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What is company culture? Here’s how it’ll boost productivity

What is company culture? Here’s how it’ll boost productivity

By: David McDermott
What is company culture

You may hear talk of “company culture” doing the rounds in business circles, where it’s announced in hushed whispers as something special indeed.

And that’s because it is! It’s a very handy way for your business to take ownership of employees and promote a welcoming, friendly, harmonious workplace for everyone.

The ideal balancing act is between diversity, inclusivity, awards and recognition (think the likes of business gift cards for staff), and greater levels of productivity.

And the good news is we’re on hand to provide excellent tips on how to reap the benefits of a positive working environment. Let’s start with the basics!

What is company culture?

It’s where your business standards and values make up, essentially, the personality of your brand. In other words, it’s a combination of:

  • Attitudes
  • Shared values
  • Behaviours
  • Expectations

Basically, what makes your business you based on the ethics of your workplace. With a positive company culture you’ll offer:

  • Diversity and inclusivity
  • Collaboration across departments
  • Rewards and recognition
  • Professional development
  • Business transparency

With a bad company culture that’d be the exact opposite, with members of staff unhappy and lacking motivation. Workplace stress may be high, wages low, and morale non-existent.

That problem with a poor outlook like that is it can lead to employees leaving the business, negative PR (such as poor Glassdoor reviews), loss of money, and little productivity. In other words, nobody wins!

The types of corporate ethos

There are a few examples your business may want to adopt. It really depends on how you want to run the show. But the four types are:

  1. Adhocracy: This is a creative approach that aims for risk-taking and the very best talent. It promotes independence between employees and a strong sense of ownership.
  2. Clan: A very people-focussed environment. Communication is essential and with this you’re looking to open up your workplace to an ultra-collaborative approach.
  3. Hierarchy: Leadership rules all here. You’ll have strong processes in place and a corporate chain of command is your mission statement.
  4. Market: A results-driven environment. This is where your success as a business is celebrated, but job satisfaction isn’t as important (this approach doesn’t tend to be as popular with employees, of course).

The type you take depends on what you want to achieve. If it’s happy and engaged employees, then one of the first three are proven winners.

In fact, some businesses use a four Cs approach to unlock their full potential:

  1. Communication
  2. Collaboration
  3. Creativity
  4. Competence

A lot of businesses these days lean towards a sense of teamwork, transparency, and working together for the greater good, so that’s a great foundation to aim for.

How to create your company culture from the ground up

If you’re looking to reinvigorate the atmosphere in your business, then you can start afresh with an overhaul. Here’s how to go about just that:

  • Defining your values: Have a meeting about this to define your leadership style, what you want from your culture, and how to use your strategy. For example, you may want a culture that’s about inclusivity, sustainability, and business transparency.
  • Set some realistic goals: Be realistic, of course, you can’t have everything. Work out what you can do with your budget and mission statement as a business.
  • Get employee feedback: You can hold 1-1s or send out an employee survey. This way you’ll get notes directly from employees about what they’d like to see.
  • Develop your plan: It’s good business practice to get your plan added to your company handbook. Set out a clear policy and list your values. That’s very handy for the recruitment process, so you can make sure your candidates’ attitudes match yours.

You’ll need to analyse your business as part of all this. Speak to your managers, look to merge your leadership goals with what staff want, and consider popular strategies from across your industry.

Starter and exit interviews can also be used with your employees. That way you can get a solid insight into why staff are joining, or leaving, your business.

It all goes some way to crafting your ideal culture for everyone to benefit from.

Why is company culture important?

It’s essential because it can help grow a positive, happy, and productive workplace. With a strong focus on positive ethics, your business will have:

  • Healthy finances
  • Higher staff retention rates
  • More productivity
  • Stronger brand image

If you’re doing a bang-up job with your work-life balance, for example, staff members do talk about that. Word of mouth spreads, other talented professionals hear about that, and you get top talent coming to (and staying with) your business.

And overall, you can get higher employee loyalty if you use the right approach. In the long-term, that can save you lots of budget instead of having to constantly hire replacements.

It’s also super important because you respect individual rights.

In the UK, there’s The Equality Act 2010 and nine protected characteristics to keep in mind. These are:

  1. Age
  2. Disability
  3. Gender reassignment
  4. Marriage and civil partnership
  5. Pregnancy and maternity
  6. Race
  7. Religion or belief
  8. Sex
  9. Sexual orientation

You can use your culture to promote diversity and inclusion, this way you’ll make sure you’ve got a welcoming atmosphere for people of all backgrounds.

