If you’ve been anywhere, except for maybe hiding under a rock, you’ve heard the term “company culture” come up again and again over the past few years. It is a huge buzz-term in the business industry and something that we’ve seen as a growing obsession and a topic of many blog posts, studies, and conferences. We’ve even discussed maintaining company culture during rapid growth in the past.
But sometimes we talk about certain terms of business so much, that we fail to really clearly define it, and come to an understanding of exactly why it is so very important.
So this is the question to be addressed: what is company culture and why won’t everyone stop talking about it?
What It Is:
Definition: Company culture (also referred to as organizational culture), according to businessdictionary.com, is the values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization. This includes an organization’s expectations, experiences, philosophy, and values. It goes on to describe how it affects the organization’s productivity and performance, customer service, and production.
Basically, company culture affects every aspect of the inner and outer workings of an organization. It is the core beliefs of that company.
There are two ways in which to come about creating a company culture: very deliberately, by clearly defining and then choosing employees that fit within a standard or definition of that company’s culture. Or randomly, by choosing employees who seem good fits for the skills required by a position, without any interest in their fit with the company’s values as a whole, or even a clearly defined idea of what those values might be.
Why It Is So Important:
Between these two choices: deliberately or randomly, as a business person, you should automatically be filled with dread at the idea of randomness. Businesses are strategic, and as such you should be building your company’s values based on very specific decisions, with people who will not disregard what the others in the company might hold to be the most important aspects of that business.
This is why company culture is so very important. Your business should be built strategically by selecting candidates who will adhere to the standards you have in your company. Those standards should be very clearly defined at an early point in your company’s life, as those decisions are going to set your company apart from any competition.
If you go about your hiring in any other way, not only will your employees not be speaking the same language when it comes to values, they will not know what is expected of them as a member of the company.
Another motivating reason company culture is such an important topic is because businesses are starting to have to cater towards Millennials as more and more enter the workforce. Millennials desire certain key factors out of a company that past generations may not have viewed as important in the same ways. To attract and retain this young, new talent, companies are having to find ways to work with their preferences, or they may find another company that will.
The good news is that you probably already have ideas about what your company culture is, although you just may not have ever expressed it in quite those terms. But by building a culture strategy based on some essential components, you will be able to determine the culture you desire. As your company grows your company culture may shift, but those core values should remain a steady and deeply rooted component of your company.