It’s the layout of your office, the way people dress and how (if at all) a department celebrates personal milestones. It explains why meetings are lively, the boss gets a special parking space and why three rings of the telephone is simply unacceptable.
It’s the collective drive of an office, and it’s why some issues inherently take precedence over others—without so much as a word of explanation.
It’s, as some have defined it, simply “how things are done around here.”
It’s your company culture. (Or corporate culture, organizational culture, office culture…it goes by many names.) And at your business, you have one. If this is news to you, then you have your work cut out for you.
So what exactly is this “culture” thing? I apologize in advance, but I’m going to turn to Wikipedia to answer this one. Its definition is thorough.
“Organizational culture is the collective behavior of humans that are part of an organization…formed by the organization values, visions, norms, working language, systems and symbols [and] it includes beliefs and habits.
“It is also the pattern of such collective behaviors and assumptions that are taught to non organizational members as a way of perceiving, and even thinking and feeling.”
What are your values? What drives you and your people? Collectively, what do you believe, and how are these beliefs portrayed internally in day-to-day business through prioritization, language, dress and hiring practices?
Is your culture one of suit-and-tie rigidity with a sharp focus on the bottom line, or is it one of casual adaptability that focuses more on forming personal relationships? Are staff meetings open and lively, or do you prescribe to a certain chain of command at work?
By answering these questions, you’re not just forming a mission or values statement; you’re injecting a level of honesty and transparency into your business. This transparency can improve morale in the office (people know what’s expected of them and better understand their value and where they fit) as well as improve your ability to recruit not just skilled workers, but the right employee for your culture and, hence, your vision.
Consider that, like your brand, culture doesn’t cease to exist for lack of a strategy. It’s up to you, then, to take your culture by the horns and create a Culture Statement that you and your employees can embrace—one that best supports your business, its mission, its vision, and the strategies currently in place both in business and marketing.