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Corporate Culture: Defining, creating, and sustaining it.

The most vital part of any company is its foundation. Company culture is something that most of us have heard of before but have experienced differently. Some companies have strong cultures that they try to keep at the forefront of the daily interactions within teams and between employees and customers. Then there are companies that you hear about their culture once, maybe in the initial interview or during the onboarding process, and then you never hear of it again. For many professionals, company culture is imperative to the decision-making process of where to work. 46% of employees are more committed and have higher job satisfaction at companies with strong cultures that provide a positive employee experience. Companies are now recognizing just how important this aspect of the work environment is and are taking action. So, what is company culture, how can you implement it, and what are some roadblocks to look out for?

So what is company culture?

While it can also be called organizational culture or workplace culture, company culture is defined by SHRM as “shared beliefs and values established by leaders and then communicated and reinforced through various methods, ultimately shaping employee perceptions, behaviors, and understandings.” Whatever you call it, company culture can have major impacts on your employee's wellness, the quality of your leadership, and the health of your organization. It speaks to your overall values and how you want to operate as a team. From interviewing, through onboarding, and routinely thereafter, reinforcing your company culture through interactions and communication is how you build a community of trust and support within your organization.  

Some challenges you may face

There are common problems that can arise that most companies will experience when trying to establish their culture. Communicating it effectively to your entire company, refreshing them now and then, and ensuring that your management team is leading by example can all prove difficult at times. In addition to this, the shake-up of the traditional work environment has added a new layer of complications. Now, you can’t always walk over to someone's cube to talk or have an in-person workshop to go over the company values. Managers and leadership teams have to be more creative in how and what they do to keep your culture alive and apparent

The impact it can have on employees and the organization

The company culture and the way you communicate it can have significant impacts on employees’ engagement, productivity, and the success of a business. A study by Officevibes says that ¼ of people surveyed either don’t know or were indifferent about their company's bigger mission. Your employees are your biggest ambassadors and advocates. For them to not know or be indifferent about your company values means that they are less likely to be personally invested in it and less likely to stay with your organization long term. The same study saw that 71% of Millennials who know of and support the values of their organization are more likely to stay for a year minimum and maybe even longer. Most employees want to feel heard and be involved in the internal communications and decision-making of their company. Being transparent and keeping your values at the forefront of how your organization operates is a great way to make them feel heard and appreciated.  

How to implement it for different work environments (remote, hybrid, on-site)

Keeping the channels of communication open is imperative to ensuring that your employees understand and identify with your company culture. A study conducted by Deloitte found that “22% of companies survey employees quarterly or more often, 79% survey employees annually or less, and 14% never survey employees at all.” You cannot expect to know how well your culture is understood if you don’t ask the most vital part of your business; your employees! Understanding their emotional and mental well-being can help you realize when to step up either formally or informally to reinforce the values that your organization stands on. Performance management tools can provide real-time data that employees and managers can then use to create continuous conversations. Creating an environment where your organization feels connected and understood is a key way of reinforcing values.

It can take some time to understand your organization, its mission, and what you want your employees and customers to feel when they think about your brand. Establishing this will help you create the values and culture that best fit your organization and will lead to a healthy and productive working environment. Keeping the channels of communication open to facilitate understanding and important conversations will ensure that all members of your company are feeling and doing their best.