Having a company culture is no longer an option. It is a must-have for organisations who want to stand out.
I started a new gig, yet again!
Those who know me know that I have a flair for starting something new.
I was in the job market earlier in the year. And this required interviews with personnel on several levels, from the HR to mid-management to senior management. I always made it to the final round which will be followed by an offer or sometimes a decline due to a mismatch in culture, according to the recruiters.
This brings me to my topic of interest, company culture. I am sure there are sophisticated definitions to describe it, but a company’s culture can be likened to the lifestyle of the organisation, the pulse of the organisation, what distinguishes it out of the pack. What the company is known for.
This culture is so powerful that a wrong hire – a hire with a strong opposing culture – can erode the power the company has or filter the goodwill garnered over the years. I was at an e-commerce firm for an interview; I could feel the energy as I interacted with the employees – from the top to bottom management. The unspoken dress code, the temperament, the décor, the positioning; every item screamed the company’s culture and what it stands for.
Whenever a new recruit is added, this recruit absorbs the culture as everyone plays the role of an unofficial inductor – rubbing the culture on the new recruit.
A company culture is an essential ingredient to a company’s success. If the company does not deliberately define its culture, the media, outsiders or external stakeholders will do that for it. And this makes for extremely frustrating situations for new hires or parties that transact in business engagements with the firm. An inconsistent image dilutes the public proposition of the company.
Perks of establishing a company culture
The best time to define and set the terms of a company’s culture is at its infancy stage. It is easier to manage and inculcate that culture on the small workforce, hoping these members will be the foot soldier that will transfer it to the new entrants. Hopefully, that process will evolve over the years. If a company misses that slot, there is greater need for a concerted effort from upper management to define culture as soon as possible and keep it intact.
Have goals and objectives with regards to culture and gradually diffuse it into the bloodstream of the company. Be dedicated, build the culture purposefully. Live it – let the company culture not only live on print but be brought to life for all and sundry.
A “negative” culture is better that no culture
Yes, it is better a company is associated with a “negative” culture than having no culture at all. For instance, a company is better off viewed as having a cut-throat working environment. It is best that a company is known for a “negative” culture than being referred as having no culture at all. The consequences of not having a culture are lack of identity and employee disorientation.
A company will always be meshed with different personalities, beliefs and values, so as it grows, it needs a strong foundation without which, it will falter. Company culture needs to be cultivated right from the start since an average employee in a formal structure spends about 8 hours at the workplace. If not, they may pick the habits available to them. Research has it that you pick up habits of those you spend large amounts of time with. Whose culture are you imbibing?
A rotten egg can pollute the good eggs
Wrong hires – hires whose culture doesn’t fit with that of organisation – can massively dilute the existing company culture with their different beliefs, different ways of doing things. Depending on how influential their roles are, this can cause harm to the company and create a preventable difficult time. Two very important tasks of a manager are hiring and firing. And the timing of both matters. A defined company culture aids the recruiting and firing process
What is your company’s culture? There is a strong correlation between high performing organisations and those that have an extremely strong and well-defined culture.
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