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24 January 2023

5 Critical Aspects of Company Culture You Must Get Right

Jairek Robbins

Company Culture: 5 Critical Aspects of Company Culture You Must Get Right

 

As a business owner, you may be concerned about how there is upward pressure on wages, as well as how it may be getting harder to attract and retain top talent. The “Great Resignation” is truly underway and many companies are struggling to cope, especially given the raging inflation and other challenges facing the business sector.

 

One way to ensure that your company remains competitive and even thrives despite the harsh economic conditions prevailing is to pay attention to company culture. We discuss five key aspects of company culture that you should focus attention on.

 

How Work Relationships are Created and Nurtured

 

Humans are social beings, and it matters how your organization prefers relationships to be created and sustained. Relationships require time to develop, so you should look at creating avenues for people to interact freely and get to bond professionally.

 

For example, it may not be right to insist that everyone stay within their individual cubicles during work hours and only get out when they have something vital they need. Instead, let employees interact during their coffee breaks, and let focus groups sit together to work on projects.

 

The healthy relationships that develop will increase employee satisfaction and boost retention while also creating loyalty. Just be sure that respect and care is the cornerstone for all interactions so that undesirable behavior doesn’t crop up and thrive at your company.

 

Communication

 

Communication is critical to healthy company culture, and you need to set the right example of how communication should happen at the workplace. It is unproductive to insist on hierarchical channels of communication because issues can get glossed over or urgent matters may not get the attention they deserve as messages creep through the layers of red tape.

 

We are not suggesting that you encourage managers to hug and pat employees on the back every morning. Rather, let the team feel safe and free to communicate with one another and with executives about any matter related to the workplace or even their lives outside work. There shouldn’t be any fear of reprisals arising out of expressing one’s views.

 

When communication is allowed to flow freely, employees and customers tend to feel valued, especially if necessary action follows the receipt of the information tendered.

 

It is also worthwhile to look into how you prefer work information to be communicated. For example, would you be more comfortable receiving detailed reports with graphs, charts and other data, or a quick email would suffice for most situations?

 

The specific industry you are in, the stage of development of your company (startup vs. large conglomerate, for example) can influence the preferred communication style

 

Responsiveness to Change

 

We are living in a world that is changing rapidly, and the business landscape can change even more rapidly. It is therefore crucial that you establish a culture that fosters innovation and adaptability. ‘Change or die’ can take on graphic meaning if you are resistant to change as a company.

 

Listening to employee suggestions and creating an environment that welcomes trying new solutions can go a long way towards making your company responsive to the changing business environment. Refrain from stifling experimentation, even if it will result in an occasional costly mistake. Anyone who fears making a mistake will never grow, and this applies to companies.

 

Allow employees to make suggestions of how things can be improved, and support them with the needed resources to fine-tune their ideas. In this way, you will nurture a healthy appetite for continuous improvement, and an attitude of being growth-minded will take root at your company.

Individual vs. Group Outlook

 

While it is good to recognize and encourage individual performance, it is better to put special emphasis on group performance and dynamics.

 

A company that is too focused on individual performance can easily slide into tolerating undesirable habits simply because it is a star performing exhibiting those flaws. The culture can quickly become toxic under your watch if this happens.

 

Encourage individuals to thrive in their roles, but also be mindful about team dynamics. Everyone should see themselves as part of the team and be willing to go an extra mile to help the company to win, rather than maintaining a narrow focus on just what is at their desk.

 

Remember, if relationships are healthy, it is a lot easier to cultivate the “we” outlook as opposed to letting people focus on “me.”

 

How Decisions are Made

 

The decision-making processes at your company can also foster a healthy company culture or do the opposite.

 

For example, if team members are called to a meeting to discuss a pending matter and consensus is built around a certain course of action but employees later see a different solution being deployed without any explanation as to why the consensus position was dropped, disquiet about collective responsibility may develop. As a result, your team may be less willing to share their thoughts because they think that their views don’t matter since management will do whatever they want regardless of the views of team members.

 

You therefore need to think carefully about how decision-making needs to be undertaken at your company and be consistent in implementing that preferred way. Of course situations can arise that digress from the norm, but let these be the exception rather than the rule so that the entire company can be sure about what to expect regarding decision-making.

 

Summing it up…

 

Don’t be mistaken to think that you can throw money at everything in order to fix it. Employees will easily quit a high-paying job and take on a role with a lower salary as long as the work environment is supportive.

 

Company culture isn’t the values you write and post on every notice board; you must walk the talk and live by the principles you espouse so that the entire company follows the example that you set.

 

The payoff can be immense, with satisfied employees leading to satisfied clients.

 

Employee attrition will reduce, profits will grow and yours will be one of the firms that top talent wishes to join. How is that as a great recession-proofing approach for your company?

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