Culture within a business is hugely important not only in defining the ‘personality’ of an organisation, but also in shaping the way this business operates, the decisions that are made and the way it interacts with the world.
As such, it’s essential to ensure you have a strong culture and clear values.
Keep reading to find out how to develop these for your own business.
What is corporate culture?
Corporate culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, behaviours, and attitudes that characterise an organisation and guide the interactions and decisions of its employees at all levels.
It can be viewed as the personality of an organisation and encompasses its mission, vision, goals, policies, and practices. Often these can be defined by your business in a mission statement accompanied by clear values, set out by your leadership team.
Corporate culture can have a significant impact on employee satisfaction, productivity, and organisational performance. A strong corporate culture can attract and retain talented employees, foster innovation, and create a positive working environment – all things we want to see from a thriving business.
Conversely, a negative corporate culture can lead to high turnover, low morale, and poor performance. And, of course, all of this can reflect in your profit and loss margins.
How to establish a strong corporate culture
As the stakes are so high when it comes to employee satisfaction and performance, it’s important for any business to know the best and most effective ways to implement corporate culture.
As such we’ve outlined some steps you should take when embedding a culture in your team:
- Define your mission, vision, and values: Clearly define your organisation’s purpose, long-term goals, and values. This will give your employees a sense of direction and a shared sense of purpose. With values, aim to keep your employees and your customers in mind, and ensure your values align with them and their needs too.
- Lead by example: Leaders and managers should model the desired behaviours and values that are important to your business. This will help to reinforce your culture and create a positive work environment.
- Encourage open communication: Encourage open and honest communication throughout the organisation, from top to bottom. This can include regular feedback sessions, employee surveys, and town hall meetings. Transparency between all levels will help to create a culture of trust and engagement. Which brings us nicely onto our next point…
- Foster employee engagement: Encourage employee engagement by providing opportunities for professional development, recognising and rewarding performance, and promoting a healthy work-life balance. It’s important to check in regularly with your staff to ensure they are happy at work, and identify any areas of potential improvement.
- Create a sense of community: Foster a sense of community by promoting team-building activities, social events, and volunteering opportunities. This will help to create a supportive and collaborative work environment, and improve work satisfaction for employees too.
- Focus on diversity and inclusion: Create a culture that values diversity and inclusion. This means promoting a workplace that is free from discrimination, respecting individual differences, and creating an environment where everyone feels included and valued.
All of these points work together to help develop a positive, welcoming culture for your employees. And, but taking every opportunity to create this type of working environment, you are promoting staff satisfaction, productivity and retention too.
Start by assessing your current situation, potentially with the help of some staff engagement, and use this information to influence which step you need to take next to further promote a strong corporate culture in your business.
How to develop organisational values
As we’ve established above, it’s important to have a clear set of values to contribute towards a strong corporate culture, and create a workplace when people feel welcome, valued and listened to.
Values really are the foundation of a good corporate culture and can influence decision making at all levels. As such, we’ve outlined the steps you need to develop your own values.
- Identify the core values: Start by identifying the core values that are most important to your organisation. These values should reflect what your organisation stands for. Examples of core values include integrity, accountability, teamwork, and innovation.
- Involve key stakeholders: Involve key stakeholders, such as employees, customers, and partners, in the development of your values. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or other forms of feedback, but either way, it’s incredibly important to consider who might need to have a say in your values.
- Prioritise the values: Once you have identified your core values, prioritise them based on their importance to your organisation, and your stakeholders. This will help you to focus on the values that are most critical to success.
- Define the values: Write up each value in clear and concise terms that are easy to understand. This will ensure that everyone in the organisation understands what the values mean and how they should be applied.
- Communicate the values: Communicate the values to all employees and stakeholders in the organisation. This can be done through employee training, the development of a code of conduct, or via general communication channels like staff newsletters and meetings.
- Live the values: Ensure that the values are integrated into all aspects of the organisation, including its policies, practices, and decision-making processes. Leaders and managers in particular should model the behaviours and values, and employees should be recognised and rewarded for living the values.
- Review and update the values: Regularly review and update the values to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with the organisation’s mission and vision.
By following these steps, an organisation can develop a set of values that guide its actions and decision-making processes, promote a positive corporate culture, and ultimately contribute to its success.