Culture is the new litmus test in corporate America. While employees and candidates are still motivated by salary, benefits, and paid time off, more and more, job seekers want to know about your corporate culture. In companies where culture is a priority and is apparent from the top-down, employees have higher engagement. They’re also more loyal and create deeper work connections. All those things point to a healthy corporate culture. But when culture is either discounted or terribly toxic, it’s like a slow-growing disease. So, it’s time for a get-real check-up on your company’s culture.
What Do We Mean by Corporate Culture, Exactly?
Corporate culture is basically the essence of your organization. It typically includes beliefs, values and behaviors that a company’s leadership and its employees deem important. When well defined and upheld, it shows up in every aspect of a company.
While there are many definitions of corporate culture, the foundation is that:
- It defines how you’ll interact and engage internally or externally.
- National or local cultures, economic trends, industry shifts and company size influence it.
- It evolves fluidly and changes when needed, especially in times when it’s determined the culture has become a liability.
Understanding the importance of culture in the workplace, how can you evaluate the health of yours?
Signs of a Healthy Culture
There’s no perfect recipe for a healthy corporate culture. It’s greatly dependent on numerous variables. These are some of the hallmarks of a healthy culture.
- The culture encourages autonomy
- Empowering your employees to make decisions is a strong indicator that your culture is one of trust, flexibility and accountability. Autonomy in the workplace is something most employees desire, and when provided with it they are more engaged and more willing to go the extra mile.
- Employee investment
- A paycheck shouldn’t be the only investment you make in your workers. Offering them opportunities for learning and personal development shows you care about their success and growth.
- Conflict is considered constructive
- Conflict between work teams is natural and expected. Expressing it productively can even lead to innovation and ideation. If employees are fearful of speaking up or disagreeing, then they aren’t going to feel as though they are part of their company’s success.
- Communication is consistent and constant
- One of the biggest ways employees lose motivation is feeling like they aren’t in the loop. By making communication a priority, you remove all the gossip or assumptions from the conversation. Being proactive with communication resolves apprehension and can build trust as well.
- Shared vision
- A strong culture includes every team member being on the same page. There’s no uncertainty around what your company is striving to accomplish and how it plans to get there. This requires transparency, which is a struggle for many companies. While there are certainly things that need to be confidential, the more transparent you can be, the more you’ll nurture your culture.
- Resilient leadership
- Culture starts at the top. Decision-makers must therefore take responsibility for the significant role they play, and that starts with good leadership. The best leaders are trustworthy, dependable and empathetic. They cultivate resilience in their teams and truly live the culture in their behaviors.
Why Culture Matters
Culture will either be central to your success or it will be your downfall. After all, it impacts engagement, satisfaction, happiness, productivity and performance. And it absolutely matters to your employees and your customers. Here are some key data points that underscore its importance:
- 42% of job seekers identified company culture as very important when choosing where to apply.
- 33% of applicants said they would pass on the “perfect” job if the culture wasn’t a good fit.
- 24% of employees who don’t like their company’s culture are more likely to quit.
- 60% of U.S. workers would accept a job they love that pays less than a job they hate.
If you want to attract and maintain top talent, the health of your culture is clearly important. But what can you do if you know your culture’s in trouble?
Healthy Corporate Culture Examples
You can start by understanding companies that have a culture worth emulating and that can drive inspiration.
As a digital solutions company supporting the Fortune 500, Solstice believes in investing in its employees and offers them a personal development budget. They also partner new hires with veterans for mentorship and training. They foster engagement by delivering personal growth opportunities as well.
The communications platform that everyone is relying on these days has a happiness crew at each location to keep teams connected. They host events and participate in volunteer work together, helping staff members build stronger bonds with one another. They show they care about employees as people, not just bodies filling seats.
Costco management realizes its most valuable assets are its people. They take care of their employees and offer them above-average wages, health benefits and paths to career advancement. The company also emphasizes collaboration and working together to overcome challenges.
The e-commerce giant has a great reputation for taking care of its own. The company offers many perks including free lunches, a company library, a nap room and free healthcare. Beyond the perks, they have a no-door policy that celebrates transparency and autonomy.
Are You Investing in Your Culture?
No matter where your culture ranks on the healthy scale, to survive and thrive you’ll need to invest in your culture, which means investing in your teams. One of the best ways you can assess, maintain or resuscitate your culture is by using the RallyBright platform to measure and improve your team’s capabilities. Learn more about our flagship Resilient Teams assessment to get started.