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What is culture to a company?

4 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

Company culture is a shared set of workplace beliefs, values, attitudes, standards, purposes and behaviors. It reflects both the written and unwritten rules that people in an organization follow. Your organization's culture is the sum of all that you and your colleagues think, say, and do as you work together.

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Kunal Rajaram
TRIMMER SAWYER
Answer # 2 #

Company culture can be defined as a set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize an organization.

Company culture can more simply be described 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.

Research published in the Harvard Business Review notes that the characteristics of a company emerge largely from how employees interact (independence to interdependence) and how employees respond to change (flexibility to stability).

A company’s culture influences results from top to bottom. We’ll dive into some specific numbers that prove this statement in a moment, but first, consider the fact that the average American will spend one-third of their life at work.

The environment in which they spend that time will largely dictate the quality of an employee’s professional life. If they work for a company with a strong culture that aligns with their own beliefs and attitudes, they’ll be more likely to work hard and remain with the company for the long haul. If, on the other hand, the company’s culture does not reflect their own personal feelings, they’re much more likely to leave — or worse, remain with the company but underperform.

Before we go any further, let’s review some common misconceptions about company culture.

Company culture is not solely:

Your core values. Core values are certainly part of your culture, but until you put them into action they’re just words on paper. In fact, core values can negatively impact culture if they aren’t adhered to. Employees will see this as the company paying lip service and failing to live up to its own standards.

Your perks and benefits. Ping pong tables and beer on tap can be great, assuming they represent what your employees really care about, but perks and benefits are not a substitute for strong company culture.

The yardstick by which all candidates should be measured. Hiring for cultural fit has become a hot topic over the past few years, but we’re already seeing companies shift away from this line of thought. Hiring people that align with your culture makes sense on the surface, but too many companies use this metric as a crutch. Many companies have pivoted to a “cultural add” model, wherein they look for candidates that align with the most important elements of their culture, but will also bring their own unique traits to the table.

So, what then is company culture?

A successful company culture is one that is bought into by everyone from the newest intern to the CEO. It’s living and breathing your core values. The job of the company is to make sure that every employee understands the expectations and acts accordingly. A truly great company culture is one that inherently promotes curiosity, respect, teamwork and employee health.

A way to really boost your company’s culture is to put a concerted emphasis on diversity and inclusion. In simplified terms, diversity and inclusion in the workplace is making a group of individuals, with completely different backgrounds and experiences, feel safe and accepted in expressing their uniqueness while at work. Allowing employees to express their differences, learn from each other and feel safe while doing it creates a strong cultural bond that breeds employee happiness and productivity.

Based on a company’s shared values, attitudes and practices, a company culture can be sorted into one of four basic organizational culture categories.

A clan culture is a people-focused, highly collaborative work environment where every individual is valued, prioritizing communication. It often values action-orientation and the embrace of change, and it involves breaking down barriers between the executives and employees and encourages mentorship opportunities.

Adhocracy culture is an innovative, adaptable work environment which highly seeks to develop the next big industry breakthrough. It often values risk-taking, individuality and creativity. Typically, this type of culture prioritizes converting new ideas to market growth and company success.

Market culture is a results-oriented work environment where external success is placed above internal satisfaction, prioritizing the bottom line. It often values meeting quotas, reaching targets and getting results. Market culture also commonly involves degrees of separation between the executives and employees.

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Hashim voqdgcph Mizanul
PSYCHOLOGIST SCHOOL
Answer # 3 #

Company culture is how you do what you do in the workplace. It’s the sum of your formal and informal systems and behaviors and values, all of which create an experience for your employees and customers.

At its core, company culture is how things get done around the workplace. “How” includes both the formal systems, and the informal behaviors.

For example, your company may use instant messaging software to communicate throughout the day (system), and it may also be okay to yell at a coworker to get your point across (behavior). Your systems and behaviors give employees the “rules of the road” for interacting with the business, and each other.

