6 Essential Questions about Your Company’s Culture
If you promote an informal culture without traditional hierarchies, do your employees eat at the same canteen as top company executives.
As the role of company culture has been actively promoted by both human resources managers and advanced corporations such as Google and Facebook, many practitioners still find it difficult to identify what can be done in this dimension and what practical steps may allow them to build a supportive environment stimulating job satisfaction and good performance.
Unfortunately, there exists no clear-cut solution for all situations and organizations. Instead, we would suggest asking yourself the following 6 questions about your company’s culture to identify the areas that may be improved.
1. Do you promote innovation?
Although this sphere has been traditionally viewed as a prerogative of major corporations with large budgets, it is perfectly applicable to small and medium organizations. From a practical standpoint, workplace innovation is merely the capability of employees to invent new business processes, successfully implement them, and be rewarded for this contribution. What could stimulate your staff members to share their knowledge and insights to boost your company performance? In many cases, such motivators can be intangible and may not require substantial investments.
2. Do you support workplace learning and development?
To attract ambitious employees, you need to provide the ways they can advance their careers and professional levels. Offering training and development opportunities may be the best way to instill a transformational culture and stimulate organizational growth. At the same time, providing the opportunity to combine employment with additional training or education may be another route for achieving superior performance. An employee completing his or her Ph.D. while working for you becomes both a more grateful worker and a more valuable professional.
3. Do you celebrate employee achievements?
Rewarding superior performance and contributions are highly suitable for transformational organizations seeking to stimulate the desired behaviors in the future. However, you should carefully appraise your intentions to punish the errors through negative reinforcements. While workplace absenteeism or similar violations should be prevented, mistakes are an inevitable element of workplace innovation. This should be thoroughly understood by the managers and owners who should think about the ways to limit the consequences of experimentation failures rather than the methods of punishing free thinking.
4. Does your company have any established traditions?
Many organizations limit their corporate culture manifestations to trivial elements such as dress codes, monthly football games or annual corporate celebrations. At the same time, industry leaders frequently prefer more modern options such as start-up contests where winners get the resources for realizing their ideas or paid volunteering hours for socially responsible activities. Introducing these intangible incentives may give your employees a greater sense of purpose in their lives and demonstrate the unique ‘personality’ of your company embodied in its traditions.
5. Do you incorporate your values into daily routines?
If you promote an informal culture without traditional hierarchies, do your employees eat at the same canteen as top company executives? Do you maintain an open-door policy where a new staff member can directly communicate with senior executives to resolve a problem or ask for career advice? An increasing gap between the promoted values and the actual management and communication practices may be the key reason for the inability to gain employee trust and commitment to the company vision.
6. Do you have a positive image in the eyes of local communities?
In the case of purely offline businesses, most new employees are recruited from local communities. Therefore, the companies with extremely positive image gain a substantial advantage over their competitors in terms of human resource management. The proper question to ask yourself is, “Can our employees recommend us as an employer to their friends or relatives?”. Your company should be recognized as both an attractive place to work at and a valuable contributor to the local environment.
The recommendations provided above suggest a pathway to finding your own unique solutions rather than best industry practices. However, you should not underestimate the role of traditional motivators such as salary bonuses, work-life balance or effective conflict management mechanisms. The optimal strategy is to combine these incentives with the ones tackling the newly identified problematic areas to achieve the best results. Good corporate cultures may take years to develop and are usually based on thoughtful experimentation and relationship management.
Ellie Richards is an Online Marketing Manager for Ph.D. Writing company Original Ph.D. She specializes in research, content, and article writing on various topics, including Education, Marketing, and Technology.