Nowadays, not many people want to be part of a company that doesn't align with their values, doesn't appreciate their efforts, or makes the workplace uncomfortable or unsafe, even if the paycheck is hefty. Company culture has become a key element for all successful organizations. But what does this frequently mentioned term really mean? Why should it matter to you, and how can you tell if you're moving in the right direction? Explore what's included in company culture and what factors shape a thriving work environment.
As pointed out by Lukášová and Nový in their book "Organizační kultura" (En. Organizational Culture) (2004), corporate culture is a highly complex and challenging concept to define. Despite its elusive nature, it has a significant influence on a company's success. Research suggests that a well-functioning corporate culture leads to increased productivity, increased employee engagement, and a competitive edge. But what exactly is it?
Many definitions describe corporate culture as a collection of values, shared attitudes, norms, and behavioral patterns that are collectively upheld by employees, thereby shaping a distinct work environment. It represents what characterizes a specific organization, including both formal and informal guidelines. In the category of tangible assets of corporate culture, you can find items such as the organization's buildings, the appearance and furnishings of work areas, products, and promotional materials. Intangible cultural assets include language, rituals, customs, stories, myths, and corporate icons.
Corporate Culture Evolution Over Five Decades
Back in the 1970s, some managers and industry experts started spotting distinct behavioral patterns among thriving companies. They noticed these enterprises had unique rituals and operational methods contributing to improved productivity and long-lasting success. Consequently, during the 1980s, several authors began investigating these shared traits, producing literature on constructing work atmospheres that lead to excellent results. Half a century of research subsequently validated these experts' insights, underscoring that a strong company culture is the cornerstone of any prosperous business.
When a company's values and objectives align with its employees' personal goals and values, it creates a work environment where people genuinely enjoy their jobs. This often results in employees going above and beyond, leading to improved customer satisfaction and increased engagement with the organization. Such alignment tends to foster long-term employee commitment. In fact, Gallup research reveals that an astonishing 95% of employees prioritize company culture over their salary.
This highlights the growing importance for people to spend their time in a pleasant environment, do work that is meaningful to them, and be a part of a company that shares their values That's why more and more companies are including a "culture book" as part of their recruitment campaigns – in a form of a printed booklet or online presentation showcasing the core aspects of their corporate culture. Both in our country and around the world, job portals are being created, where companies present what is important and typical for them and who would fit well in their team, rather than specific positions.
Criteria for a Healthy Company Culture
Although there's no one-size-fits-all corporate culture, some of the basic characteristics of a healthy company culture include:
- a space where individuals feel secure and respected
- consistency between the company's words and actions; it upholds its values
- trust among colleagues, transparency, and a readiness to take responsibility
- collaboration as a fundamental part of daily work
- fair recognition and appreciation of employees' efforts and contribution
- opportunities for growth and development
If you sense that your company's culture could use a bit more attention and nurturing, the aspects mentioned earlier are an excellent starting point for making improvements. Place a strong emphasis on developing trust, encompassing both employee trust in the company and interpersonal trust among individuals. Furthermore, talk openly and regularly about the organization's mission, goals, and plans. Make sure people know where the organization is going and why. Implement collective activities and establish routines and traditions. Pay particular attention to how employees are assessed and the feedback they receive regarding their performance and behavior. Taking a closer look at your workspace and, if needed, reorganizing, and decorating it can also be beneficial to improve functionality and create the desired atmosphere.
You can also use various tools to encourage trust. Starting in the summer of 2023, certain businesses are required to implement a Whistleblowing Channel. A channel which provides employees with a means to report any dubious or inappropriate activities. This may include exposing corruption, law-breaking, fraud, bribery or other illegal or unethical behavior. Additionally, the company can use this tool to collect input and suggestions aimed at improving the overall company culture.
If you're interested in or, on the other hand, required to implement a Whistleblowing tool due to government regulations, we'd be delighted to introduce you to our Giriton solution. You can find more details about the whistleblowing module on our website, or we'd be happy to walk you through it in a meeting. Simply schedule a meeting with us by reaching out at +420 728 543 275 or sending us an email at email@example.com. We're looking forward to meeting you.