Company Culture: What It Is & How to Build a Strong One

Many employees nowadays want to establish meaning and purpose in all aspects of their lives, including their jobs.  Millennials, many […]

Mark Jackson

President at SwagDrop

Many employees nowadays want to establish meaning and purpose in all aspects of their lives, including their jobs. 

Millennials, many of whom are entering management positions, have the potential to affect substantial change inside their businesses and on the teams they lead.

Hence, corporate culture is becoming more and more critical.

We have created this guide for you so you don’t miss out on creating a positive company culture.

Our post includes:

  • What is company culture?
  • Why is company culture important?
  • 7 benefits of having a healthy company culture
  • How to identify company culture in an organization
  • Key signs of a good company culture
  • Key signs of a bad company culture
  • How to build an effective company culture and change for the better
  • Great company culture examples to ignite your inspiration

Let’s get to it!

Table of Contents

What is Company Culture?

Why is Company Culture Important?

7 Benefits of Having a Healthy Company Culture

How to Identify Company Culture in an Organization

5 Key Signs of a Good Company Culture

5 Key Signs of a Bad Company Culture

How to Build an Effective Company Culture and Change for the Better

3 Great Company Culture Examples to Ignite Your Inspiration

What is Company Culture?

Company culture (also known as corporate culture) refers to a company’s and its workers’ attitudes and practices. 

It can be seen in how employees connect, their values, and their choices.

Company culture can include:

  • Work atmosphere
  • Corporate purpose
  • Leadership team style
  • Core values and ethics
  • Expectations and objectives

Moreover, a company’s culture might be explicitly and purposefully fostered, or it might simply be the product of a series of choices made over time. 

Employees with a strong business culture understand the anticipated outputs and behaviors and behave appropriately.

Some firms have a team-based culture that values employee engagement at all levels, while others have a culture that values formal, conventional, or hierarchical management.

Additionally, your job duties will be well defined when you work for a firm with a conventional management style. 

Employees in a more informal workplace often have the flexibility to take on new initiatives and positions as time allows.

Why is Company Culture Important?

Company culture is important because it improves the following aspects, making work seem exciting and fulfilling:

  • Employee involvement

Employee engagement is the degree to which people are driven and enthusiastic about their jobs. 

A strong business culture fosters employee commitment to their job by encouraging a group of like-minded people who share similar values. 

In addition, employees who are more engaged at work are more inclined to interact with one another and solve issues successfully.

  • Productivity

Employees perform their best when they believe they are valuable team members. 

A strong culture fosters a diverse, inclusive workplace where workers believe their contributions are valued. 

Furthermore, this worthwhile feeling can boost productivity, resulting in constant effort and better overall outcomes.

  • Retaining talent

Employees who appreciate their workplace and its culture are more likely to stay. 

This can also improve a company’s external image by making it renowned as a place where people desire to remain and flourish.

The Glassdoor survey questioned over 5,000 employees from the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany to assess the value of a joint mission and business culture in today’s workplace.

73% of respondents from all four nations stated they “wouldn’t apply to a firm unless its ideals coincided with their personal beliefs.” 

This view was even stronger among French and German respondents, with 76% of both groups agreeing. 

Researchers discovered, perhaps predictably, that it is more likely for millennials in the United States and the United Kingdom to appreciate a company’s culture more than a wage than their 45-year-old and older peers. 

Culture is equally important in retaining talent. 

According to the poll, 65% of respondents cited business culture as a primary reason for remaining in their jobs.

Furthermore, 71% of worldwide respondents stated they would quit a job if a company’s culture deteriorated.

In addition, according to the study, encouraging a healthy culture can attract new employees, but having an overarching mission statement that aligns with the ideas of a possible candidate is also crucial.

Almost 80% indicated the purpose of a firm was essential to them when seeking a job; 66% of respondents indicated a clear objective is vital for them to remain interested in work after they join a firm. 

7 Benefits of Having a Healthy Company Culture

A healthy company culture sets you apart from the competition and lets your employees know they’re appreciated.

