Much has been written about the importance of company culture. Most has been ignored.
Here’s a list of some of the things impacted either positively or negatively by company culture:
- Employee satisfaction and happiness
- Attendance (absenteeism)
All these items listed above have a direct connection to performance, profitability, and cash flow. And, oh by the way, survival!
If you want to improve the performance of your company—overall performance, not just sales performance—it is essential to dedicate time, money, and resources to developing and building company culture.
A Place to Start
This post is not intended to be a step-by-step, comprehensive guide to building culture. It is intended to get your wheels turning if you think help is needed in this area. If you’re not sure if help is needed, review the list at the beginning of this post to see if you are having trouble in these areas. Still not sure? Take a look at your books and focus on cash flow. Cash is king!
Building a culture of engagement is a great place to start. Here are a couple of reasons why:
- Companies with highly-engaged employees grow revenue 2.5x as much as those who don’t.
- Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organization.
Here’s a list of some elements linked to culture, plus some thoughts to get your wheels turning:
Defining Your Company Culture
- Bottom-up is better than top-down or an injection from an outsider. Involve your team and get input from them. Better yet, leave the room and let your people do the work—keep it real from their perspective. What it is versus what you want it to be.
- Conducting a survey to get an accurate read on your culture is a wise move. Why guess?
- What do you stand for? No really, what do you stand for? Why are you in business? Hopefully, it's more than “creating shareholder value!”
- Try to avoid the Boy Scout Law approach of defining your culture. Here’s a list of the items in the Boy Scout Law: A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. Too many companies define their culture with overused words that most employees and customers take for granted because they expect these things.
- Whatever you come up with should be attached to everything you do, note the word everything! A violation of this concept means your definition of culture is at best a part-time definition or something cool to put on a coffee mug or a poster in your conference room.
After you define your culture (determine where you stand today) and develop a plan to transform to a culture of engagement, you should consider the following:
- Creating Culture: What things do you need to do to reach your destination of a culture of engagement? Look for opportunities and develop a plan to make improvements.
- Marketing Your Culture: If you made a video about your culture, what would you put in the script? What would people say? What things would have to be in place for it to be believable?
- Hiring People Who Fit Your Culture: Adding people to the team who fit your culture is a great way to accelerate the culture transformation process.
“If the employees come first, then they’re happy… A motivated employee treats the customer well. The customer is happy so they keep coming back, which pleases the shareholders. It’s not one of the enduring green mysteries of all time, it is just the way it works.”
-Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines
No Advanced Degree Required
I’m not an expert in company culture, and I do not have an advanced degree in this area. I just know when culture is good and when it is bad. I can tell within minutes of talking to people in an organization. Truth be told, so can you.
Knowing and doing are two different things. Perhaps now that you know a little bit about creating a culture of engagement, you will do something about it. The choice is yours.