Why is organizational culture key to a successful business?

While no two organizations are identical, we can certainly find common themes among those who appear as winners on the list of the greatest places to work.

There is a tremendous value in trust as a basis when it comes to creating great workplaces, although it is not easy to convince leaders that organizational culture is more than a secondary aspect. If you take a look at the top companies that have been featured on the list of great places to work, you’ll find that a strong work culture is key to business success. So how can we invest in this culture?

A strong culture helps companies attract and retain talent

When employees decide to leave the organization, the company faces a costly loss which not only refers to the knowledge acquired by people within the organization, but also to new processes of recruitment, hiring and transition. Additionally, it is estimated that there’s a bigger  spending of the starting salary of the employee, at a ratio of one to three, depending on his or her skills.

Among the 100 best companies to work for in the US, voluntary turnover is quite low compared to other companies in the sector, the latter being up to 65%. In short, to create an environment less prone to leave by the workers, efforts must be focused on building a great place to work.

A strong culture consolidates the company brand

In the current era of communications, both employees and customers can tell their experiences to everyone. Realizing this, many of the best companies work actively in order to align their internal and external brands, for users to share the same positive experience. The trend is to have a firm belief in the fact that what is good for the customer is good for the employee, and vice versa.

Efforts to ensure the happiness of employees are definitely paying off, as they can become brand ambassadors. Studies have shown that people in high-trust environments are over 3 times more likely to talk about their companies in social media, and 2 times more likely to express pride in their organization.

A strong culture can be exploited to execute the company’s strategy

A strong culture that incorporates collective values has as a benefit to establish clear guidelines (the “how”), so that people continue efforts to achieve common business goals (the “what”). Successful companies state that much of their success comes from having parameters and actions to make decisions, as well as the presence of leaders who are capable of inspiring and passing on skills throughout all the levels of the organization.

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Image courtesy of Randi Rø at Flickr.com

How can you take advantage of your company’s culture for a successful business?

  1. Hire talent that fits the culture

Turnover is expensive and therefore it is important that companies make every effort to get the right talent for their organizations. The best companies have rigorous procurement processes that not only assess the ability, but also the natural synergy that arises between the employee and the organizational culture. Moreover, the best companies often get people who are more in line with the organizational culture and do not have the skills required, since the latter can be acquired through training, which does not happen with culture.

Also, when using your company’s culture as an added value in the hiring process, you increase the chances that the new employees will quickly find a balance and integration. This will be easier if you have someone to guide them in the process. Finally, to include another person to your company that contributes to success, enriches their identity.

  1. Put the values of your organization to work

In the great places to work, values are shared and defined with other cultural pillars that are integrated into all organizational practices such as recruitment, communication, recognition and celebration. They can also act as a compass in difficult times and decision-making. Shared values provide a sense of coherence, cohesion and purpose for the entire organization.

Take a look at the values of your company and see if there’s a way for you to integrate them into the daily life of the organization. If you instead feel they are irrelevant, it may be time to examine and possibly update them.

  1. Find out what makes your business great and build on top of it, externally and internally

Why do your employees think your company is a great place to work? What do they enjoy the most? What makes it special and unique? Understanding what it is that you’re doing well is as important as knowing what aspects to improve, because good things are the ones that stand out, are used and maintained.

If there are strong components in your company’s culture, think about how you can improve them and make them even more visible to employees, or even for your customers and other outsiders who come into contact with your brand. The best places to work are big because they have achieved an incredible success at being themselves.

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