Corporate culture is at the heart of your organization – it’s the system of beliefs, behaviors, values and patterns that guide your company in everything it does, both internally and externally.
When you have a strong corporate culture, your organization is much more likely to succeed. Your organization attracts and retains top talent, your internal communications and engagement are on point, your staff feel satisfied, valued and rewarded, your productivity and profitability are excellent and your customers are happy too.
Studies have found that companies with strong corporate cultures are likely to outperform their competitors by around 20 to 30 per cent.
Changing your corporate culture can be difficult, for a range of reasons. Sometimes your culture may be bad because strong, toxic, negative personalities dominate your organization. People may be jaded and cynical from too much change or having “heard it all before” where nothing actually changes. There can also be a perception that if you are trying to change something, it will be a negative thing – will job security be affected?
However, if you are willing to work hard at it, there are improvements you can make.
1. Define your organization's values – and live them
Many organizations have a set of values – motherhood statements – listed in their corporate literature and on their websites. But in practice these are never looked at again by management or employees. If you are going to have a set of values it is critical they are incorporated into every aspect of the work that you do – in every role, task and project. If something doesn’t meet your values, why is your company doing it?
2. Embrace openness
If your company has a transparent culture where management and staff are able to talk freely without fear or favor, you create an atmosphere where people are empowered to speak up if they see a potential problem looming or if a mistake has been made.
3. Overhaul your systems and procedures
If your organization is overly bureaucratic and not particularly agile, you’ll struggle to keep the best employees who will feel stifled by your processes. Do you have overly complicated procedures and policies that slow people down? Can workflows be streamlined? Is there a better way of doing things?
4. Improve communication
High-performing organizations have great internal communication, flowing in every direction. This means management to staff, staff to management, teams to teams, peers to peers. When people communicate effectively, everyone is truly on the same team.
Innovation in this space can help improve the flow of information in your organization. Consider investing in a tool such as DeskAlerts to cut through digital noise and send your important messages straight to your employees’ computers.
5. Model the culture that you want your organization to have
Talk is cheap. If you’re going to talk the talk, you need to be prepared to walk the walk. People despise hypocrisy. If your leadership team isn’t displaying the attributes of the culture you’d like to create, you can’t expect your employees to get on board too.