Company culture is a lot like a belly button: every business has one but it’s often ignored. Now that’s as far as I’m going to take that analogy, but the truth is, in the decades I’ve spent working with various sized businesses its startling how many business owners overlook this vital attribute to their company. There is a common belief that company culture is only relevant to corporate giants and not something that is applicable to their small business or solo operation. This is just plain WRONG, and let me explain why.
What is a company culture anyway? It’s essentially the culmination of various elements such as core values, belief systems, vision and the collective traits of the employees or contractors. It effects how employees/contractors and customers view the business and much like brand, company culture is intrinsic to the DNA of an organization. Simply put, company culture is how your team and customers perceive the experience of working with your business.
Why is this all important? Firstly, how your business is perceived by your customers as well as those under your employ has a direct impact on your bottom line. Especially in the current market, how a customer feels about your business can have more to do with their purchase decision than the product itself. In other words, there is a direct correlation between culture and conversion rates.
Additionally, in today’s job market, attracting and retaining the right talent for your business has everything to do with a business culture. In fact, it is one of the primary reasons why an employee would choose to stay with or leave an employer. The same goes for contractors! Believe it or not, company culture and fitment is currently one of the most common questions candidates ask at interviews. If your team is concerned with culture, you should be too.
Just to be clear, what we’re talking about here are the actual values, beliefs and visions of the organization, not the whimsical ideals decorating the letter board on your desk.
Here are some telltale things that indicate what your actual culture is vs. what you say you want it to be:
What kind of people get hired or advance in your business?
How do you handle customer service issues?
What kind of people are you networked with?
How do you communicate expectations for your team?
What goals do you set for your business?
How do you react when things don’t go according to plan?
All of these things contribute to your “true value system” and how it manifests itself within the business culture. You may say you have an “open and collaborative” culture, but if you don’t communicate well or genuinely consider team input, your actual company culture is very different.
Take a minute and reflect on your business’s core values and culture. Now compare that to the day to day operations of your business. Is your desired culture accurately being reflected or do you have some work to do? Join the conversation in The CEO Seat, and tell us what you discover.