Like it or not, all companies have a culture. Culture is built around the values, goals, attitudes and practices of a company. It's the way that people feel feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going and what they're doing to get it there.
While it might be easy to define culture in nice words, it can be much harder to grab hold of in daily business, especially when times get tough.
A strong company culture is a driving force, underpinning a successful, resilient team. It shouldn't be ignored, especially during testing times.
But what are the best ways to develop and manage a good company culture? Here are some top tips:
- Get the basics right - sorting out the basics is critical to establishing solid employment relationships and building credibility, which become the foundation of your company culture. All your people processes are important, from the beginning of employment until its end.
- Be human - once the compliance work is complete, treat people fairly, listen and seek to understand. There’s little to be gained by approaching every situation like it’s a courtroom drama or your company is an army.
- Have a clear strategy - when your business strategy is clear, it will shape your culture. You can hire people who support the strategy, team members will know what to expect and what is expected of them, and management can be genuine.
- Manage problems swiftly - allowing behaviour that is at odds with the company's values and culture is incredibly damaging, no matter how good a person is at their job. Deal with issues quickly and ethically, and stay focused on the wider team.
- Be consistent and stay true - a good culture will help carry the company through tough and turbulent times. Stick to your principles, maintain standards, and resist looking for shortcuts when the pressure is on.
Remember, company culture is organic, built by a team, and influenced by many things, never just one department or individual. Business leaders can seek to influence culture, but they can’t own it.
Having a great culture can create a cohesive workplace and a strong sense of commitment in your team. It can increase staff loyalty and help you retain good staff. It's certainly something worth working on.