Company culture is often something you can feel, even as an outsider.

I can recall the first time I walked into the lobby of a company on our Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. As I approached the door, employees who were walking in and passing by made eye contact and said “hello.”

The employee behind the desk greeted me warmly, offering me a cup of coffee and a comfortable seat. There was a distinct, positive energy in the building. My first experiences as a guest gave me a taste of how they “do things around here.”

The best way to understand a company’s culture is to ask employees. This could be through an employee experience survey platform like Emprising™. You’ll hear some people describe a company culture with statements like “people are willing to talk to each other, share what they know and take the proactive step to get you in touch with the right person,” or “people always come first”.

Cool perks like unlimited vacation time and innovative policies may help shape company culture, but they do not make a great workplace. The experience of your people does.

Of all the ingredients that make up your organizational culture, the most important variables are how:

Every company does each of these things, but as in most things, it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.

Company culture is important because it directly affects company performance on key metrics including finances, employee retention, innovation and customer service.

1. Financial returnsAccording to research by Great Place To Work and FTSE Russell, annual returns for the 100 Best Companies have had a cumulative return of 1,709% since 1998, as compared to a 526% return for the Russell 3000 Index during the same period.

2. Employee retentionWhen a workforce is diverse and the company culture is inclusive, equitable and rewarding for all employees, people are willing to stay at the company a long time. Millennials, for example, are 11 times more likely to leave their company than Gen Xers if their needs for purpose at work are not met.

3. Innovation When employees experience inclusive leadership behaviors and systems, they are better poised to speak up, share ideas and adapt to change. This is what we call a culture of innovation or Innovation by All™.

4. Customer service

Studies confirm that employee happiness translates into employee efficiency, creativity and productivity. This, in turn, has the same effect on customers.

In our own research on the average U.S. workforce and how they compare to Great Place To Work-Certified™ companies (companies where employees rank the company culture highly), we found that employees at Certified workplaces are 34% more likely to rate their customer service as “excellent.”

1. Start where you are

Whether you have five employees or 50, there’s no better place to start than where you are. Initiate conversations with your employees about what makes your workplace distinct. They’ll give you the language around what makes your culture tick. For marketing agency Brains On Fire, these initial conversations formed the basis of their company values.

2. Define the boundaries

Effective company culture doesn’t happen by accident, so once you have a pretty good understanding of what’s working in your workplace, apply your aspirational vision.

What is the experience you want to your employees to have? What do you want customers to say about your company? What behavior is inbounds and what is out-of-bounds?

Based on employee feedback, Brains On Fire created a series of “golden rules,” or team values to encapsulate their principles and guide employee behaviors, such as “clear is kind” and “de-escalate versus escalate.”

3. Model the way

This is where leaders must step up to move beyond words into action. Your mission, vision and values often reside on the wall, but the company culture is HOW you achieve those ends.

If integrity is a core value, make sure everyone knows what it means to ACT with integrity. If transparency is a core value, make sure you demonstrate WHAT transparency looks like.

And remember, you’re either building, breaking or rebuilding trust in every interaction with employees, so make your early ones count.

4. Measure your progress

Even our best intentions may fall short of producing the desired employee experience, so make sure you’re getting regular feedback. Your people want to share their thoughts and recommendations for change, and the more you ask them, the more they’ll offer their best thinking to help continuously improve your business. Monitoring and analyzing employee feedback trends via an employee survey platform like Emprising will help guide your strategic HR decisions.

Change involves introspection, so, naturally, the best leaders put a lot of focus on reflection. If you want to analyze your company culture and measure your progress, reach out to us about our survey and assessment tools for transforming company culture.

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Salman Khade
HEMMER AUTOMATIC
Answer # 4 #

Company culture is how you do what you do in the workplace. It’s the sum of your formal and informal systems and behaviors and values, all of which create an experience for your employees and customers.

At its core, company culture is how things get done around the workplace. “How” includes both the formal systems, and the informal behaviors.