If you invest in building a solid corporate culture, you will gain the following perks:

Benefit #1: Higher employee retention

High turnover is sometimes indicative of an inadequate or inefficient organizational culture. 

High turnover results in lower productivity, engagement, and accomplishment and is highly costly. 

Hence, if your workers feel supported in your organization, your retention rates, and general performance and metrics will develop.

Benefit #2: Increased employee productivity

A positive company culture fosters an atmosphere where workers may be more productive. 

People who have a sense of belonging feel more powerful, and their production levels rise. 

In addition, employees involved in the firm are more willing to go the additional mile.

Benefit #3: Enhanced employee well-being and health

When it comes to employee well-being, it is often disregarded. 

As employees often spend most of their time at work, they stand to gain from a positive culture. 

This might range from how many breaks they receive to what they eat for lunch and other factors.

Employees must believe that their work is essential and that they are making a difference. 

An organization with strong values, beliefs, and procedures will reflect on its employees’ work ethic and attitude. 

This highly resonates with the below tweet from Linkedin, as culture is way deeper than the surface.

Image Source: Twitter

Therefore, employee health and well-being can improve when employees feel more engaged in their job.

Benefit #4: Better company reputation

A strong corporate culture will have a favorable impact on your organization from the inside out. 

This doesn’t just apply to workers; when customers learn that a company treats its employees properly, they are more likely to support that company. 

A good reputation is highly prized, and happy workers are the ideal way to establish one.

Benefit #5: Creation of a clearer message

A healthy corporate culture can bring you closer to your clients as well as your employees since it pushes you to consider what you stand for:

  • Your long-term vision
  • Your company’s mission statement
  • Your fundamental principles
  • Who you can most effectively assist
  • How you can best serve them

You get clarity about who you are and what you do, allowing you to produce a crystal clear message for your audience. 

Moreover, this makes it simpler for you to identify your perfect consumer and makes you more accessible for them to find you.

Benefit #6: Smoother recruitment process

Some business owners hire people based on their cultural fit with the current staff, putting employee experience lower on their priority list. 

This is referred to as a team-first business culture. 

Yet, the concept is that if employees feel at ease at work and respect their coworkers as individuals, they would be more driven to work hard.

Benefit #7: Employee alignment

Once within your firm and as your teams and departments expand, a solid corporate culture keeps everyone focused and motivated toward a single objective. 

This isn’t always necessary in the beginning when a company is tiny. 

However, when your company grows and develops, unstructured and disjointed staff will significantly affect quality, service, and client retention.

A strong company culture helps your team(s) stay on the same page; they show up daily, fighting the same struggle, fostering unity and clarity.

How to Identify Company Culture in an Organization

There are various approaches to evaluating and identifying corporate culture. 

This culture assessment may include strolling around, conducting employee interviews, or utilizing a culture assessment form.

Participate in a culture walk: 

Walking about the building and looking at some of the tangible indications of culture is one way to observe the culture in your business.

  • How is the space divided? Where can I find the offices?
  • How much and to whom is space allotted? Where are the people?
  • What is shown on bulletin boards and walls?
  • What is on display at workstations and in other parts of the building? In work groups? What about lockers or closets?
  • What is the purpose of communal areas?
  • What do people write to each other? 
  • What is communicated in memos or emails? What is the message’s tone (formal or casual, pleasant or aggressive, etc.)? 
  • How frequently do people talk to one another? Is all communication written, or does it take place verbally?
  • What kind of interaction do you see amongst employees? How much emotion is shown during interactions?

These are just a few things to consider while observing and evaluating your organization’s culture.

Culture interviews: 

Another method for understanding your organization’s culture is to conduct small-group interviews with your staff. 

Observing people’s behavior and interaction patterns throughout these interviews is just as significant as hearing what they say about the culture.

Because it is sometimes difficult for individuals to express their feelings about a culture, you will learn the most by asking indirect questions. 

