The culture of your business matters. The values and attitudes your company is known for can resonate strongly with customers and employees, and this can be rewarded by loyalty, increased market share and a more sustainable business. It makes developing a values-led corporate culture a worthwhile goal that can enhance the longevity of your company and create a more rewarding workplace.
What is corporate culture?
Corporate culture is essentially a set of shared values held within the company. It provides an overarching framework for how a business operates, how decisions are made, and it can even shape work culture – driving the way staff interact with customers, suppliers and one another.
The importance of corporate culture lies in its ability to shape the way a company and its employees behave. This can have a significant impact on business outcomes. While a good corporate culture will have a positive impact for business, a negative culture can also be a driver of poor business conduct.
All companies – from small to large - should take an interest in culture because it can benefit the organisation in a number of ways. These include nurturing a quality brand, forging an enviable company reputation, and increasing customer loyalty. Culture can also play a key role in attracting and retaining high-quality employees, which further supports the success of the business.
There is no single ‘ideal’ culture
Just as companies are made up of individual people, who are all very different, there is no single corporate culture that offers a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for every business.
Developing the culture that is suitable for your business is a highly individual process. It should take into account the nature, size and complexity of the organisation, and reflect the company’s values and goals.
The key however is to translate the company’s values and beliefs into workable practices. This will close any gap between the culture the company is aspiring to and the values it is demonstrating in practice.
Leading from the top
The responsibility for creating a business’ corporate culture and values traditionally falls upon the leaders and senior management of an organisation.
This means more than just developing a mission statement, as the responsibility from the top is to ensure that they remain committed to the company’s culture and lead by example for the rest of the team.
Employees can be valuable advocates of an organisation’s culture especially when they are suitably informed about what it involves and why it matters. Staff should also have clear guidelines around what is expected of them in terms of the attitudes and behaviours that will uphold the values of the business.
When employees share your company’s culture, they are able to demonstrate their commitment in a variety of ways. This can include how decisions are made, the manner in which customer complaints are handled, or even the way mistakes are addressed.
Workplace culture can also be used to garner employee support. Incentives and performance management can play a role, especially when rewards and remuneration are aligned to the values of the company, with recognition offered for good conduct and achievements.
Key aspects of developing corporate culture
In a practical sense, building and nurturing a healthy corporate culture can call for a range of steps from drafting an inspiring mission statement through to developing a reputation as a good corporate citizen through social responsibility initiatives. Here are a few steps that can help you get started:
Mission statement – defining your culture
A mission statement sets out why the company is in operation. An inspiring mission statement cuts to the very heart of what matters to your company, and it can be the cornerstone that draws top talent to your organisation.
Corporate reputation – how does yours stack up?
In today’s highly competitive commercial world, the way your company is viewed by others can play a key role in the success of your business. A great reputation can be one of your organisation’s best assets – but nurture it carefully because even simple mistakes can erode a reputation that has taken years to build up.
A quality corporate brand goes beyond clever logos and hashtags. It’s all about how your business is perceived by consumers and employees, and a strong brand can give your organisation an enviable edge when it comes to attracting customers and quality talent to your company.
Businesses are increasingly expected to play a leading role in social and environmental change. And while a well-considered program of corporate social responsibility can come with costs, it can also deliver valuable, and measurable benefits to an organisation.