Why organistional culture is important
Organisational culture – more than just a business buzzword
Every organisation has a culture. It’s the system of shared assumptions, values and beliefs that influence how people behave in an organisation.
When a business has a great culture, people want to work there, existing staff want to stay there, customers want to spend their money there and, as a result, the business’s performance is strong. It’s win-win for everyone.
However, if the negative culture is toxic to a business – staff performance will be affected (e.g. punctuality and attitude), the customer experience will suffer, productivity will slip and profit will follow. All this spells disaster for any business, which is why organisational culture is more than a just a business buzzword – it really matters.
Organisational culture underpins:
- the way staff, customers and the environment are treated
- how people dress and behave
- what the physical environment looks like (e.g. the work spaces and décor)
- how decisions are made
- the working style of staff and the leadership style of managers
- how performance is reviewed and measured
- how achievements are celebrated
- how people feel when they connect with the organisation.
Organisational culture impacts:
- productivity and performance
- health and safety of staff and customers
- staff recruitment and retention
- cash flow and the bottom line.
Why is it important?
Culture defines your brand
Your organisational culture strongly influences your brand, which is your business’s internal and external identity. If customers and staff indentify with your brand, your business will grow.
Culture helps attract and retain staff
Most of us spend a large portion of our waking hours at work, so we want to enjoy it. We want to feel valued and that we are adding value. A good organisational culture will support this.
Culture breeds champions
If your staff believe in your business, say hello to free advertising. Your staff will become your biggest champions, and that’s worth much more than a full page ad in your local paper.
Culture increases performance
A good organisational culture means processes and people will work better. When people are engaged and well supported, and they share the same values, they will work much better as a team.
How can you create a great organisational culture?
As we’ve said, every organisation has a culture – some better than others. The thing about culture is that it grows and develops all on its own. The good thing is, it can be nudged in the right direction and the best way to do this is to focus on leadership behaviours and role modeling of values. Culture is strongly shaped from the top down.
We are all different and we all thrive in different environments. Some people value the freedom to be creative, whereas others like to follow procedure. Some people love working in a fun environment, whereas others like to keep their head down.
That’s why recruiting for organisational culture fit is extremely important. Generally speaking, most people don’t change their values easily – and they are not likely to do so to fit into a business. So when you are looking for new staff, try to look past skills and experience, and consider, how would this person fit into the team and do they share the same values?
Finally, you will be fighting a losing battle if you try to create an organisational culture that is not authentic. As the business owner or leader, you will need to live and breathe the values you are trying to instill. Get it right and everyone will profit.
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