What is company culture? Or corporate culture… or organizational culture..?
You hear the words frequently, but how do you define the culture of a business? How can you measure your culture and how can you improve it?
In this article, we explain what organizational culture is and why it is that 82 per cent of senior business managers believe that culture is a competitive advantage.
After that, we’ll give you some insightful tips on how you can create a digital learning strategy that will do wonders for your organization!
Here we go…
What Does ‘Organizational Culture’ Mean?
Organizational culture refers to the personality of an organization. It relates to the day to day beliefs and behaviours of a set of employees within the same work environment:
- how they act and engage with the organization,
- the values they ascribe to these actions,
- their personal goals and how these fit in with the goals of the organization,
- and how employees engage with each other at work.
It relates to how well the employees understand the company’s mission, visions and goals. This means that every employee in the organization should know what the company wants to achieve. But, these organizational goals should also align with their own individual goals.
This is important, and it’s a fact that’s often overlooked. It’s not enough for employees to do their tasks because “that’s just my job” or “I need to make money somehow”.
The route to employee engagement is a two-way street and your employees need to know that any organizational growth will result in personal growth and professional development.
Examples of Organizational Culture
Every company has a different culture. For example, some companies are more collaborative and have a team-based culture. This means that people within the organization work together to achieve their goals.
Other businesses will have a company-wide approach in which everyone has their own goals and targets, and they work on their own to get them done.
Some companies are more formal. They expect you to come to work in a power suit and stick to your set hours carefully. Other companies will have a different approach and let you wear whatever is comfortable and manage your time yourself.
Some more examples:
- Some companies are in silos, others are highly inter-dependent.
- Many businesses will be sales focused, others client-focused, others still employee focused.
- Forward-thinking companies will have a knowledge-sharing culture, in which employees take responsibility for sharing their knowledge. Others have a centrally driven formal learning strategy.
- Businesses can have dramatically different approaches to technology. Some will be early adopters and innovators, others will be cautious.
These examples don’t define the company culture entirely, but they feed into it and shape it. It’s not necessarily the case that one culture is better than another, simply that every organisation has its own unique culture.
Why is a Good Company Culture Important?
A strong corporate culture helps even large organizations work like a well-oiled machine. Every employee knows their valued and acts in-line with the company values.
Human Resources will find it easier to engage employees with a good corporate culture behind them. This is because everyone in the company will know the companies expectations. When everyone from senior management downward is rewarding behaviours that contribute positively to the culture, it becomes deeply embedded in the company. Organizational culture is a long-term investment, but it pays off.
Company Culture Improves Your Work Environment
An organization with a clearly defined culture is a more pleasant place to work. The company culture will give everyone shared assumptions that help everyone know what’s expected of them. This makes for a more enjoyable social and psychological environment.
When everyone knows how to behave, it makes it easier for everyone to get along nicely. It also reduces friction in the workplace. Similarly, when everyone knows what’s expected of them, it removes any uncertainty or ambiguity from their role. This is important for the mental wellbeing of your wonderful employees!
Great Company Culture Can Improve Quality of Work
When the culture isn’t as strong, the alignment to company values isn’t quite so clear. This means that more effort needs to be placed in controlling employees, monitoring their behaviour and keeping them working as efficiently as possible.
The advantages of company culture are obvious. It means that less monitoring is required by managers and team leaders and that the work of the employees is of a higher value to the company. This means that company culture helps improve organizational performance!
Corporate Culture Makes Onboarding More Effective
A company with a clear culture will be able to easily induct new employees into the company’s set of beliefs and encourage ways of working that cohere to the company’s goals and visions as a whole.
Employees in a company with a good culture are more engaged, motivated to succeed and display more loyalty. This can make them less likely to leave the company and make them more likely to become an advocate of your company.
Organizational Culture Breeds Teamwork
An increase in group cohesiveness is one of the most powerful by-products of a good organizational culture. Employees know where they stand within their teams and they trust everyone else to do a good job. They also feel valued and that their contribution is important to the success of the business.
Company Culture Makes Hiring People Easier
Everyone wants to work for a company with an amazing culture. It’s one of the big draws of superstar companies like Google and Facebook. In fact, many companies these days consider cultural fit an important part of the hiring process.
