In most instances, you’ll be able to do this through the way you interact with customers, how well you serve them, and how your employees work together as a team. This is where company culture comes in. It allows you to communicate your mission, values, and ethics to the outside world in a way that is attractive for both customers and employees.
But what is company culture and why is it important? More importantly, we’ll show you how to keep company culture intact as you scale your business?
What is company culture?
What do you think a good company culture definition would be? Some believe it’s about your company’s values, while others place the focus on employee behaviours and attitudes.
Actually, it’s a combination of these and several other aspects, including:
Your company’s mission
Your workplace environment
Your leadership style
Your company’s ethics.
Simply put, your company culture is the way your company does things and how it works.
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Some company culture examples
A better way to illustrate what company culture is, would be to look at a few real-world company culture examples.
Let's start with Netflix. In its company culture document, Netflix set out its company values. These values are judgement, communication curiosity, passion, innovation, curiosity, and more. It expects these values to be upheld by all employees in each action and interaction, which allows the company to build a creative, collaborative and successful organisation.
ServiceNow, a cloud-based workflow automation and project management platform, embraces a culture of camaraderie. As such, they embrace customers as part of their culture and they encourage everyone on their team to give inputs and lead new diversity, inclusion, and culture initiatives.
Security platform, SecureLink, has built a company culture that focuses on people, their personalities, motivation, and a desire to learn instead of focusing only on education and experience. This enabled the company to foster an environment where people are more motivated, enjoy their work more, and can face challenges with a unique perspective.
Why is company culture important?
Your company culture comprises your company’s values, ethics, goals, and mission. It lays the foundation for the way your employees engage and interact with each other and with your customers. So, now that we've recapped what company culture is, let's look at how it affects your business or, in other words, why it is so important:
Customer satisfaction. With the right company culture, your employees will work as a team towards a common goal. And when they do, they'll create exceptional products and deliver stellar customer experiences. In turn, this keeps your customers satisfied, which makes them come back for more and leads to more referrals. Ultimately, this sets you up for continued success.
Employee retention. With a strong company culture, your employees will be more engaged. And when they’re more engaged, they’ll not only be more productive and efficient but also more satisfied with their jobs. This means they won’t look elsewhere and you’ll be able to up your employee retention and hold on to the best talent. Moreover, when you hire with your company culture in mind, you’ll find employees who are a better fit for your company, which increases employee retention even further.
Increased growth. With a workforce that’s productive, efficient, engaged, and motivated to deliver the best products and customer service, your business will be more efficient and profitable as a whole. This allows you to set up your business for sustainable, long-term growth.
More revenue. We’ve already mentioned that, with the right company culture, your customers will be more satisfied and that your employees will be more productive and efficient. This, ultimately, means that you’ll be able to serve your customers better, attract new ones, and serve them better. As a result, your business will generate more revenue.
Better decision making. As mentioned earlier, your company culture provides the framework that outlines your business’ mission, goals, and values. When your employees work within this framework in their interaction with both customers and other employees, they’ll be able to make better decisions that are aligned with your business’ mission and values.
Better reputation. Despite all the marketing channels available today, word-of-mouth is still a very effective tool for creating awareness around your brand or products. When your employees are more engaged and satisfied and your customers love your business, you’ll foster a better reputation in the market. In turn, this reputation allows you to stand out from the crowd and is what sets you apart from your competition.
The key to keeping your startup culture and values as you scale
When starting your business, you’re focused on providing the best customer service and products possible. With a smaller team, it’s also easier to accomplish this. However, as your business grows, roles and responsibilities will change, not only yours but also those of your employees.
As a result, it’s crucial that you’re able to trust your team to do the right thing. And here, company culture will provide the guidelines they need to do this. So, it’s vital that you keep your company culture intact as your business grows. But how do you do this?
The key to keeping your company culture is by developing it from the start. Let’s look at the steps you’ll need to follow to do this.
Developing your company culture
The first step is to develop your company culture. At its foundation, company culture is based on three fundamental principles:
Mission is your business’s ‘why’. In other words, it’s the reason it exists and its purpose. It determines why you started your business, who your customers are, what problems you’re trying to solve, and what inspires you. To create your mission, you’ll need to prepare a mission statement that encapsulates all these aspects.
Once you’ve determined your mission, you’ll need to decide where you want your business to go and when you aim to get there. This is your vision. When creating a vision statement, it’s important that it is specific enough to help guide you on the way to success. Keep in mind, though, that as your business grows and develops, your vision statement could change.
With your mission and vision statements, you’ll know where your business is going and when it will get there. You also need to know how you’ll do this. This is where your values come in. They’ll guide every decision you and your team make on the road to reaching your goals. So, when considering your values, keep your mission, vision, and you’ll achieve them in mind.
Implementing your company culture
Once you’ve created your company culture, it’s time to implement it. To do this, you’ll need to emphasise the aspects of your company culture across your entire business and with every employee. In this way, you’ll be able to instil your company culture and ensure that the right behaviours and actions take centre place in all interactions between employees and with your customers.
To do this, you’ll need to focus on your company culture in your hiring, management, compensation, and other processes. Remember, though, as company culture differs from business to business, the way you do this will vary.
How to keep company culture intact
When you develop your company culture from the start, your business will, as mentioned earlier, be more efficient, productive, and your team will be more motivated. However, although your mission, vision, and values will stay the same as your business grows, the strategies you use to reinforce your company culture will change.
Because of this, you should revisit your vision, mission, and values regularly to ensure that they stay consistent with what you want to achieve despite your increased growth.
The bottom line
Your company culture is the foundation of your business and determines how you’ll serve your customers, how your team will interact with them, and, by implication, how successful your business will be. Hopefully, this post helped illustrate what company culture is, why it's important, and how to keep company culture intact as your business grows.
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