The following are some indirect questions to ask during a cultural interview:

  • What would you tell a friend about your company if they were going to start working here?
  • What is the one thing that you would most want to change about this organization?
  • What do you say about your firm when inviting friends or acquaintances to work with you?
  • What is your favorite quality that your firm possesses?
  • What kind of individuals fail in your company?
  • What is your favorite question to ask a job prospect in your organization?

Culture surveys:

Questionnaires and surveys also give information about the corporate culture. 

Therefore, it is critical to design or pick a survey based on the information gathered during the cultural walk and cultural interviews.

5 Key Signs of a Good Company Culture

You may already have a solid set of ideals and shared values, beliefs, and practices that you express to staff. 

How can you tell if your corporate and employees’ cultures are in sync?

Here are some indicators that your corporate culture is on the right track:

Sign #1: Low employee turnover

If a corporation slips into a damaging cycle of hiring/firing swiftly or becomes complacent with individuals leaving, resulting in high staff turnover, the morale of many employees is in danger.

Rarely does a business consider recruiting talent with the hope that each day will bring a slew of fresh recruits.

Instead, employees will be forced to live in continual worry that they will be the next to leave if a firm has developed a practice of recruiting individuals without strong principles and purpose to back it up.

It takes time, patience, and effort to build a strong culture where the right people are at the right place at the right time. 

Furthermore, putting up a watertight recruiting system might be difficult, but the idea is to be relentless in your company’s pursuit of best practices.

Your team’s attention to ensuring that your existing and new personnel feel secure in their roles may work wonders for morale and culture.

Sign #2: Employees accept new ideas

Another indicator of a healthy corporate culture is when your staff always accept fresh ideas.

They don’t pout or complain when you throw a fresh concept at them; instead, your workers contribute ideas to your idea, and some may even offer a better way to convey that idea, making it flawless.

Sign #3: Employees don’t hide things

It might seem a bit contradictory that workers should often bring up issues and give bad news in a productive work environment.

However, every job has issues, terrible news from time to time, and bleak prospects. 

This unpleasant news or criticism never sees the light of day in unhealthy settings. This is generally due to one of the following:

  • Employees are hesitant to share their grievances for fear of retaliation
  • Employees believe that their comments will be ignored because no one will listen
  • Employees are so disengaged from their employment that they are uninterested in resolving issues that they detect

Hence, employees will only feel comfortable delivering terrible news in a solid business culture, just as they feel more comfortable revealing personal information at work when they feel included.

So, if individuals are filing official and informal complaints, it may be considered a step toward a good workplace culture.

Sign #4: Employees promote career opportunities

One key indicator of an excellent corporate culture is that it’s simpler to measure than employee conduct. 

When a company has a wonderful culture, filling unfilled positions on its team is usually straightforward.

This is due to two factors:

For starters, when employees are pleased with the corporate culture, they remain longer. So, to begin with, there are fewer employment vacancies.

Workers enthusiastically spread the news about available employment when there is an opening at a firm with a great corporate culture. 

In addition, they inform their friends and share their experiences on social media. They view it as an excellent opportunity.

On the other hand, employees at a company with bad culture are unlikely to want to share the job with their pals. 

After all, what sort of friend would drag their pals into a horrible workplace? 

When they lack pride and ownership in the organization, employees tend to keep job vacancies to themselves.

Sign #5: Determined employees

It’s one thing to look forward to going to work every morning, but it’s another to look forward to seeing colleagues. 

Employees are serious at work, feeling mainly driven to complete their job.

However, when it comes time to leave the workplace, your employees take their time since they are still conversing with their coworkers and don’t want to go just yet, or they go to the bar after work to watch the soccer game together.

This isn’t to say they don’t have other pals, but they enjoy the company of their coworkers. 

This might be one method for engaging workers and obtaining employee engagement without even trying.

5 Key Signs of a Bad Company Culture

Negative company culture isn’t that hard to detect.