For example, your company may use instant messaging software to communicate throughout the day (system), and it may also be okay to yell at a coworker to get your point across (behavior). Your systems and behaviors give employees the “rules of the road” for interacting with the business, and each other.

Company culture is often something you can feel, even as an outsider.

I can recall the first time I walked into the lobby of a company on our Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. As I approached the door, employees who were walking in and passing by made eye contact and said “hello.”

The employee behind the desk greeted me warmly, offering me a cup of coffee and a comfortable seat. There was a distinct, positive energy in the building. My first experiences as a guest gave me a taste of how they “do things around here.”

The best way to understand a company’s culture is to ask employees. This could be through an employee experience survey platform like Emprising™. You’ll hear some people describe a company culture with statements like “people are willing to talk to each other, share what they know and take the proactive step to get you in touch with the right person,” or “people always come first”.

Cool perks like unlimited vacation time and innovative policies may help shape company culture, but they do not make a great workplace. The experience of your people does.

Of all the ingredients that make up your organizational culture, the most important variables are how:

Every company does each of these things, but as in most things, it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.

Company culture is important because it directly affects company performance on key metrics including finances, employee retention, innovation and customer service.

1. Financial returnsAccording to research by Great Place To Work and FTSE Russell, annual returns for the 100 Best Companies have had a cumulative return of 1,709% since 1998, as compared to a 526% return for the Russell 3000 Index during the same period.

2. Employee retentionWhen a workforce is diverse and the company culture is inclusive, equitable and rewarding for all employees, people are willing to stay at the company a long time. Millennials, for example, are 11 times more likely to leave their company than Gen Xers if their needs for purpose at work are not met.

3. Innovation When employees experience inclusive leadership behaviors and systems, they are better poised to speak up, share ideas and adapt to change. This is what we call a culture of innovation or Innovation by All™.

4. Customer service

Studies confirm that employee happiness translates into employee efficiency, creativity and productivity. This, in turn, has the same effect on customers.

In our own research on the average U.S. workforce and how they compare to Great Place To Work-Certified™ companies (companies where employees rank the company culture highly), we found that employees at Certified workplaces are 34% more likely to rate their customer service as “excellent.”

1. Start where you are

Whether you have five employees or 50, there’s no better place to start than where you are. Initiate conversations with your employees about what makes your workplace distinct. They’ll give you the language around what makes your culture tick. For marketing agency Brains On Fire, these initial conversations formed the basis of their company values.

2. Define the boundaries

Effective company culture doesn’t happen by accident, so once you have a pretty good understanding of what’s working in your workplace, apply your aspirational vision.

What is the experience you want to your employees to have? What do you want customers to say about your company? What behavior is inbounds and what is out-of-bounds?

Based on employee feedback, Brains On Fire created a series of “golden rules,” or team values to encapsulate their principles and guide employee behaviors, such as “clear is kind” and “de-escalate versus escalate.”

3. Model the way

This is where leaders must step up to move beyond words into action. Your mission, vision and values often reside on the wall, but the company culture is HOW you achieve those ends.

If integrity is a core value, make sure everyone knows what it means to ACT with integrity. If transparency is a core value, make sure you demonstrate WHAT transparency looks like.

And remember, you’re either building, breaking or rebuilding trust in every interaction with employees, so make your early ones count.

4. Measure your progress

Even our best intentions may fall short of producing the desired employee experience, so make sure you’re getting regular feedback. Your people want to share their thoughts and recommendations for change, and the more you ask them, the more they’ll offer their best thinking to help continuously improve your business. Monitoring and analyzing employee feedback trends via an employee survey platform like Emprising will help guide your strategic HR decisions.

Change involves introspection, so, naturally, the best leaders put a lot of focus on reflection. If you want to analyze your company culture and measure your progress, reach out to us about our survey and assessment tools for transforming company culture.

Julian Lute

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Mitra Abdelrhamen
NEWS ASSISTANT