Define Your Company Culture: Why It’s Important

ICONS_icon-teamA couple of weeks ago, I discussed the importance of recruiting the right team. One of the listed points was that new members should mesh well with company culture. But what exactly is company culture? And why is it important?

The term “company culture” is often illusive, shifting with meaning and individual interpretations. Michael Watkins asked on LinkedIn: How would you define company culture? The responses he received showed just how many different perspectives of company culture really exist, but they also showed that culture, when done right, can be an agent of high-performing success.

What are the qualities of a “high-performance” company culture?

Bain & Company have described “high-performance” company cultures as having two defining characteristics:

  • A unique identity that may spring from the company’s foundation or may emerge as a combination of values and beliefs;
  • Similar behavioral patterns. The best company cultures promote honesty, collaboration, performance-focused techniques, adaptability, and innovation.

Though no company culture will be the same, the most lucrative will establish and nurture similar success-defining characteristics.

How do you foster a high-performing culture in your company?

Zach Bulygo gives four elements that influence a great company culture. One notable point he makes is hiring the right people. A bad hire—even if they are quality individuals—can throw the entire culture out of sync, thus affecting overall company performance.

And just as employees’ understanding of the company’s mission is essential within the context of their individual work, knowledge of the company’s goals is a critical part of the success of culture in general. Culture works to drive employees to meet those goals.

Finally, employees are a team. Creating an aura of belonging to something—something that they can directly influence and improve—encourages a spirit of camaraderie and generates the foundation of a great work environment, subsequently increasing productivity levels.

In conclusion . . .

I read recently that a company’s unique culture is the only part of the business strategy that can’t be copied or duplicated. I also read that it’s often neglected by management in favor of other focuses. But company culture should be an important factor in to a business’ long-term goals; after all, it’s one of many behind-the-scene factors that makes your company what it is.

What is company culture to you?

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