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Company Culture

What is Company Culture?

Company culture is the summation of how people within an organization interact with each other and work together.Societally speaking, culture is the collective knowledge and achievements of a group, expressed by things like customs of behavior, art, music, food, religion, and language. Culture creates the foundation for the values and beliefs of a society, and company culture is similar. It is a shared set of beliefs, values, attitudes, standards, purposes, and behaviors.

The culture of an organization is like a set of miniature societies within a larger society, and their cultures are expressions of the work they perform, the values they adopt, and the collective behaviors of the people who work for them. To see how company culture forms, let’s look at two hypothetical examples: first, a multinational software firm employing thousands of people, and second, a small-town nursery with just a few employees. Also slightly unhelpful. I feel the most important distinction to make here is that company culture is something that is pre-existing in your company’s genetic code; it’s not something that employees bring with them. In fact, a company with just one employee – a company with no employees, if we’re being honest – still has a culture. That sole proprietor? They’re the one with “vision, values, and assumptions.” They don’t wait around for employees to provide such things; instead, they seek out those individuals who they feel would be a good match with their existing vision for the company.

This creates a sort of give-and-take. You have your own plans for your company’s development, and as your team grows, you’ll find that it can change and grow in unexpected and rewarding ways.

Not every business was blessed with the foresight to completely flesh out a long-term plan for company growth and culture. In fact, exceptionally few businesses do this, because it demands a certain confidence in your company’s long-term survival – something that can be hard to come by in these uncertain economic times. That said, if you’ve spent a lot of time recently focusing heavily on growth and bringing in new employees, it might be time to take a step back to see what kind of culture is emerging.

While there are plenty of companies out there that would love nothing more than to have you pay them for a “company culture audit,” the far easier – and cheaper – method is to simply take a look around.

How do your employees act when they’re on the job? Are there common behaviors – either good or bad? What does having this job mean to your employees, and would they go elsewhere if they had the chance?

These things are not your company’s culture – but they’re definitely symptoms of either a healthy or unhealthy culture. Remember: your company’s culture was already being shaped before you even hired your first employee. So knowing how your employees are reacting to what you’re building is tremendously important if you want your company to thrive.

What Are The Types Of Company Culture?

  • 1) the dynamic, entrepreneurial Create Culture
  • 2) the people-oriented, friendly Collaborate Culture
  • 3) the process-oriented, structured Control Culture
  • 4) the results-oriented, competitive Compete Culture

These organizational culture types are also known as Adhocracy culture, Clan culture, Hierarchy culture, and Market culture (Cameron & Quinn).

1. Create Culture (Adhocracy Culture)

This is a dynamic and creative working environment. Employees take risks. Leaders are seen as innovators and risk takers. Experiments and innovation are a way of bonding. Prominence is emphasized. The long-term goal is to grow and create new resources. The availability of new products or services is seen as a success. The organization promotes individual initiative and freedom.

  • Do new things: create, innovate, envision the future
  • Transformational Change
  • Handle discontinuity, change, and risk
  • Freedom of thought and action, rule-breaking
  • Thoughtful experimentation, learning from mistakes, failing fast
  • Roles like entrepreneurs and visionaries
  • Visionaries inclined toward risk, not afraid of uncertainty

Typical in sectors like technical start-ups, technology-driven industries (communications, sustainability), but also disruptive services like Airbnb, Uber

2. Collaborate Culture (Clan Culture)

This working environment is friendly. People have a lot in common, and it feels like a large family. The leaders are seen as mentors or maybe even father figures. The organization is held together by loyalty and tradition. There is great involvement. They emphasize long-term Human Resource Development. Success is defined within the framework of addressing the needs of the clients and caring for the people. The organization promotes teamwork, participation, and consensus.

  • Do things together: build teams, people matter
  • Long-term Change
  • Commitment, empowerment, cohesion, engagement
  • Human development
  • Collective wisdom, long-lasting partnerships, and relationships
  • Roles like a mentor and a coach
  • Wary of conflict

Typical in sectors like health care, education, some government agencies, not-for-profits.

3. Control Culture (Hierarchy Culture)

This is a formalized and structured workplace. Procedures direct what people do. Leaders are proud of efficiency-based coordination and organization. Keeping the organization functioning smoothly is most crucial. Formal rules and policies keep the organization together. The long-term goals are stability and results, paired with an efficient and smooth execution of tasks. Reliable delivery, continuous planning, and low cost define success. The personnel management has to guarantee work and predictability.

  • Do things right: eliminate errors
  • Incremental Change
  • Attention to details, careful decisions, precise analysis
  • Increase consistency and reliability, well-informed experts
  • Better processes and efficiency, routines
  • Roles like organizers and administrators
  • Conservative, cautious, logical problem solvers

Typical in sectors like medicine, nuclear power, military, government, banking and insurance, transportation.

