In today’s environment, in order to be successful in the job market, companies need to have a strong and healthy corporate culture within them. Employees are now becoming more and more aware of their own personal needs and they want to feel like they belong in the company. Moreover, employers must be aware of how to attract the best candidates for their companies and how to retain their old ones. Competitive pay and benefits, although extremely important, can only take you so far. Nowadays it is more about the work environment itself that is considered by the many people to be the deciding factor of working in a company.
So how do we make an environment suitable and enjoyable for a person? Not merely by adding a sports area, a gym, or free food. Because it is important to note that a good corporate environment doesn’t necessarily mean a fun and jolly environment. Although a light, relaxed atmosphere allows people to get comfortable quickly, there must also be some values and beliefs to which the company remains firmly committed to which define the work environment. These values will help build trust and integrity among colleagues and will also increase productivity as people would feel more comfortable to express and be themselves. Employees would be more willing to share their ideas and contribute for the company.
It is important for companies to not only understand that a strong corporate culture is important but also know how to create one. How would you exactly define a culture? Different companies have different cultures according to their own values and there are a lot of factors to be considered which form a corporate culture. However, the core values remain the same. A company would want a culture where there is a high standard of beliefs, values and attitudes in order for an individual or even a team to perform well. These values must reflect the core foundations of what the company was based on. Furthermore, strong corporate cultures will not only define the internal environment of a company but it also affects the customers too. A good culture is more likely to make a memorable and lasting impression on a customer and he/she is more likely to remain loyal to the company.
Previously, businesses operated by focusing on themselves. Their entire methodology was based on getting profits. In these times, the focus has shifted towards the customers. Now, it is more about satisfying the people and meeting their needs. Because, it is people who run the business in the end.
A corporate culture will differ from one company to another but there are certain salient features which are usually shared by all of them which are given below
Values are what makes the company. Values determine how a corporate environment should be and what behaviors and attitudes should be promoted or discouraged. These values, if acted upon firmly and properly, will ultimately lead the company to achieve its mission and vision. Often companies will target their focus on simple values like, employees or customers. But it is important to note that while there may be same values in different companies, the one which is better committed to them will be more successful. Its not mainly about the originality in coming up with values but it’s about how genuine a company is.
Transparency is a crucial factor in determining a corporate culture. Employees should feel themselves that they are an integral part of the company and they are valued. That way, they will be more open and more relaxed in the company and are more likely to engage in discussions and share ideas.
Transparency allows for an open and friendly environment. Usually in many companies, employees do have some brilliant ideas but they are hesitant to speak up.
- PHYSICAL SPACE:
An individual’s physical space is extremely important to him or her. Our culture favors conversations and discussion being forced upon the employees and active participation is made mandatory. People have to deliberately step outside their personal space to engage with others. Obviously some people don’t consider this as an issue but there are many others who do. If a task can be completed perfectly by a single employee, there is no need to bring five others to collaborate with each other.
It is extremely important for a company to recognize the individual personality of an employee and allow him to be more comfortable in his own environment. This would ensure a higher productivity and efficiency from the employees too.
- ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN:
By organizational design, we mean the whole formalities, structural hierarchy and the processes which happen in the company day by day. These may include various policies, performance evaluation, communication processes and whatnot. It can even include the way meetings are held. Are meetings held on a weekly basis to discuss the same subject again and again or are they only reserved for the truly important matters?
Empowerment and freedom are interconnected. The more freedom a company allows for its employees, the more likely are the employees able to come up with creative solutions and effective brainstorming. Employees would feel more comfortable in managing and executing tasks and they are more likely to feel that they are actually a part of the organization. Often, there are strict guidelines which are rigidly enforced by the company’s management. While this is itself not a bad thing as it ensures proper formalities are observed, it can often limit an employee who may have a better solution and perhaps a better technique to perform an given task. This might result in a decrease in the employee’s general motivation and performance.
- MANAGEMENT SUPPORT:
The upper management has to define the corporate culture. When the management is supportive of the employees, the employees will, in turn, be appreciative of the management. This increases the retention rate of the company since the employees are aware that they are being respected and supported in their work environment and it also brings top quality candidates for employees. Support from the management can be either in allowing greater freedom, encouraging new ideas or just being supportive in case a challenging situation arises.
If a company’s isn’t dependable on its promises, it will soon lose its position. Everyone needs security and trust, whether it is the customer, employee, vendor or any other stakeholder. Dependability comes when a company is consistent in its ability to deliver quality goods and services on time and also exhibit positive values when engaging with the outside world. Doubtless it will give the company an overall improvement in the market, in terms of customer loyalty, market share, brand image and other factors.
Place is an underrated but nevertheless an important factor in determining corporate culture. The whole architectural design of the office, the décor, the placement, they all add up to making a corporate culture. Consider Pixar. Pixar has a huge open atrium where people mingle and interact with each other casually. Silicon Valley is famous for its high tech firms. London and New York are heavily concentrated with financial firms. There might be subtle characteristics of places and cultures which affect the whole work environment.