Almost at a gut level, we know that a great work culture leads to increased company efficiency, productivity and employee satisfaction, though proving it is a little tricky. Inc Magazine’s web-based encyclopedia takes 12 paragraphs to define work culture, using difficult to measure terms like behavior, value and management flow. Creating a positive corporate culture, one that will draw the best employees, is organic, foundational and pervasive.
Culture as an Asset
Though you will most likely never see it on a balance sheet, researchers list corporate culture as a strategic asset that needs to be managed. As an asset, culture can generate revenue. As a strategic asset, it will create market shares for the company. If these two things are true, then corporate culture is the ultimate strategic asset, being rooted in the very blood of the organization. It starts at the top and flows downward and outward. If the culture of a company is not managed properly, it can change from an asset to a liability very easily.
Links to Productivity
An affirmative corporate culture is directly correlated to the productivity and financial sustainability of an organization. Specifically, it is integrity that is most valued in business culture, leading to increased financial performance. This can be seen in direct sales giant Amway. In reviews on Glassdoor, Amway’s healthy corporate culture is the thing that is most cited. In a company like Amway that is reliant on its employees and contractors, a positive perception of the culture leads directly to productivity and revenue. Other organizations with powerful brand cultures include Zappos and Ritz-Carlton hotels.
Leadership and Culture
Because of the organic nature of healthy corporate culture, it starts with the leadership. Vision, value and practices are all components of corporate culture and they are generated by the management. It is at this level that the intangible becomes practical. If you want to attract great employees, create a company that shares values with the employee demographic. Research into the Millennial Generation shows that they generally value meaningful work and the opportunity to collaborate. Implement policies within the organization that allow for important work and collaborative processes. People are different as are businesses. Hardwire your values into the company, so they are obvious to prospective employees.
Productivity and Retention
Meaningful work can be measured by the productivity of an organization. When there is a product created, the team members feel that something important has been accomplished. Research shows that there is a direct link between productivity of a company and its retention of skilled, high-level employees. Companies with a healthy corporate culture are more likely to implement new technologies, value continued education and promote appropriate work-life balance. These are all retention behaviors. Former Goldman Sach’s salesperson said that its corporate culture was the “secret sauce” that made the company great. Add the secret sauce of your making to keep your best employees.
Most business paradigms require some form of feedback and corporate culture is no exception. Scholars are just finding new measures for corporate culture. Most have a component that indicates consistency. Since culture is part of the foundation of the company, a healthy corporate culture has longevity. Policies and procedures around the culture should be consistent, using an objective measure that works for anyone using it, including the staff and the management.