Fostering an impactful corporate culture
“Maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact trumps strategy.” – Howard Stevenson
An organization’s culture is seen in its practices, processes, and most importantly, its people. As an impression passed on to the public, it is formed from how products are presented, how employees dress and the value of customer experience.
It is the nature of a company as it reveals what matters most to it and provides guidance especially during situations that call for the need to make tough decisions.
Having a sound corporate culture is very necessary because all parties will be well directed in the work place. But when leaders do not pay attention to its importance, the foundation of the organization’s existence will eventually be put to test.
Here’s how to foster solid corporate culture within the organization and profit from its many benefits.
Define your values: This involves having a strong ‘why’! Why did you start a business? What do you aim to achieve? How will you accomplish your objectives?
What attitudes would you imbibe to stay thriving? What is your vision? What people do you need as team members? How should they interact with one other? Who are your customers? How will their needs be met? Who are your competitors?
How do you plan to conduct your business? How will the organization relate with the community within which it operates?
These questions keep every other activity in perspective; hence answers to them should be realistic, clear and well defined.
It’s also crucial to consider the evolving nature of culture as more and more people join the organization. By consciously creating desired cultures while considering employee expectations, there will be a sense of ownership and inclusion.
Communicate it: A Company’s culture explains how things are done around the work space which begs the need for it to be clearly communicated.
More so, it should be rooted within systems, operational processes, including its policies, as well as guide behaviors. Regardless of what the message is, there should be consistency.
Employees should know what the culture is, why it matters and how individual roles align with set objectives. New recruits must learn about it while employees who demonstrate it should be publicly recognized.
Also, opportunities or traditions that allow for these values to be played out should be encouraged.
For instance, an avenue for pitching, offering suggestions on how products can be improved or a strategy executed, etc tells of a culture that is collaborative and that values diverse perspectives. In terms of tradition, leaders should take advantage of social activities to strengthen mutual values.
Strongly, widely communicated and reinforced ideals allows for common understanding among all stakeholders of the business.
Lead by example: An organization may have captured its core values but of what use is it if its leaders do not comply with them?
After defining, leaders should not only communicate but intentionally uphold stated ideals. This will give it much weight than plain statements. Subordinates will observe how leaders live the culture in day to day interactions, for instance.
Employees look to their leaders as role models, hence expect that they truly believe in, and are deeply invested in these shared values being passed to them. They also expect that their leaders can be trusted, will be transparent and are reliable.
Corporate Culture goes beyond offering perks or incentives. As an expression, it serves as the glue that binds everyone in the organization together.
The consequences of not leading by example are many. Team members will lose motivation and leaders will lose trustworthiness. There will also be a decline in productivity.
Set up a compliance team: This team will be responsible for ensuring conformity at all levels, and for accountability purpose, should report to top management.
Besides collecting feedbacks on what is or isn’t working, tracking performance by establishing metrics, the team should always identify new ways of embedding these values in the company. The outcome would be a robust structure, sustained growth plus improved engagement among colleagues.
An organization proves its character yet requires commitment and patience. Nevertheless by defining its objectives, clearly communicating, enforcing and encouraging compliance, organizations will be set in the right direction.