How does company culture work, and why is it needed? The term involves key factors, such as leadership and the behavior of employees, but also includes systems, habits, beliefs, language, values and vision. Every successful small business has developed their own culture, and below are some ways to establish it within your enterprise.
How Company Culture Evolves
Every business, whether it is a sole proprietor or fortune 500 company, has a culture. This culture is usually established by the founder, and may evolve as time goes on so that the company can adapt to various market conditions. For instance, Steve Jobs played a key role in the company culture which is present at Apple, while Jeff Bezos plays an important role in the culture of Amazon. The founder of a successful company will almost always establish symbols, systems and norms which will be passed down to executives, management and then employees.
Employees do not bring in culture when they’re hired. Instead, it is a condition which is preexisting, and if it’s not present in an enterprise, it can be created. The culture of a company will depend in part on the business itself, and businesses within different sectors will have cultures that differ widely from businesses in other sectors.
How Company Culture Can Be Improved
It is first important to hire talent based on the culture that you desire to achieve. For instance, if you want to establish a company culture which is competitive and aggressive, then this is the type of people that should be hired. By contrast, if you’re instead looking to establish company culture which is compassionate or encouraging, then you will want to hire people who manifest these characteristics.
As stated previously, company culture starts at the top, usually with the founders, so this is where changes must be established first. The leaders must decisively and regularly communicate the type of culture that they desire, the kind which adds to the company’s success. New hires should immediately be inculcated into the company culture on their very first day. It doesn’t involve just how things are done, but why.
Most important of all, a company’s culture must be one hundred percent authentic. It should address the existing challenges that employees and managers face. The executives must be in touch with this at all times, and ensure that everyone has what they need to perform their work to exemplary standards. Management is responsible for defining the expectations of the employees. The reason for this is because most employees can’t stand floating along with no clear direction or task. People want a mission to complete, a goal to work towards, and it is the job of management to give it to them. Communication is an essential part of cultural development. If changes are being made to company structure or procedures, let employees know that it’s happening, and equally important, explain to them why such changes are necessary.