The below signs will show you what you need to know:

Sign #1: High company turnover

Employee engagement has three components, one of which is employee commitment. Employees are more inclined to remain with a firm and do their best when there is positive workplace culture.

A corporation with a high turnover rate has a deficient culture. 

Furthermore, if they realize that the organization has a high turnover rate, many job seekers may avoid taking their ideal job. 

High turnover is a red flag that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Sign #2: Unmotivated employees

People who are engaged at work devote more time and effort to their jobs, giving their all daily; they also like recommending and referring their business to others.

If you hear about disgruntled workers, consider it one of the warning flags of a negative organization. 

Moreover, unmotivated employees harm the organization’s overall image and are one of the warning indicators of a weak corporate culture. 

They turn their rage into actions that harm the client’s experience and overall job satisfaction.

Sign #3: There aren’t any clear company values

Clearly expressed company values are a strong proclamation of a company’s desired culture. 

They also serve as the glue that ties a company together.

Communicating corporate values is one of the most straightforward and accessible methods for executives to express their objectives for the culture. 

Therefore, examine the corporate websites to check whether the fundamental values are apparent. 

If you can’t find them, consider this one of the most severe warning flags of a terrible business.

Sign #4: Lack of communication

Communication in the workplace is critical for every organization. 

It’s necessary for productivity since it includes exchanging ideas and information. 

In addition, employee and employer communication that is open and honest boosts morale, efficiency, and dedication.

Poor communication harms the workplace, resulting in:

  • Ineffective leadership
  • Uncertain company goals
  • Insufficient employee feedback
  • Employee disengagement
  • Poor reputation

A lack of team bonding is one of the indications of a terrible firm, and communication occurs when there is a lack of connection throughout the corporation. 

Sign #5: Bad online reviews

Review platforms give prospective applicants a better understanding of a company’s culture. 

Assume your team is dissatisfied with the corporate culture, managerial style, or focus on competitiveness among coworkers. 

In addition, they may express their dissatisfaction in reviews, discouraging job searchers.

Although you can’t control how the public perceives your firm, you may affect what is said in reviews. 

You can foster an engaging, joyful, and supportive work environment for your staff that appreciates each team member and promotes growth and team building.

How to Build an Effective Company Culture and Change for the Better

Companies have various alternatives for taking action to improve their business culture.

You may appoint new leaders, modify your principles, alter how employees are paid and held responsible, or reorganize the company.

While each of the four alternatives has some appeal based on what you want to achieve and why, these are the seven significant stages to changing company culture:

  1. Maintain strategic clarity and credibility:

When leaders focus on delivering strategy through culture and people, they achieve strategic clarity at the business, division, team, and individual levels before starting any cultural transformation projects.

A well-defined business strategy lays the groundwork for high levels of purpose, meaning, and connection—three essential components in facilitating cultural transformation.

  1. Examine your current culture:

Assess your current working culture with as much objectivity as possible, and don’t hold anything back. 

To do it correctly, you must examine your cultural health, performance, and strategic alignment levels to know what you are concerned about and where you want to go.

  1. Define your ideal culture:

Once you’ve determined your present cultural health, performance, and strategic alignment levels, it’s time to describe the ideal culture required to carry out your people’s business plans. 

In addition, influential leaders integrate their organization’s culture with their business plan on nine different levels:

  • Market approach: from early adopter to market leader
  • Customers: transactional to personal
  • Individual to corporation loyalty
  • Shifting attention from the inside to the outside
  • Risk tolerance scale: low to high
  • Operational approach: process variance ranges from minimal to high
  • Decentralized to centralized decision-making
  • Atmosphere ranging from sociable to regimented
  • Outcomes: from “how” to “what.”
  1. Identify cultural gaps:

Once you’ve identified the significant disparities between your present and intended organizational cultures, the next stage is to determine the crucial one or two most influential cultural modifications needed to implement your plan effectively. 

Then, determine what cultural transformation will imply for the company and how to proceed.

This is where you select and train culture champions and prepare to provide them with the resources they need to help align your culture with your plan. 

