The Importance of Establishing a Culture Within Your Business
Table of Contents
The culture of your business can determine the success, or otherwise, of your business. It has been proven that companies with a defined, positive and adaptive culture far outperform those of their competitors. So the importance of establishing a culture within your business is high on the list of things to do for your business.
The modern meaning of culture is one of development of the soul or the mind in a society, as compared to the agricultural meaning of culture which is to toil or work the soil. I think the explanation I like most is: “Hoebel describes culture as an integrated system of learned behavior patterns which are characteristic of the members of a society and which are not a result of biological inheritance,” taken from Wikipedia. The importance of establishing a culture within your business then is to ensure that there is a system of learned behavior.
Every organisation or business has a culture. In fact even if two people meet there is a culture that exists between the two. For example the two could be friends where the culture is one of friendliness, openness and candour. On the other hand the two could be rivals and be more reserved, even antagonistic towards each other. You will know how you ‘feel’,when you walk into a room filled with strangers for instance, and the atmosphere is warm or cool, depending of the culture of the group.
So whenever you get a group of people together, there is a culture. In the workplace, just one person can alter the culture of that business. If there is a negative influence, that influence could flow through to the rest of the team and the impact will flow through to your customers.
How do you prevent a negative culture forming in your business?
By establishing your culture, a code of conduct that expresses the values and practices of everyone in the team, you help to eliminate a negative or unwanted culture from forming. The values of your culture must be introduced to everybody in the organisation. It is then backed and supported by you and other influential people within your business.
Cultures change and evolve as members of the group leave and newcomers are introduced to the company. In most cases the newcomer takes on the culture that exists, but many will attempt to change the culture, either knowingly or not. That is, they may bring negative or unwanted behavior from their previous employment, and that behavior could influence other members of your team. The importance of establishing a culture in your business cannot be overemphasized.
As the business grows, or as time goes by, the culture can get stronger and become difficult to change. To ensure negative cultures do not impact on your business, and to ensure that a positive atmosphere is maintained, you will need to decide on what your company will look like in the future. If your vision of your business is one of harmonious, productive employees working together to achieve common goals, then your values and systems of behavior will need to reflect that. Different industries will require different cultures, but it is difficult to imagine a strong viable business with a negative or weak culture.
To assess the culture of your business, listen to what your employees are saying on a daily basis. Negative and regular confrontations are likely to have a negative impact on your business. What do your customers, suppliers and other parties interacting with your business say about your business. Look at inscriptions, symbols or the common behavior of your employees. If there is degrading and negative comments about others being displayed in the workplace, it will build a culture of negativity. A supportive and positive culture will increase employee satisfaction, retention and productivity.
Design You Company Culture
To align the behavior and culture of your business with the values of your vision, outline the key values that you want. Here are some points that you may like to consider, and build on:
- Integrity. I will behave with integrity, staying true to my self- worth. I will only promise what I can deliver and not make agreements I cannot meet.
- Communication. I believe in open and honest communication and will not cover up mistakes. In all my communication with others I will focus on the positive.
- Honesty. I will be honest in all my dealings with co-workers, customers , suppliers and anybody who comes into contact with (the business.)
- Commitment. I am committed to the success of the company and will to the best of my ability always behave in the best interests of the (the comapany)
- Trust. I will prove my trustworthiness and trust others.
- Efficiency. I will constantly use, and seek, the most efficient ways of carrying out my roles and tasks.
- System Oriented. I will follow systems and procedures and help to improve them wherever possible.
- Customer Focused. I will always bear in mind that what I do for customers reflects on (the company) and I will always do the best I can for the customer.
- Constant Improvement. I will constantly seek to improve procedures within all aspects of (the company).
- Regular Training. I will regularly undergo training and up skilling to keep with latest trends and techniques of my role.
- Responsibility. I will always accept and take responsibility for my own actions.
- Support. I will support my co-workers and others within (the company), by word or by deed, to help them achieve their tasks.
Your points of culture should be included in introduction documentation for every new employee, and issued to every existing employee. The points should be aligned with the company vision and discussed with your employees. They need to accept and adopt the points of culture with a view to improving their own workplace. It is essential that you, and key members of you team, follow and uphold the importance of establishing a culture within your business.