I love Oprah. Love her! I especially love her "What I Know For Sure" column in O Magazine, which has now been adopted into a book. There's something so lovely about bite sized pieces of knowledge that are majorly inspiring or eyeopening.
In the spirit of Oprah, I decided today would be the perfect time to share five things I know for sure when it comes to company culture.
1. Company culture is the beliefs, understandings, and habits that drive how work gets done at an organization. Company culture is not the act of purchasing a ping pong table or hosting monthly happy hours - those are perks. Company culture is the ecosystem in which work is accomplished at your company. Take for example your company's communication habits. Some companies prioritize transparency across their entire team, while others prefer to keep certain things confidential to only the c-suite. Neither is right or wrong, but both are reflections of your company culture.
2. Company culture is influenced by the values and beliefs that a company acts on, whether they're intentional or not. Every company has a culture. Period. It doesn't matter whether you've put thought into it or have never given it consideration - it exists. As the popularity of company culture has grown, it's become more and more common for companies to define their beliefs and values, in an attempt to control and shape their desired destiny. While the activity itself has value, it's how the visions are brought to life that really impacts change. At the end of the day, your actions speak louder than your words. Companies who really live their values are clear and comfortable enough to use them as a baseline for hiring and firing.
3. Company culture impacts and is entwined with employee experience, which directly impacts productivity and retention. No where is company culture more tangibly evident than employee experience, or how your team members experience their day to day lives within your organization. Studies have shown that happy employees are more productive employees. Happy employees stay with the company, even through hard times. Happy employees have a positive impact on your bottom line, while unhappy employees quickly become a drain on resources. Which camp would you like your employees to live in?
4. Company culture is never static, it's ever evolving whether that evolution is intentional or circumstantial. Company culture is not a set it and forget it situation. It's an ever changing and evolving presence that needs thought, care, and consideration. You can either choose to be intentional and nurturing or leave it up to chance, but either way it's an inevitable force that impacts every business.
5. Company culture matters. I'm more convinced than ever that company culture really, truly matters to the success of businesses. It's not a marketing ploy or a concept only to be explored by more progressive organizations. A strong, well defined company culture is an advantage that can make - or without it, subsequently break - businesses. As David Cummings, co-founder of Pardot, once said, "Culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur." Are you ready to embrace it?
So there you have it. Five things I know for sure about company culture.
What do you know for sure?