What is company culture?
Company culture is your organisation’s personality and energy. It’s a tapestry that weaves together your purpose, values, expectations, benefits and environment to create unwritten guidelines that shape how your people work, interact and make decisions.
Every company has a culture. It exists from day one. And from there on out it evolves as you hire those who fit perfectly into your vision.
It’s the one thing that makes your business unique. Your competitors can sell the same products as you. They can offer the same services. But they can’t replicate your culture and the way your people go about delivering them.
It’s the invisible glue that holds your company together, but as a leading figure in a business, why should you care? Is it just the latest HR buzzword? And where’s the value?
Why company culture matters
Culture trumps strategy. Every single time. You can agonise over the most detailed business plans for days, months, years, but if you don’t have the culture and the people in place to help make those plans a reality, you’re wasting your time.
Company culture is like the wind. You can’t see it, but you can feel its strength. It moves and shapes its surroundings. It can be used as a source of energy to power your people and your business, but it can also have disastrous consequences when things get rough.
We asked the crowd at our Culture Carnival, on a scale of 1-10, how valuable is culture to your bottom line? The answers from our 130 guests lay predominantly around the 8-10 mark. And on top of that, there was also a collective consensus that culture is vital in a business’s lifespan. So, if it’s success you’re looking for, culture is the business card to play.
Turning a company into a team
A strong workplace culture defines your company’s internal and external identity. It encourages and helps your people to reach their full potential, binding them together and aligning them to your purpose, values and goals. It can transform your company from an uninspiring source of pocket money to a collective mission.
Reap the rewards of attracting and retaining the best people
We all want to feel energised and valued at work. We all want to be a part of something we truly believe in. And as more and more businesses open their eyes to the power of culture, having your own, impressive version has evolved from an option into your most effective means of attracting and retaining the best people.
It may sound obvious, but when your people are engaged, driven and enjoying their role in your vision – they want to keep their job. They become advocates, not just employees. And that boosts productivity and employee retention – far more than something like a prospective pay rise (especially in the long term) – and it brings huge benefits to your client experience.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, monetary rewards only cover our basic needs. On the other hand, the value an incredible culture can bring for your people starts to tap into the top of the pyramid; the psychological and self-fulfilment benefits we all crave.
When your people love what they do, your clients will love what you do. Then, their loyalty grows, and your business thrives. A successful business is a reputable one, and with your workplace culture and identity at the forefront of everything you do, the cycle is formed as more people find out about how great you are, and more people want to work with you and get a slice of the action.
How did a focus on culture impact us?
In 2015 we set ourselves an ambitious 10-year vision: to grow the business 10 x in those 10 years, become number one in every market we operate in and The Sunday Times’ number one employer of choice.
We knew there was only one way we’d even come close to making that vision a reality: by putting workplace culture front and centre in our plans.
So far, it’s going well. We’re on track turnover-wise and acting for more privately-owned businesses with a turnover between £10-200m in the Midlands than anyone else. Our Gallup Q12 engagement scores have risen from 3.50 to 4.17 (out of 5), we’ve climbed from 91st to 13th in The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list, we picked up 3 European Engagement Awards this year and our teams are multi-award winners in their areas.
But as the dust (and the confetti) settles, we’ve only got one thing to thank: our workplace culture and the people it attracts.