Company Culture: It Matters

Posted on: March 25th, 2016 - Written by: Olivia Gregory

Company culture has often been a topic of debate: does it matter or not? Some may answer a resounding yes, while others may argue that it is a marginal issue, bested by other business considerations such as finances, development, and growth.

Here at INSite, though, we firmly believe that company culture does indeed matter. Why?

Company culture matters because people matter.

The belief that people matter is deeply rooted in INSite’s company mission and fuels everything we do. We agree with the words of J.W. Marriott, the innovator who founded Marriott International:

“If you take care of your employees they will take care of your customers and your business will take care of itself.”

But what exactly is company culture, anyway? Just a trendy term that doesn’t have much substance behind it? We don’t think so. Company culture defines a business organization at its very core.

Josh Bersin writes for Forbes.com:

“Culture is a big and somewhat vague term. Some define it as ‘what happens when nobody is looking.’

In reality, it’s much more complex. Culture is the set of behaviors, values, artifacts, reward systems, and rituals that make up your organization. You can ‘feel’ culture when you visit a company, because it is often evident in people’s behavior, enthusiasm, and the space itself.” (article)

Culture does matter, because people matter. But there’s another benefit to creating a positive company culture: it leads to better job performance, just like J.W. Marriott said. This is not rocket science, but it is backed by scientific studies. In fact, a study by Gallup indicated that companies who “try to improve employee engagement” seem to “outperform their competition.”

Company culture is an important part of a successful and profitable business. What steps can company leaders take to create this kind of positive culture? Here are nine things to consider:

  1. Office Space: Do you provide your employees with a comfortable, up-to-date office space? Regardless of your business location, investment can (and should) be made in the physical space to make it a great work environment for your employees.
  2. Benefits: Benefits (especially health benefits) are a hot issue right now. With all the changes in the health care laws—and possibly more to come—current and potential employees definitely have benefits (or lack thereof) on their radar screens. Make sure to offer quality coverage for those working for you.
  3. Team Composition: Who is on your team? Do they get along with one another? How can you align your employees according to skill sets and personalities? Attention to team composition can go a long way toward team harmony, which employees will benefit from and appreciate.
  4. Business Practices: Business integrity is extremely important to most employees. They watch how leadership handles criticism and crises. Your business practices, both those facing outward to the public and those carried out internally, can build a sense of trust with your employees or break it down.
  5. Giving Back: Today’s employees are often concerned about many social issues locally and globally. What can you do as a company to give back? Giving back collectively as an organization can build a sense of camaraderie, which positively affects professional teamwork as well!
  6. Fun: No one enjoys a constant work-only mentality. In fact, this is a sure way to burn out your employees very quickly. Make sure to plan fun outings for and with your employees. Creative endeavors thrive when regular breaks are included in the work schedule.
  7. Recognition: There are few things that will demoralize your employees more than lack of recognition. Companies that do not take the time and effort to recognize the contributions their employees make will not succeed in the long run—and may not even survive.
  8. Empathy: The ability to understand how someone else is feeling is a key skill for life, and empathy is equally important in the workplace as it is in personal life. Employers who are able to empathize with their employees regarding personal crises, professional obstacles, and other challenges will earn their employees’ loyalty.
  9. Professional Development: Do you expect your employees to continue to grow in their skills year after year? If so, what resources do you provide for them to do that? Professional development opportunities can encourage a positive company culture as employees are allowed to develop their skill sets.

Company culture matters, and we work very hard at INSite to maintain the kind of environment our employees want to be in each day. In speaking about the culture at INSite Business Solutions, Client Relations Specialist Day Dosch said, “INSite is a place where you don’t feel like a body in a cubicle. Our culture is sustained on personal recognition and an engaged management team that inspires employees to do better work every day. We give each other and our customers full transparency that translates into an authentic culture. And we love the free snacks!”

What tips do you have for developing a positive company culture? What has worked well for you? What needs to be improved? What one step can you take this month to create an environment that benefits your employees? They are taking note, and they matter.

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