Many business owners realized that a strong company culture is important. Perhaps you’re one of them. If so, there’s a good chance that you have devoted at least some of your time to investigating the topic. This is smart. You should understand how to develop a positive company culture and how to hire for culture fit. Additionally, it’s important to make adjustments if your culture isn’t delivering the intended results.
But first, it’s important to understand what company culture is. It encompasses the workplace environment shaped by its employees’ behaviors and interactions, as well as their beliefs. It also includes elements such as company values, norms, expectations, and what they look like in practice.
However, during your research, you might encounter myths about company culture. The following are some key examples. Review them to avoid falling prey to some common misconceptions.
Leaders are primarily responsible for creating company culture
As an owner or manager at an organization, you play a significant role in building your company culture. Other key decision-makers do, as well. That said, it’s important to understand that leaders are by no means the only ones involved in defining this crucial aspect of an organization. All team members should contribute.
Therefore, soliciting feedback from your employees is a good idea when considering how to improve your company culture. For example, if you notice low engagement, you could survey your employees in order to better understand what they would change about the current culture to make working for your company a more engaging and enjoyable experience.
It’s also worth noting that company culture often develops naturally. While you do want to exercise some control over it, as your workforce grows, your employees will also help define the culture through their behavior and interactions. This isn’t a conscious decision. Rather, it’s the natural result of a culture developing somewhat on its own.
Perks define the company culture
Don’t make the mistake of assuming perks define your company culture. Although they can play a role, it’s better not to say that the culture is fun and exciting only because your office has ping-pong tables or a juice bar. That’s not to say that perks aren’t important. It’s just more beneficial if the perks that you offer result from your culture and not the other way around.
Company culture reflects your organization’s values through the practices set in place. For instance, the outdoor retailer REI Co-Op is dedicated to inspiring a passion for the outdoors and maintaining a culture shaped by this idea. That’s why it gives its employees paid time off to enjoy outdoor activities. It isn’t a perk that defines the company’s values and culture. It’s an example of a company’s values and culture determining what types of perks that the company provides.
Culture is a secondary issue
You may be reading this because you believe that defining your company culture is important. Some people might assume that culture becomes a priority only after a company reaches a certain stage of growth. Until they’ve achieved other goals, they might believe that they can wait to start developing their organization’s culture. This is another mistake to avoid.
After all, the nature of your company culture should define the type of people you hire. Hiring for culture fit can help you to build a team of like-minded individuals who share similar passions, interests, and attitudes towards their work. However, it’s also crucial to recruit the right people from the start. That’s why it’s best to begin defining your company culture in advance. If you don’t, you might end up hiring individuals who aren’t a proper fit, resulting in a team that can’t work together in a cohesive way during your critical early stages of growth.
An established culture doesn’t change
It’s beneficial for your organization’s culture to be rooted in clear and unchanging values. To a degree, your company culture should be an established constant. However, while its values and mission might remain the same, the nature of your organization’s culture can still change and evolve over time.
For instance, you might hire a new generation of employees in the future who bring with them new attitudes and ideas. These perspectives can positively impact your company’s culture if you allow them to do so. But keep in mind that if the culture remains stagnant, then you might struggle to attract talented young candidates.
Culture only affects certain aspects of your organization
A positive company culture can enable you to retain employees and entice strong candidates when filling new positions. You probably already understand how that’s good for business. However, some business owners and employers might also assume that these are the only ways that company culture affects the bottom line. This is not the case. Company culture actually plays a crucial role in all areas of an organization.
For instance, perhaps one of your core company values involves becoming proficient in knowledge building, a collaborative process wherein a group of individuals shares ideas and information to deepen their knowledge of a subject as a whole. This value could help your organization thrive and adapt when industry changes affect the way that you conduct business.
Remember to keep these points in mind when defining your company culture. You’ll be more likely to develop a strong culture if you don’t believe these common myths.