Every company has a culture, a set of values and patterns of behavior. Many have not or cannot articulate what their culture is or what they would like it to be. The same is true for company values, what the current company values are and what values you believe the company should aspire to embody. A well-defined corporate culture creates unity among staff and loyalty to the company. But when the culture has significant negative aspects, this leads to a reverse cycle characterized by conflicted values, high attrition, and poor morale (DiRomualdo 2005). Thus, making the effort to delineate and execute a healthy corporate culture is essential in creating a company that is profitable, respected, and a desirable place to work.
Defining Your Corporate Culture can be explained as the way a company defines and captures what is important to ensure the organization’s success (Finklestein 2005). The key is “…to help [staff] expand the horizons of their awareness, and to facilitate them into taking responsibility for their own actions, behavior, and attitude, ” explains Larry Lipman, founder of Fun Team Building in Atlanta, GA. Your corporate culture should be precise enough that it helps guide employee behavior (Moneypenny 2004).
The first step is to define what corporate culture means for your company. Some factors are: how much to empower employees to make decisions, how open the business is to receiving input from others (i.e., employees, clients, and suppliers), what values to promote to your clients and staff, and what behaviors to require and reward in your employees (Finklestein 2005). These details will make up the core of your corporate culture philosophy.
In addition, there are three other areas to consider when outlining your corporate culture:
* Conflict Management – Establish ground rules for how disagreements among staff are handled. Addressing conflicts in a constructive manner, rather than avoiding them, maintains a culture of mutual respect and professionalism.
* Matching Responsibility to Competence – While it is acceptable to challenge employees, be cautious about overloading staff with responsibility. Proper levels of responsibility foster feelings of accomplishment (Sattler & Mullen 1996).
* Welcoming New Ideas – Resist the temptation to be content with the status quo. Encourage employees to brainstorm new ideas for systems, sales and marketing, and other activities.
Once you have fleshed out the details of your desired corporate culture, write it out clearly in a document that is available to all employees and reinforce your vision in company meetings. Your corporate culture should ultimately create a supportive environment that nurtures personal, professional, and organizational growth.