Company Culture 101
Does your company have a culture? Yes? No? Are you not sure?
If you’re not sure, that’s ok! While company (or, organizational) culture is not always promoted, written down, or talked about, every company has a culture! Basically, it is defined by Wikipedia as “the behavior of humans who are part of an organization,” and includes “organization values, visions, norms, working language, systems, symbols, beliefs, and habits.”
So, culture = your company’s personality. It’s also kind of an exclusive club. Some people get it (and get in) and some people don’t.
Your culture is a great filter for decision-making, hiring, training and other programs. A shared mental assumption like, “teamwork, above else” (for example), will guide that company’s interpretation of daily events, and will also define appropriate behavior for certain situations. On the other hand, a company who wants to “keep the customer happy, no matter what,” would have a different interpretation of the same day, and act in different ways to similar situations than the former company.
Here’s how you start the process of figuring out your company culture:
Go offsite with your team.
In addition to “taking a step back” and getting out of the office, restaurant, retail shop or wherever you might work – it’s a great opportunity to bond with your team. If you can bring everyone, great. If not, make sure to bring several team members who exemplify what you what your company culture to be.
Ask big questions.
- What is culture, anyway?
- Why does culture matter?
- What do you like about the current culture?
- What don’t you like?
- How can we change what we don’t like into something we do like?
Accept that you don’t know it all…yet.
It’s ok if you leave your offsite meeting without a typed up culture/mission statement. Getting the process formally started is a great first step, and will keep the momentum going once you get back to the “real world.”
Keep working on it until you do know it all.
Review your notes from your offsite meeting and work with your team to develop the framework of your company culture. Then, let it infiltrate all parts of your organization: how you answer the phone, how you talk to a customer, how you make decisions, and how you welcome new members to your team.
Establishing a company culture will benefit your employees and your customers, and ultimately, the success of your business.
So, does your company have an established culture? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below!