company culture should be understood, and practiced, by employees at every level. Only then can the business function effectively by moving forward with purpose toward a shared goal.
Strong company culture can help your business
In today’s highly competitive market, many companies are finding it a challenge to retain both employees and customers. But a strong company culture can be their saving grace.
For employees, financial incentives serve only as a temporary motivation; without a solid company culture, they are unlikely to remain in their positions for very long. Yet a well-designed and well-aligned culture can provide meaning for employees, inspiring them to work harder while reducing the turnover rate. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a survey of 5,000 people across four countries found 65% of respondents stating that a good company culture is a key reason for employees to stay at their jobs.
All else being equal, happy employees tend to produce good customer experiences. This is where values, mission, vision, and leadership neatly converge: By building up internal harmony and loyalty, they create the conditions necessary to develop a loyal customer base as well.
Go beyond with your company culture
Cultivating a great company culture is by no means simple. A great deal of effort, dedication, communication, and collaboration are necessary to define and develop a positive culture within an organisation.
Each business, depending on its industry and size, must search for its own unique culture or “personality” that best suits their goals and ideals.
As for us: With over 50,000 people across more than 135 countries, our company culture is based on “an instinct for growth”. This framing encourages our employees to unlock not only their own potential for growth, but our clients’ as well.
Our unique company culture is also supplemented by our six core principles, or our CLEARR (collaboration, leadership, excellence, agility, responsibility, and respect) values. Together, these commitments provide a foundation for helping our clients succeed.
If your organisation needs to develop its own culture, or can benefit from any of our other services, contact us today to get started.