Great company cultures that lead by example

Some businesses have realised the culture of a company is essential to their long-term success. Some excellent examples include:

  • Google: The search engine giant is famous for its trend-setting workplace, with a big emphasis on collaboration and plenty of space for colleagues to mingle in fun, vibrant offices.
  • Microsoft: The tech giant is famous for its ultra-collaborative workplace where everyone has a say in the success story.
  • HubSpot: The software specialist excels at offering a welcoming and collaborative workspace where everyone gets on and aims towards the best possible product.
  • Gravity Payments: Co-founder Dan Price maintains a high starting wage and work-where-you-please policy. The result? A thriving business and happy employees who don’t want to leave.
  • GitLab: Understands its employee needs, letting staff enjoy a remote-first policy so they can knuckle down and focus on their tasks.

So, you should be looking for an atmospheric and fun workplace that welcomes one and all. Offer great benefits and perks, with flexible working opportunities and a big emphasis on working together as a team.

That all helps to promote strong teamwork, productivity, and a work-life balance that matches a lot of diverse needs.

How to improve your company culture

If you’re looking to shake up how you run your business, there are many tactics you can use. These include:

  • Hiring the right talent: During your recruitment process, look for candidates who match your company culture in terms of skills and personality. The right temperament alongside your other employees makes for a productive workplace.
  • Getting employee feedback: Holding regular 1-1 sessions between managers and staff is a great way to get feedback. You can use these to see how staff find working for you and make any necessary adjustments from there.
  • Match your competitors: Gain an understanding of how your competitors work best and look to match, or better, what they’re doing. This way you can offer a stronger recruitment offer to top talent.
  • Fix a broken system: Be honest with yourself and fix whatever isn’t working in your business, this way you can address any basic issues staff have.
  • Lead by example: Put your leadership skills to great effect and lead by example! Encourage teamwork, be welcome to feedback, and offer transparent business updates to show to staff they’re welcome at work.
  • Promote a strong work-life balance: This is a big one. Supporting staff with flexible working is a great element to any organisation. That may be flexible start/finish times or a hybrid-first working mode. It lets staff understand their private lives are catered for by your business.
  • Reward your employees: Rewards and recognition! That might be an employee of the month award, quarterly bonuses, annual salary reviews, or birthday gifts. You can tailor these to match your business, but you can guarantee they’ll be appreciated by your employees.

You can think outside the box as well, with a focus on your business and what you offer to your members of staff. Innovation is always a good idea!

But don’t forget to clearly communicate your benefits package to staff. That’s a mistake some businesses make! Having great perks, but not telling their employees about them. Instead, make sure you send out company-wide emails flagging up how awesome your culture is and what’s on offer.

Ultimately, keep in mind it’s all for the success of your business. Happy and engaged employees are what drive your success forward.

The benefits of a strong workplace culture

To close things out, we’ll round up a big list of reasons why the effort is worth it. Businesses with strong cultures can expect all sorts of long-term advantages. And in an ultra-competitive corporate world, you need every advantage you can get.

Positive cultures can reward you with:

  • Higher employee retention as employees feel welcome and involved in your business
  • Higher employee engagement through your incentivisation
  • More productivity as employees enjoy working for you
  • Hiring the right people to flesh out your teams
  • Improve department performance
  • Diversity across your workforce, which brings new ideas and opportunities
  • The mindset of growth, which can help keep your business competitive
  • Continuous employee development
  • Staff who get on with each other!
  • Smoother recruitment processes
  • Better chance of new starters working out
  • Deeper understanding of any business problems, which you can then address
  • Clear business mission
  • Higher revenue in the long run

In other words, it’s a very good thing indeed for your business! You really don’t want to miss out on this opportunity, so now is the time to consider how you can energise your workforce.

Use business gift cards to supercharge your company culture

One of the most popular gifts for employees? Gift cards! You can match these with the interests of staff and they’re always greatly appreciated.

With a Love2Shop gift card, for example, they’d get to spend at over 99 UK High Street brands. That includes at Amazon, ASOS, Argos, M&S, Uber Eats, and many more.

It’s a very effective way to show an employee they’re appreciate. So why wait? Order one now and let them get shopping!

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