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The Importance of Company Culture


I decided to stop chasing money, and start chasing the passion" Tony Hsieh, Former CEO Zappos

There is a lot of talk about company culture, but what does it actually mean and why is it important to both the company and its employees?

A company culture is made up of shared rules governing cognitive and affective aspects of membership in an organization, and the means of which they are shaped and expressed.

A company's culture is able to identify, instill and influence:

  • Shared Meanings: These are assumptions, norms and values that impact work behavior. These can range from dress code and conduct to extracurricular activities.

  • Behavior: Internal presentations, messages and company structure impact professional behaviors and patterns. The way a company presents and brands itself internally, as well as externally, and implements its values drives how employees conduct themselves.

  • Practices & Policies: Formal rules of conduct including but not limited to informal means of communication, stories (why the culture exists based on past experience), and architecture (how ones office space looks and feels, does it match the company's values).

  • Inclusion & Membership: Stakeholders are driven by internal commitments, strong identity with the company's goals and an intrinsic satisfaction from their work. Employees feel valued and value the company because of aligned beliefs and goals.

Today, company culture ranks as the #1 factor when considering new employment opportunities. It's crucial that a company's culture accurately reflects the organization and its people for the recruitment alignment to be effective. In order for the employee and the organization to be the right fit employees should factor in whether or not the company's values are similar to their personal ones. Below are examples of different types of company cultures.

  1. Personal & Professional Growth: Support on all levels makes employees feel valued and build confidence

  2. Philanthropic/Volunteer Work: Giving back and encouraging volunteer work for the greater good, is socially responsible and passionate about serving a community

  3. Client Focused: Customer success and with a focus on incentivized compensation

  4. Tech Focused: Emphasis is on growth and learning of the latest technology enhancing professional growth and development

  5. Teamwork: Diversity and inclusion coupled with feedback without consequences is prioritized

  6. Open Door Policy: Provide feedback, opinions and have candid professional conversations without fear or consequences.

  7. Going Green: Environmentally conscious

  8. Inclusivity/Belonging: Being informed about company's goals, needs, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT), being able to contribute, feel a sense of community and belonging.

  9. Build Confidence & Trust: Supporting activities employees are passionate about and encouraging everyone to share their interests. Employees become more confident and proud to share their passions and learn/get involved with their coworkers' uniqueness, creating an inclusive and honest environment

  10. Collaboration: Teamwork, brainstorming and accountability is the #1 priority.

The most shared trait among companies who instill a defined culture in their organization is valuing their employees. These organizations become more successful and sought after then companies that have the "get it done" attitude. Organizations with well defined practices and values have similar minded employees and instill company values and specific behavior, and in return employees goals become aligned with their company's, they have a clear understanding of expectations and are generally happier and more productive when compared to companies who are not focused their employees and overall values. The right culture provides a structure, community and empowerment which dovetails an environment ruled by motivation not fear.

Once the culture has been established the "values" are the tools that become its foundation. The pillars on which its culture is built consists of Values + Aligned People.

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