Every organization has a culture. Some are more positive than others. Zappos has become almost as well known for its corporate culture as for the shoes it sells online. Introduction to Zappos starts with a cultural fit interview, which carries half the weight of whether the candidate is hired. New employees are offered $2000 to quit after the first week of training if they decide the job isn’t right for them. Ten core values are instilled in every team member. Raises are granted based on skills tests not on office politics. And Southwest Airlines bucks the image of an airline with grumpy employees and poor customer service. Southwest communicates its goals and vision to employees and gives them permission to go the extra mile to make customers happy. Even gangs have cultures that, while positive to some of their members, are considered to be negative by society.
Your company has a culture too. Is it positive or negative? But first, let’s start with a definition. Corporate culture is defined as the values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization. Culture influences the way we think, what we do, how we work, and what is acceptable in the company environment. Some of the factors involved in building, assessing, and understanding culture are as follows:
- Beliefs, stories, and experiences: When a new hire begins, what are the stories he or she is told about the organization? Who are the company heroes and what have they accomplished? Can these behaviors be emulated by others?
- Goals, norms, and history: “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else!” Surveys show that the overwhelming majority of employees are clueless about their overall company goals. While it’s true that most know they should do a good job, many are unclear about the specifics and the nuances. Sure, the goal of the Ford Motor Company is to make cars, the local restaurant to make good food, and the accounting company to prepare your tax returns. But how well? And what about customer service?
- Symbols, values, rituals: Symbols tell visitors and employees something about the organization. These symbols can be as concrete as a name and as abstract as cleanliness, high tech, modernity, or quality. Something as simple as names on cubicles says the company believes that people are important. A sparkling floor says that the company takes pride in its appearance and providing a clean environment for workers.
Managing and strengthening culture is an ongoing process. You’ll both empower employees to make their voices heard and inform your culture’s plan of action. But 64% of organizations only measure employee engagement annually, while nearly one in five employees report that their companies don’t formally measure engagement at all.
Want to better understand your company’s culture and enhance employee engagement? The Lindenberger Group is here for the journey. Our tools help you continuously understand and create your culture. And our team is available for support every step of the way. Contact us today at 609-730-1049 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.