Staying True to Vision and Value: Adapting Your Company Culture, No Matter Your Business Size
While you'll always want to make a good impression while hiring, maintaining a consistent, positive atmosphere is vital to growth
A company’s culture is one of the most vital building-blocks in establishing a successful business. Not only does it give your employees a vision and values to work by, it also affects the way you lead, and the way others perceive your company. It’s an unspoken social contract that everyone within your business signs up to.
When a business reaches a certain point, it’s almost inevitable it will make plans to branch out and expand. This might include launching across additional territories or perhaps growing headcount, either way, as a company develops its culture can be at risk of dilution. This can be down to a shift in focus, strategic expansion or even having to adapt to rising competition.
Although each of these factors are fundamental in remaining competitive, they can quickly make you lose sight of the very visions you first had when starting out. It is important to prioritise company culture whilst progressing, as it is a vital element in the foundation of your business.
A key part of company culture is how you treat your employees; research has shown that 64% of employees do not feel that they are working at an organisation which has a strong work culture. This is important to address as it can mean the difference between employee attraction, attitude and retention.
Be different, make it count and stand for something that you can be known for as a business. Take Google for example, its strong company culture is famous worldwide. It is viewed as being fun, innovative, and collaborative with employees, as well as forward thinking. This has made it a popular business that many strive to work with.
In order to ensure your company’s core values are kept intact, you need to install them firmly at the top with senior members, meaning they should then trickle down to every level of employee within the business. It will shape the way in which they work, giving them that extra something that brings a fresh impact to clients. This will maintain the distinctive place your organisation holds within its market and gives employees a greater sense of purpose whilst at work. There are various ways to maintain this culture as a business develops.
Give employees something to work for
Have you ever heard of the saying, if you look after your employees, your employees will look after you? Well it’s more than just a statement.
Ensuring that your employees are on board with your company’s culture begins at the hiring process. It’s here that you can find out what they are capable of and how they can add value to your business. Use this opportunity to imprint the principles of your company and find out how they can contribute to keeping it alive and thriving.
It’s important to embed a rewarding and thriving culture at the initial stage of an employee’s journey with your business. Employees are the face of your company and the carriers of your vision. Let’s be honest, your business wouldn’t run if it wasn’t for them.
Initially, ensure your employees feel engaged with their role and give them something meaningful to work for in addition to their pay cheque. This will increase staff satisfaction, as well as inspire productivity and better customer service.
Keep the culture alive
Your company’s culture shouldn’t stop at the interview stage; it should be a continuous, re-visited priority and form the foundation of how your company is run.
Keep your employees inspired and find a way to incorporate your company principles into day-to-day activities. Whether it’s through a motto, training or themed days, keep the core values at the heart of your company to ensure it is continuously thriving. Failure to do so will not only see your company’s culture dilute over time, it may impact employee retention if you’re not continuing what was portrayed at interview stage.
Watch your business blossom: the difference
Business leaders often feed into the misconception that consumers are only concerned with price, or negative customer experiences; however, consumers do care about the values that companies are founded on. According to research, 82% of consumers say they would make personal sacrifices to address social and environmental issues, which shows how supportive customers are of brands with a good cause embedded within its culture.
Integrating company culture into the customer service experience you provide will also make your business more memorable. It will help to create a unique, emotive bond with your customer that keeps them coming back to you, even if your product could be found cheaper elsewhere or in a more convenient location.
Growth within any business is welcomed, and as it continues your work load will grow, time will become sparse and you may feel the need to prioritise tasks that will ensure the business ticks over smoothly. But don’t forget the reasons why you started your business in the first place and the things that make your business one of a kind. These factors are what keeps your company competitive and attracts customers, employees and partners.
Daniel Bailey is director of Northern Europe, Zendesk