Just as culture is the fabric that holds society together, corporate culture lays the foundation of organizational development. The company culture informs the objectives of an organization and the strategies to use to achieve them. Additionally, it defines the external image portrayed by a corporation.
Prof. James L. Heskett’s work on company culture stresses its importance. In his book, The Culture Cycle, he opines that business cultures account for about 30% of corporate performance differences. Moreover, he asserts that cultures develop with or without conscious effort. Therefore, it is only fair that businesses understand what culture is, its characteristics, and how to improve it, especially using digital signage solutions.
Definition of The Corporate Culture
The first step in developing the required culture is understanding what organizational culture is all about.
By definition, organizational culture is the sum of values, beliefs, and behaviors that defines an organization and its members. It is a norm that manages how the employees of an enterprise interact with each other and stakeholders.
In most cases, the organizational culture does not exist on paper. Instead, new employees learn it from the existing staff. They then pass it to incoming personnel.
Once an organization establishes its culture, modifying it may be a herculean task. Ethos conscious company founders prefer establishing a favorable company culture during the start-up stage. One such notable example is Scott Cook, who penned an employee handbook in the initial stages of creating the Intuit company.
Six Characteristics of The Corporate Culture
The characteristics of organizational culture are essentially the features that describe it. Since cultures are varied, there arises a need to set specific attributes that define the great ones. Typical enterprise culture has six properties:
Vision and mission statements are significant characteristics of organizational culture as they are its foundation. A mission defines what a company does every day, while the vision tells what the business aspires to achieve. The tools of corporate communication, such as office digital signage, aid in the internal declaration of a company’s vision and mission.
The vision a business adopts directly shapes its culture. Employees make work decisions with their company’s aspirations in mind. For example, if a company’s vision is to be an industry leader, it can foster a competitive culture. Healthy competition helps normalize employees outdoing each other and presenting ideal innovative solutions not found anywhere else. Such a culture would contribute to making the company a step closer to its vision.
Values define the attitude and behavior that employees need to adopt to achieve the company’s vision. Without exaggeration, codes are the guidelines that create a business culture.
Most companies use simple, concise words to outline their values. Such terms may include integrity, professionalism, customer care, etc. Tools such as office digital signage can help keep a company’s values fresh on employee minds by displaying an enterprise’s guiding principles.
Practices breathe life into values. Whatever a company sets as the guiding principles, it must act to show its commitment. In short, the company should practice what it preaches.
The vision and values lay the foundation of organizational culture, but practices are the actual culture. If a company adopts customer satisfaction as one of its core values, its customer service should be top-notch. Without action to back them up, ethics may not yield a distinctive culture.
People are the agents that put practices into action. It is the people that build the culture. Consequently, it is nearly impossible to characterize an organizational culture and not mention the people who actualize it.
Since business cultures do not exist on paper, people serve as the medium on which culture lives. They also are the teachers that pass on philosophies to newer generations of employees. Therefore, companies should dedicate enough resources to hiring the right people to maintain and improve their culture.
As the word suggests, the narrative characteristic is a story about the company. Corporations have unique histories that shape how its members make decisions. Events such as that of Jeff Bezos packaging books for clients while kneeling on the floor go a long way to infuse customer care in Amazon’s culture.
The location of an organization is an essential determinant of its culture. Looking at how firms decide to establish their headquarters, you can note that place is a significant organizational culture characteristic.
Technology companies, for example, cluster in Silicon Valley to foster a culture of openness. Similarly, financial firms desiring to adopt a culture of discipline and punctuality may find London their ideal official place of business.
Signs of A Great Corporate Culture
Great business cultures speak for themselves. Several indicators show how good culture is and what areas might need perfecting. A company should consider its culture great after observing:
Low Employee Turnover
Employees that fit in a company’s culture are 30% less likely to leave a firm. Unquestionably, staff members would not prefer to depart from workplaces that they love. Therefore, companies with low employee turnover might consider their culture to be great.
Referrals stand to be among the cheapest and quickest ways to bring new employees on board. Since most employees refer their acquaintances to help, it is prudent to assume that they would not direct them to a company with an unremarkable culture. Quality referrals are an indication of a healthy business culture.
From time to time, a company’s management may introduce new policies to help achieve fresh objectives. If the workforce rebels against the guidelines, it indicates the lousy shape of the firm’s culture. However, open, constructive criticism shows a great culture.
Achievement of Objectives
If a company consciously hits its targets, whether short term or long term, it may prove positive business culture. However, inferior cultures that exploit employees may help achieve financial objectives. Therefore, this sign is not conclusive.
Employees should have the opportunity to speak their minds freely. However, numerous politics revolving around favoritism, unfairness, and bad-mouthing are indicators of an unhealthy culture. Minimal politics, on the other hand, show a remarkable culture.
How to Build A Successful Corporate Culture (And How Digital Signage Is Important in The Process)
While culture is difficult to define accurately, it is even more problematic to build. However, businesses can take lessons from companies that have successfully created positive cultures. Additionally, they can incorporate modern, helpful tools such as office digital signage to ease the process. The guidelines for building a healthy organizational culture are:
Give the Business Purpose
The first step towards creating a healthy culture is giving the company a meaning. Employees crave a reason to work in your company. Whatever you decide, let it be authentic so that it is easy to believe. Simple statements such as Coca-Cola’s “refresh the mind, body, and spirit” are great ideas.
After clarifying the company’s purpose, you may employ digital signage to spread the message throughout the organization.
Articulate the Company’s Vision
Setting organizational goals is the second most crucial step in building a healthy business culture. Employees need to know what they are working to achieve. Additionally, goals guide employees’ decisions, which is a chief part of creating the culture.
The third vital guideline when building a business culture is letting employees in on your plans. For a strong culture to develop, employees must feel that the management is listening to them.
Digital signage solutions help in getting employees involved in building a sound culture. A company can use them as tools of corporate communication and urge staff members to voice their opinions. Successful call-to-actions are especially useful when collaborating with employees to create and improve the business culture.
Hire the Right People
Building great business cultures is highly dependent upon people. It would help you worked with people who believe in what the company is doing and are confident that it is achievable. Every business must model its hiring strategy to attract the right people and actualize its culture.
Creating great organizational cultures is a function of both the management and the employees. With a healthy culture, organizations stand to reap the multiple benefits of an energized, productive workforce and a positive public image.
But building a healthy business culture is no easy feat. Organizations must commit themselves to change for the better. However, they can leverage the benefits presented by digital signage solutions to ease creating a positive culture.