Moreover, you must have a clear change roadmap that breaks down each significant endeavor into action stages linked to key performance indicators, targets, deliverables, and milestones.

Your culture champions will be in charge of making people feel good about what is expected of them by fostering emotional involvement and connection.

  1. Spread the culture change message:

Every employee should become as familiar with the culture change strategy as you are.

They should be able to describe the exact cultural changes, why they are necessary, and how they will advance overall people and business initiatives compared to the current status quo.

Furthermore, everyone should understand how their unique contribution to the endeavor will help the company, their team, and themselves as individuals.

  1. Set a good example:

Leaders, top achievers, and culture change advocates must continuously demonstrate what it means to embody the desired employee behaviors. 

This is your chance as a leader to act by following the business principles you support. 

  1. Renew constantly:

Accept recommendations from employees on how to continue to enhance the culture. 

Hence, their ideas and opinions are essential. 

The more they contribute to forming good feelings, the quicker your culture transforms.

3 Great Company Culture Examples to Ignite Your Inspiration

Your workplace culture will serve as “the one” distinguishing element for potential new hires to choose your company in an era when everyone provides identical benefits and salary packages.

To keep this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best companies with transparent, well-defined organizational structures. 

These will inspire you to create your own corporate culture—one your employees will like working in.

Example #1: Zoom

Even before the pandemic, Zoom provided its staff with the freedom to work from anywhere, at any time.

In addition to their usual healthcare coverage, Zoom offers its workers incentives. 

Image Source: Zoom

To begin with, they get a monthly gym allowance and have a fund for mental health and reproductive advantages.

When the pandemic began, the firm wanted to ensure that its staff had everything they needed to work from home. 

This included setting aside money for home office equipment, a home gym, and even food and grocery delivery.

When the pandemic hit, the firm continued to grow its product and enormously strengthened its workplace culture in remote work and in-person. 

In addition, they believe in the importance of listening to their workers and giving relevant benefits that their employees want.

What distinguishes Zoom’s work culture:

  • Maximum work adaptability
  • Care gifts include anything from equipment to food
  • Offering employee benefits

Example #2: Buffer

Transparency is one term that adequately describes Buffer’s work culture.

They share everything with their 85-person staff spread across 15 countries and often with the rest of the globe. 

You can see not just what you would earn in a specific job before you are employed, but you can also view what others make—it’s all public.

Image Source: Buffer

Furthermore, Buffer shares everything from yearly financial reports to how much they pay each employee in their goal to be a transparent corporation. 

The company’s ideals are openly discussed no matter what, and every decision is completely transparent—there are no secrets.

Also, Buffer was among the first firms to adopt remote getaways

They scheduled company-wide getaways to have the whole staff meet in a different destination, like Singapore, before the pandemic altered how we travel.

Buffer’s distinct corporate culture advantages comprise the following elements:

Example #3: Salesforce

Salesforce is well-known for several reasons, the most notable being that it is one of the top CRM solutions. 

It has more than 50,000 workers worldwide as of 2021. 

Developing a culture with that number is challenging, yet the organization’s teamwork has succeeded.

Image Source: Salesforce

Moreover, they are well-known for one thing: their 1-1-1 charitable strategy. 

Salesforce gives the following each year:

  • 1% of its stock
  • 1% of its output
  • 1% of its time

So far, they have distributed $240 million in grants, performed 3.5 million hours of community service, and made their product available to over 39,000 different organizations.

Now Over to You

To sum up, the importance of organizational culture in contemporary business can’t be overstated. 

It impacts how your staff works, how consumers connect with your firm, and how your organization operates internally. 

A culture that encourages productivity and innovation will prosper. There are many advantages to having a solid corporate culture, but the most significant one is that it is visible. 

Remember that you can enhance your corporate culture by getting your hands on some cool gifts, and we’re here to help you choose nothing but the best.Feel free to contact us anytime; we always love hearing from you.

Featured image by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.

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