The business world is one that’s full of buzzwords and jargon. Often, a phrase that sounds complicated is actually deceptively simple. Perhaps we all assume that commerce has to be daunting and intimidating. Maybe those who come up with labels want them to sound grander than they are.
Either way, it’s often more straightforward to get your head around such terms than you’d expect. Corporate culture is a prime example. It seems like a grandiose and tough to grasp concept. In fact, it’s nothing of the sort. If you don’t believe that, just read on.
Corporate culture is a summation of what any company is all about. The phrase encompasses a brand’s goals, values, standards, and beliefs. It also covers who typically works for the company. As well as the conditions or environment in which they work.
In essence, corporate culture is the description of what a firm is like to work for. If you ask a friend what their employer is all about, they’ll describe the business’s corporate culture. A good ‘About Us’ page on a website, meanwhile, will also cover the same ground.
If you want to get a handle on your own corporate culture, consider some of the following:
Who are your employees, and what do they have in common?
What behaviors and attitudes get praised or condemned at your organization?
How do you engage with other businesses, your customers, and the community at large?
Who’s most likely to get hired for high-level positions at your business?
As you’ve probably realized, there are many different elements of corporate culture. All the following play a part:
A brand’s overarching mission does much to define corporate culture. As do the goals the business sets to achieve that mission. The cynical among you might well say ‘isn’t every firm’s mission to make more money?’. It’s a fair point, but one that also aids in understanding corporate culture.
Some brands will value the bottom line above all else. Other companies, though, will have a mission to achieve sustainability. Or to genuinely improve the lives of their customers. The businesses exhibit distinct corporate cultures.
A company’s values are also integral to corporate culture. In this context, values mean what firms place most importance upon. For instance, businesses may count any of the following as central to their existence:
Speed of service
Perhaps one of the most crucial elements of corporate culture is a firm’s workforce. That’s both in terms of who it employs and how it treats its workers. Savvy firms hire with culture in mind. That way, their workforce will always embody the correct values.
Those same companies also often devote time and attention to employee wellbeing. They might promote team-building or send staff on personal development courses online.
To build and maintain a robust corporate culture, too, you’ll want to listen to your workers. Answers to employee engagement survey questions can give insights into how to improve your firm. That’s both in terms of efficiency and inclusivity.
The environment in which staff work is also reflective of corporate culture. Set up your office or factory like a sweatshop, and it sends a clear message. It shows you’re about efficiency at all costs and care little for your workers. That’s not a good look.
Tech brands like Google, meanwhile, promote employee enrichment and engagement. They display their commitment to creativity in that way. In the age of virtual teams, tech plays a big part in establishing a healthy work environment, too. If you want to encourage a culture of collaboration, you need to give your remote workers the tools to communicate at a distance.
Actions speak louder than words. That’s as true in business as other walks of life. How a brand acts, therefore, also contributes to corporate culture. What’s essential is that actions line up with the values a firm espouses.
For instance, a telehealth business may state that its prime motivation is to aid rural communities' healthcare. As such, they might run online telemedicine courses for free, for countryside doctors. That’s an action that shows they value what their service can do for users above what it can gain financially.
When you first hear ‘corporate culture’, it may seem like you need a degree in business to understand what it’s about. Hopefully, you know now that that’s not the case. Corporate culture is a vital but straightforward concept. It’s what drives a business, what it believes in, and what it values. As such, culture gets revealed both by what a firm says and how it acts.