Why your company culture is vital to your success

Here, Sophie Turton looks at how your corporate culture sets you apart and the impact that ignoring it can have on the success of your business.

There are concrete reasons why some businesses thrive and others die, reasons beyond financial investment and economic stability. Companies like Google, Zappos, Amazon, even Facebook, are successful because they had a good idea made great by a strong company culture.

Creating a strong company culture is vital to the success of your business, though it is an element often overlooked in the initial business plan. Great corporations create a culture where everyone is inspired and encouraged to develop their skills and talents in order to make a positive contribution to the evolution of the business. Without a strong company culture, it is very unlikely your business will thrive.

Here are three important areas to focus on when developing your corporate culture:

1. Establish a strong company ethos

A strong ethos will fuel your company’s culture, filtering down to every aspect of the business process and influencing brand identity, customer loyalty and employee satisfaction. Ask yourself this: What do you stand for and why? Do your employees know when the company started, where the idea came from and how it has grown? What do they tell their friends and family about the place they work?

In an important sales meeting, the business development manager of a company I previously worked for was asked what the company’s values were; he was stumped. We sell software, we help companies manage their assets, we are very successful in Europe – stock responses that actually mean very little. They consequently lost the bid.

A corporate culture isn’t just established at the top, it needs to be enforced at all levels at any given opportunity; even the contracted cleaner needs to know what your company do and why. If you have a strong identity people will remember you, your employees will be proud to work for you and more people will buy into your brand.

2. Focus on employee satisfaction over financial compensation

Google positions itself as an innovative company at the forefront of modern trends and is well-known to be a fantastic place to work. The Google culture is unique, very few companies have ever put as much impetus on employee satisfaction and as a result the hiring process is challenging – people who work for Google really want to be there and Google ensures that they are there to stay. Focussing on employee satisfaction is also catching on the world over.

Brighton-based digital marketing agency Propellernet look to provide the best place to work, with an impetus on creating a culture of happiness, health and wellbeing in order to ‘maximise the returns for clients, while enjoying a democratic and positive working environment’.

Perks of working at Propellernet include free breakfasts, weekly meditation, yoga and pilates classes, and enhanced maternity and paternity support, as well as a quarterly bonus, with all eligible employees receiving the same amount.

Although these perks come at a price, the cost of employee turnover and dissatisfaction is higher. Google, Propellernet and others like them want the very best talent and in order to retain it they have to ensure their employees are happy. And it works – Propellernet currently claims a 5 per cent staff turnover and is a successful agenciy in the South East of England.

3. Develop relationships between employees

Investing in employee experiences is another great way of developing your company’s culture. This can be as simple as a weekly pub quiz or a more elaborate investment in ‘team building activities’ – a trend that is particularly popular in Central Europe. Though some employers have acknowledged a fear that employees will lack concentration if surrounded by peers, it is likely they will be more relaxed and work harder if there is a positive and friendly work atmosphere. Furthermore, through actively developing relationships between employees they will be far more likely to help each other and work as a team, thereby ensuring an efficient and productive attitude towards tasks and customers. Happy, productive employees mean a far more successful and innovative business.

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