These days, startups and large corporations are doing whatever they can to come up with a viable, thriving culture that they can surround themselves with. A company’s culture is very important and should not be ignored; and it’s also a double-edged sword.
Culture can either help your company reach a new height or be a huge factor responsible for your startup’s downfall. Research suggests that a toxic culture kills corporations more than recessions and bankruptcy. Can you believe it?!
The CEOs who see culture as inferior or secondary to their rest of priorities make the fatal mistake of assuming that culture does not have much to offer to the reputation of the company as the other factors do, but as we will see in this article, nothing can be further from the truth.
Why Should You Focus on Culture?
Culture needs to be one of the top priorities of any CEO or HR Team. You need to make sure that the goods and services that your company offers and the environment your employees work in, all are aligned and resemble each other. For instance, if one of your values is that you “create an insane customer experience”…you should have a similar philosophy for your employees: “create an insane employee experience”.
1. Culture Defines Your Company
Each organization has a list of policies and values which it likes to adhere to. The reason is simple: the company wants to be recognized by its terms. How can a company have a good reputation if the attributes it promises to possess utterly fail to manifest themselves in practical terms?
When the company culture becomes toxic, your company runs on the inevitable risk of being destroyed, as a Harvard study suggests, that toxic employees play a huge role in bringing the business down.
An example of this is Uber, which had to pay millions because of its employees’ cases of sexual harassment. There was not the proper emphasis on culture and values, which ultimately led to employees treating each other in some pretty terrible ways.
You need to make sure that your company’s characteristics and the employees of your company exhibit are compatible with your company’s objectives. An HR consultant can help you look at your company’s values as an unbiased third party, and help work with you to make recommendations on things to change, keep, and grow in order to up-level your company’s focus on culture.
2. Culture Either Creates Loyal Customers or Critics
When you are working on a startup or have started an organization, one thing you need to be prepared for is the fact that you will inevitably create a culture around you which will include both loyal super-fans, and critics; you just need to make sure that the advocates outnumber your critics.
How do you do that?
The positive corporate culture can be achieved by LIVING your company’s core values and paying attention to what employees are SAYING. What are you doing to live your core values? How are you making sure they are showing up in your communications, your trainings, your onboarding? What could you deliver to your employees as a WOW moment, or what I like to call: “splash moments” that surprise and delight your employees, while also reinforcing a core value?
Employees experience your company’s values and characteristics in a much deeper way as they are working for you as a leader. If your employee notices something toxic in the company’s environment, the news will likely spread and distort your company’s positive image in the market.
As a study suggests from the IZA world of labor, and Dr. Eugenio Proto, employees’ satisfaction was linked and proportional to their behavior in the workplace and productivity.
That’s why it’s necessary to focus on the experience of your customers, but also with the same level of vigor and ingenuity with your employees.
3. Culture Helps You Gain New Customers/Sales
It’s been said that a person is known by the company they keep; this saying is also true for the companies. B2B communication is dependent on the reputation of the partners. No one wants to have a partnership with companies with a toxic environment and a bad reputation.
While a positive culture will help you gain better recognition among other companies, a suboptimal environment will make it very difficult for you.
Small and large startups have experienced burnouts. The causes were not merely the traditional economic causes that startups face; instead, studies suggest that the causes were broad social, economic, and cultural.
Culture is certainly a dual-edged sword and can make or break your company. The best way to achieve a strong culture is by being intentional about the culture you want to create, measure it consistently, listen to your employees, and ensure that bits and pieces of your culture are infused into everyday programs and “splashes” during the employee lifecycle.
Want to learn more? I’d love to chat with you! Set up some time with me so we can work on a step-by-step roadmap with you!
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