Getting the Corporate Culture right

Published on 01-06-2017

The concept of a well-developed corporate culture becomes more and more important across all industries. Successful entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, founder of the online shop Zappos, believes that if you get the culture right, other things will take care of themselves. Most people would theoretically agree with this statement, however, how exactly is a company supposed to convert it into a practical approach?

Corporate Culture like a garden

Corporate Culture – Important but not urgent?

That corporate culture is highly relevant is indisputable. However, for many companies the concept still has a lower priority than, for instance, revenue, finances or customer relations. After all, isn’t there still enough time to think about a corporate culture once the numbers stack up?!
Online platform LinkedIn published a study about the „Global Recruiting trends 2017“, which suggested that about 80% of the participants think that successful employer branding has the biggest effect on the talent acquisition. In this particular case the primary focus is on the cultural values of an organisation because, nowadays, especially young talent would like to work for an employer they can identify with. That is why corporate culture should be anything but second-placed.

Corporate Culture is like a garden

Inevitably companies develop certain internal cultures. This can happen either consciously or unconsciously. In this case it is important to note that if a corporate culture is not actively managed it could quickly develop in the wrong direction. You could say it’s no different from the surprise a credit card statement or phone bill could give you. If you don’t keep an eye on it next month’s bill is going to be anything but pleasant. A corporate culture of course is on a much bigger scale and much harder to correct.
If we compare a corporate culture to a garden, it probably becomes clearer: In our gardens, we water and nurture the plants we would like to keep and do well. We weed and cut those we don’t like. Every now and then, you trim plants which have become too big or were growing in the wrong direction. But if you don’t put enough time and effort into a garden it is going to run wild. All this is also applies to the culture within a company.

Corporate Culture

Corporate Culture – What are the most essential points?

Tony Hsieh made this statement:

“If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself”.

In other words: If you create the correct culture, problems with customers, employees or partners are easier to solve or completely disappear.

To reach this point, however, developing the corporate culture must become a priority. The right culture can help resolve internal bureaucracy, support growth and create a more satisfying environment for both customers and employees. However, what exactly is a good corporate culture and what does it include?

There is no perfect list. Every culture is different and depends on the organisational structure, its founder, managers, employees and other factors. Hence why the following list contains only those key factors which should be part of every corporate culture:

  • Active and inspiring leadership
  • Effective, positive management
  • Shared values
  • Common aim / vision
  • Individual motivation
  • Communication on a daily basis
  • Dynamic and adaptable work atmosphere
  • Positive team dynamics

How do you develop a good corporate culture?
The following four points can help in the development or improvement of a corporate culture:

From top to bottom – it’s about Leadership
Collaboration throughout the organisation has an significant influence on a corporate culture. The leaders, however, should lead the way.

Defining the correct corporate culture
The behaviour of employees is strongly influenced by the internal culture. If you want to improve your company’s culture, you should, firstly, observe the behaviour of employees and investigate which qualities you would like to see more of and which less. Changes should also be actively communicated with employees and feedback tolerated. A successful change is reached if you influence the employee’s behaviour positively.

Culture takes its time
A corporate culture cannot be developed overnight and there are, unfortunately, no shortcuts or miracle solutions for a good and stable culture.

Ask for external help
It can make sense to request external help to improve your corporate culture. Not only do coaches or consultants bring many years of experience and/or a specialist skill set to the table but also offer a completely neutral position. Besides their theoretical knowledge being on offer, external experts can actively guide the company and employees through this process of change. Entering such a relationship may not always be easy, but in most cases definitively worth it.

This blog post was inspired by the article “If You Get The Culture Right, The Other Stuff Will Take Care of Itself“.

You can find more in-depth information about topics such as corporate culture, Cultural Fit and employer branding in our whitepapers or have a look at the other articles on our website. Please do fill out the form below to download our free Cultural Fit in Recruitment whitepaper.

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