4. Compete Culture (Market Culture)

This is a results-based workplace that emphasizes targets, deadlines, and getting things done. People are competitive and focused on goals. Leaders are hard drivers, producers, and rivals. They can be tough with high expectations. The emphasis on winning keeps the organization together. Reputation and success are the most important. Long-term focus is on rival activities and reaching goals. Market dominance, achieving your goals, and great metrics are the definitions of success. Competitive prices and market leadership are important. The organizational style is based on competition.

  • Do things fast: compete, move fast, play to win
  • Fast Change
  • Customer satisfaction, attack competitors, shareholder value
  • Speed: results-right-now, getting things done, achieving goals
  • Acquire other firms, outsource selected processes,
  • Deliver results, make fast decisions, solve problems
  • Leaders are hard-driving, directive, commanding, demanding

Typical of sectors like consultancy, accountancy, sales and marketing, services, manufacturing.

What Is A Positive Company Culture?

There is nothing better than working in a company with a great company culture. Having a positive work culture reflects positively on employee retention and financial goals of your company.

Here we cover 9 powerful signs you have your company culture in the positive.

A positive company culture elevates employee enthusiasm, encourages better productivity and in the end, leads to better company performance. This is why creating a positive company culture matters.

Imagine having your employees wake up every day looking forward to getting back to work with the rest of their colleagues that they enjoy being around. A positive company culture does that. Employees should look forward to going to their jobs.

In fact, they should have a hard time leaving because they enjoy the challenges, their colleagues and the atmosphere. While the work may be demanding, your company culture should not add to the stress of the work.

Here are 9 powerful signs of a positive company culture

1. A long line of future employees

You know you have a positive company culture when people are waiting in line to be part of your company.

It is likely not because you are offering more money than other organisation; It is possible that they could find a better remuneration package elsewhere. However, people have heard about your company culture and they are keen to be part of it.

2. Low employee turnover

Another one of the signs of a positive company culture is when your current employees have been around for a long period of time and have no intentions of leaving the company.

Having a good salary and being in the comfort zone in the company are often good enough reason not to search for another job but it is normally having a healthy company culture that makes your employees stay for an unexpectedly long time. Employees would not leave the company if they are waking up happy and excited for work every morning.

3. Happiness

How do you know you have a positive company culture? You are often greeted with a smiling face or you hear well wishes of “Good morning!” being exchanged by your employees at the corner of the office.

When you are at your desk, or walking down the hallway or the moment when you stepped into the office. You hear people having conversations and having a good time in the midst of high stress level with intense focus.

4. Sense of job security

When you have developed a sense of job security among your employees at the workplace is one of the signs of a positive company culture.

This may be a little tough to notice but you will only realise it during team meeting or project briefing. Your employees are not worried about their colleagues succeeding in a task given or a project. In fact, they encourage and congratulate each other without animosity.

5. No Gossiping

You know you have a positive company culture when gossiping is not tolerated but it just does not happen. At any level or position, gossip is shut down with an encouragement to speak directly to the individual.

When employees understand that they can be honest towards their colleagues and trust them, the intentions of gossiping does not occur. Instead, they tend to assist one another when help is required; regardless if it is work-related problem or a personal issue.

6. It is not ‘just a job’

Looking forward to heading to work every morning is one thing, but looking forward to seeing colleagues is another. Employees are serious when they are at work, feeling very determined to accomplish the task given to them.

However,  when it is time to knock off from work, your employees take their time to leave the office as they are still chatting with their colleagues, not wanting to leave just yet. Or they head to the pub together after work to watch that soccer match together.

This does not mean they do not have other friends, but they really enjoy the company of the people they work with. This could be one of the ways on how to engage employees and get employee participation without you even trying.

7. Employees are energised

Another sign of a positive company culture is when there is a sense of employee engagement when it comes to completing a task as a team or individually. You often hear employees discuss the task at hand and try to help each other in finding solutions as a team. It gives them energy and they are constantly thinking of ways to get it done.

Employees are engaged and they work together on all work related projects and help where necessary. It doesn't matter who gets credit for what because they accomplished everything together. Your employees are knitted together, not separated.

8.Embracing new ideas

Another one of the signs of a positive company culture is seeing that your team embraces new ideas – all the time.

They do not sulk or whinged at a new idea you thrust at them, instead your employees pitched in thoughts to your idea and some would even suggest a better solution in delivering that idea, making it perfect.

9. Open communication

No hidden agenda, no secrets – having an environment of open communication is another one of the signs of a positive company culture.

The employees are not surprised with any information they did not hear until it was announced at a meeting or they received the details when they checked their email. New information is communicated well in advance with managers even asking the employees to help find solutions.