Company culture can be described in a variety of ways, but I particularly like how Built-In, a national tech community, describes it as:
“The shared ethos of an organization. It’s the way people 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. Collectively, these traits represent the personality — or culture — of an organization.”
For me, thinking about culture as a “personality” of an organization makes it easier to put a finger on what this intangible concept really means, and in turn, how important it is.
Trying to explain all of the ways that culture affects a company can be a daunting task. This is why I loved it when my wonderful coworker (and friend!) Liz Moorehead shared this infographic with me because it does a great job of explaining just that.
In addition to including some eye-opening stats and excellent examples, the infographic focuses on three aspects of an organization that are affected by culture:
The hiring process
Engagement and happiness
Company culture and branding
If your culture is strong, your employees will enforce it through all of their work and interactions. By doing this, your culture becomes clear to those who are outside of your organization as well, such as customers, potential customers, potential employees, etc.
In the example shown about Disney and a young girl’s lost doll, it’s clear that the employees will stop at nothing to demonstrate the company’s mission of “making dreams come true.”
Not only will that girl and her family never forget that, but they’ll surely share that story with others for years to come, truly bringing Disney’s brand to life even outside the organization.
How do you want people outside of your organization to perceive your brand? Make sure that’s what you’re enforcing and demonstrating inside of your organization through your culture.
Culture and the hiring process
When recruiting and interviewing job candidates to join your organization, it’s essential that they thoroughly understand the culture of your organization, and you’re fully confident they’ll thrive in it.
If they don’t, you risk wasting time hiring, training, and onboarding someone who won’t stick around too long.
According to the infographic, “46% of new hires quit or are fired within 18 months,” and “many hires leave due to cultural mismatches.”
Take some time to reflect on your hiring process and determine how much time you spend evaluating candidates for culture fit, and how much you educate candidates on the culture at your company.
Consider adding a culture-focused interview stage and/or providing candidates with a video overview of what it’s like to be an employee so there are no doubts that the person hired will thrive in that environment.
At IMPACT, we send applicants a five to ten-minute video breaking down the role, how the role fits into the company, the day-to-day expectation, and more based on the typical questions we get asked.
Candidates are so appreciative of this detailed breakdown, and it significantly cuts down on the time needed to answer questions throughout the interview process.
In addition, we have a dedicated interview for culture-based questions that we record and can share with other team members for review.
Culture, engagement, and happiness
Every company wants happy and engaged employees, right? If so, then company culture can’t be neglected.
By reading through the notes in the infographic, it’s easy to see how culture, engagement, and happiness all tie together:
“Employees that fit a company’s culture are more likely to be happy”
“Happiness directly correlates to their productivity"
And then some more great news for businesses...
“Happy employees can be as much as 31% more productive”
Clearly focusing efforts on a strong company culture isn’t just what’s best for the employees, but it’s great for the health of the company as well!
If you aren’t cued-in to the happiness levels of your employees, consider sending out a survey or conducting feedback sessions with small groups of employees to get some insight and determine where to put your efforts.
This is something we do at IMPACT once a quarter.
How to create a great company culture
While companies all have their own unique cultures, there are certain strategies that have been proven to be beneficial across the board:
Acknowledge meaningful work
Don’t assume incentives will motivate people
Give employees time to direct themselves
Give employees the opportunity to become better at what they do
Ensure your employees see how their efforts are part of a larger whole
Try giving your company a score/grade for the strategies above. Use those scores to determine areas you’re lacking the most, and to set goals to improve in any weak areas. Before you know it, these actions will become part of the norm.
While your culture might not be exactly where you want it to be right now, understanding the importance of a strong company culture is a huge step towards making the necessary changes.