Culture is everywhere, and we don’t even realize it. Ask the layperson to describe a culture and you’re likely to get a response about national culture. For instance, we all know the phrase as American as apple pie. Regions, states, even local communities have their own unique cultural aspects: certain foods, or a twang in the way they speak. However, there is one area in which culture is often an afterthought, or maybe even overlooked entirely: the workplace.
Company culture is of paramount importance for a myriad of reasons, possibly the most important being employee morale. Nobody wants to work for an organization that is difficult to work at, or feels like the life force is being sucked out of them. Does a company always demand that your employees put in more hours no matter how many they work? Wonder why you have a high turnover rate? In this case, question two could easily answer question one.
According to Fast Company, “[Company culture is] one of the most important drivers that has to be set or adjusted to push long-term, sustainable success.”
Being an enjoyable place to work will not only get more out of employees in the long run—happy employees are productive employees, after all—but it will also attract better talent. Believe it or not, the culture of your company gets around to others in the industry. While a company can use a good culture as a lucrative recruiting tool, a bad cultural reputation may make qualified people seek employment elsewhere if it’s viewed as too toxic an environment. The importance of this can’t be understated. For many, work is where they spend the majority of their waking hours; they want those hours to be as pleasant as possible.
As previously mentioned, happy employees are more productive, contributing increases to the bottom line. Employees who are happy with the cultural aspects of their organization will be more willing to stay late when needed, less likely to complain, less likely to file grievances and there will be probably be fewer flare-ups between employees. All management is aware of the time and financial cost that it takes to replace employees that leave. Having a positive culture that employees want to be a part of will save money in the long run.
Jerome Dodson, manager of the Parnassus fund agrees in an article by USA Today: “When you have reduced employee turnover, it makes a huge difference in earnings. We don’t need as many people, we don’t have to hire headhunters, we’re not continually retraining people.”
At the end of the day, the company culture matters. It has an effect on every aspect of your business: its processes and, ultimately, your customers. Pinpointing trouble areas and improving them is key to a business; its survival may even depend upon it.
I’ll let you guess what type of culture re:group has. ;)