Company Culture Dials Up Informal Learning
With a greater focus on collaboration and teamwork, you also create opportunities for informal learning to occur. In any work environment, only 10% of what your employees learn comes from the formal training content. They pick up the rest on the job and by interacting with their colleagues. The more training your employees receive, the better they become at doing their jobs and the more successful the company will be.
This all combines to create a good team working environment and a community of engaged employees. Clearly, a good culture is something to aspire to. Not only does it nurture a pleasant working environment, but it improves engagement between employees, teams, departments and the organization as a whole.
What’s not to like?
Want to know more about your culture, your learning and your brand, check out what Juliette has to say below:
How to Improve Corporate Culture
1. Listen to your Employees!
Provide your employees with an environment to let their opinion be heard. Internet giant, WordPress, regularly hold ‘Town Hall’ meetings where these ideas are exchanged between management and lower-level employees.
- 75% of employees would stay longer at an organization that listens to and addresses their concerns (Ultimate Software)
- 65% of employees who don’t feel they can approach their manager with any type of question are actively disengaged (Gallup)
2. Communication is Key!
Effectively communicate your organization’s mission, vision and values. This helps create the sense of having a shared goal and shifts your employee’s mindset from a cog in a machine to a key part of the team!
- Only 1 in 150 employees who say their organization does not have a set of values are fully engaged (Harvard Business Review)
- Employees who say their organizational values are “known and understood” are 51 times more likely to be fully engaged than an employee who responds that their organization does not have values that are known and understood
- (Harvard Business Review)
- 25% of Millennials say their top career goal is to “Make a positive impact on my organization” (IBM)
3. Collaborate Don’t Isolate!
Encourage collaboration between employees to reinforce the idea that you are a team. Your LMS should be equipped with a vibrant social feed where learners can offer support to each other and overcome challenges together!
- 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures (Clear Company)
4. Be Transparent!
Transparency with your employees is a way of building trust. A weekly post on an LMS social feed about what’s happening at a corporate level will inspire your team.
- 50% of employees say bosses sharing information and data has a significantly positive impact on productivity and motivation (HubSpot)
5. Follow the Leader!
Organizational culture needs to be nurtured. And, culture starts at the very top of the ladder!
Leaders need to visibly demonstrate that they buy into the organization’s core beliefs. You could do this with a video of your CEO at the beginning of your training programme.
- 89% of workers with leadership support are more likely to recommend the company as a good place to work (American Psychological Association).
- 35% of Millennials say strong leadership defines a good work culture (Staples).
- 52% of HR pros cite management buy-in as the biggest barrier to strengthening culture (CultureIQ).
6. Provide Regular Feedback!
Employees need regular feedback if they are to align their performance with your organizational culture. A once a year meeting just isn’t good enough! You should praise the behaviour that matches your values and develop areas that need improvement. Keep on top of things with regular reporting and you’ll soon be working in tandem!
- 68% of employees who receive accurate and consistent feedback feel fulfilled in their jobs.
7. Epic Meaning!
You should look to our awesome friend Epic Meaning if you want to see improvements in your organizational culture! Provide your learners with immersive training content and you’ll soon all be pulling in the same direction!
- Highly engaged employees are more than three times as likely to do something good for the company that is not expected of them.
8. Implement Gamification
Gamification will keep your learners coming back for more. They’ll be hunting down badges and XP to claim bragging rights over their
colleagues on the leaderboard! This makes for the perfect environment to reinforce your organizational culture! But what do we know? We’re only the #1 providers for a gamified LMS!
- Research by the Aberdeen Group discovered organizations who deploy gamification improve engagement by 48%.
- 9% of responders to a survey said that they would be more productive if their university/institution or work was more game-like.
9. Reward Your Employees!
Reward your employees for actions that best represent the organizational culture that you seek. A recognition-rich culture will also reduce turnover, giving your organizational culture longevity. So what are you waiting for? Get rewarding your employees!
- Companies that score in the top 20% for building a ‘recognition-rich culture’ have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.
10. Lay Down a Challenge!
Provide challenge and opportunity for development. This lets your employees know you are invested in them, in turn, they will be loyal to your organizational culture.
- 76% of millennials think professional development opportunities are one of the most important elements of company culture (Execu-Search)
- Employees who get the opportunity to continually develop are twice as likely to say they will spend their career with their company (Gallup)
If you want to create a culture you can be proud of, these tips are a great start… But our 70 20 10 Tipsheet is the perfect resource to help you understand how you can take the next step to transform your organisation.