Walking the walk: Why it’s important to monitor your company culture

Company culture is about so much more than internal branding or cool perks. It is the DNA of your company and one of the determining factors of its success. Taking a close look at your company culture and proactively nurturing and monitoring it can help you find and keep the right people to drive your productivity and growth.

Company culture is everything

So what is company culture exactly? Basically, it’s the embodiment of your company’s values. Company culture affects everything from the general atmosphere to employee turnover and productivity, and ultimately your bottom line. When a company’s values are coherent and clear, it helps set the direction for employees: If your culture prioritizes setting and meeting goals, it motivates your workers to set and meet goals of their own. The atmosphere and environment you create is also part of your brand personality and what you’re putting out there. For example, if you have generous perks and a fun-loving atmosphere, your brand will be seen as generous and fun-loving. That image translates into increased sales and customer loyalty.

Having a strong company culture in place is key to finding and retaining the right people. This is because a strong culture attracts talent that fits into the company better and helps keep them on board longer. People who feel like they are where they belong are more likely to stay, which means higher retention rates and lower turnover. Randstad US data from 2018 shows that 38% percent of workers want to leave their jobs due to a toxic work culture or one where they don’t feel they fit in. Hiring people who fit your company culture means fewer costly transitions as well as better team dynamics.

Understanding organization’s culture

As important as company culture is, according to Deloitte’s 2016 survey, only 28 percent of executives reported that they understood their organization’s culture. Often the culture companies promote in their HR campaigns is different from the reality on the ground, or the values espoused by headquarters don’t trickle down to store or branch level. This is why monitoring is so important to help address gaps and help you attract the right people.

Aligned values, engaged employees

Engagement comes down to how employees feel about the company culture. This is reflected in their level of commitment to the company and their work. Engaged workers are motivated, fulfilled and challenged. This makes them emotionally attached, loyal and feel invested in the organization’s goals. In contrast, disengaged workers work under their capacity, have a negative impact on group dynamics and stand in the way of innovation. A company whose culture is aligned with its values attracts those who are a good fit for that culture and therefore more engaged. And engaged employees are employees that stick around: Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report  found that highly engaged business units achieve 59 percent less turnover.

Offering learning opportunities is one of the key ways to engage employees. Personal development is an important part of the value employees find in their job. According to River’s 2018 research 83 percent of workers participating in a mentoring program admitted that their experience positively influenced their desire to stay at their organization. Today’s employers are demanding new ways to grow and develop themselves and also more flexibility. This is why more and more employers are exploring the use of innovative learning tools that can be tailored to individual schedules.

Creating a strong culture, even in “difficult” industries

Creating your company culture isn’t just about putting policies in place: it’s about people. This is even more true for “difficult” industries such as the hospitality business, where turnover rates tend to be higher and the company culture directly affects the customer experience. So how do you go about creating a company strong culture? Here are a few pointers:

Create your story

Cultures start with great stories, and your company should have one, too. Write the story of how your company was created and what inspired its founders. This will help your customers understand your values and your employees feel they are part of something important. For inspiration, think about why you started your business in the first place. Maybe you noticed a shortage of hotel rooms during major conferences, so you figured out a way for people to open up their homes to those looking for a place to stay (sound familiar?)

Bring your story to life

Decide what values are important to you, then create an internal culture that embodies them. This may or may not include cool perks like free daycare or travel credit.  Managing your culture for success is about creating a feeling, not specific benefits. As Tom Gimbel of the Wall Street Journal writes: “Allowing your employees to bring dogs to work is a perk. Texting an employee after they had to put their dog down is culture.”

Walk the walk

If you expect employees to deliver a certain experience to customers, it’s important to reflect that in your culture. Staff members should experience the service values you aspire to for themselves. For example, if one of your values is continuous service improvement, inspire your employees by practicing continuous improvement at all levels of the organization. Invest in employee learning and development and encourage service innovation.

Last but not least

In conclusion, while many companies aim to create strong company cultures, very few use metrics to measure and monitor their culture. Companies tend to look at culture as something intangible rather than something that can be measured objectively. The Twegos company culture scan charts your company’s actual and desired values and provides detailed insights into your alignment with aspired values and how they play out in team and management dynamics. These insights are used to recruit the right people for your company and create a culture that puts your values into practice and brings out the best in your employees.