What is corporate culture? It is a set of beliefs, values and attitudes that guide an organization. Culture is to an organization what character is to a person. And the culture you create internally has a direct impact on your company’s reputation externally. Every business has a culture, but not every business has a healthy culture. An unhealthy culture occurs when expectations are not properly understood, communicated or lived by owners and managers, or when owners themselves are not aligned. An unhealthy culture creates chaos and conflict within an organization.
A healthy culture occurs when everybody in the organization understands expected employee behavior and the values to live by. A healthy culture drives performance by bringing alignment, contentment and an understanding by each person of their role in moving the organization forward to be successful and profitable. A healthy culture encourages employee retention because employees aligned with the corporate culture have higher morale, a positive attitude and are more loyal. The ability to attract high calibre people is significantly stronger in a business with a healthy culture, simply because people want to work there. When your biggest fans are your employees, the impact on customers is remarkable. It drives stickiness, the key ingredient of a high performing business with low employee churn and extremely loyal customers.
Culture drives brand – the combination of reputation and expectation. Simply put, it is “the way we do things around here”. It is a learned set of behaviours that is common knowledge among all employees. It defines why a company does what it does and how it does it.
For an example of a strong local corporate culture that has springboarded a small fruit and vegetable stand to a multi-location retail enterprise, look no further than Pete’s. This successful entrepreneur has spent considerable time over the years making sure every one of his employees are aligned with the culture he wants, and if their values are not aligned, they are off the bus. From extraordinary retail experience and ever-changing, world class merchandising to sustainability and collaborative thinking, Pete has built a business around the simple thought “Think Fresh”. Fresh ideas, fresh displays, fresh practices and policies, and of course fresh fruits and vegetables.
At Revolve, I nurture a culture that is focused on our clients and doing great work. We are practical, nimble and entrepreneurial and talk about our values of strategic, creative, uncomplicated, initiative and caring at every opportunity. They are the filters by which we hire, fire, bonus and promote. Our employee manual is simply one sentence: “Every Revolver is empowered, authorized and committed to take care of their client. Period.” Is our culture perfect? Not at all. Is it for everybody? Not a chance. But for those it fits, it is a rewarding, engaging and comfortable work environment.
You can either drive and influence your culture or just let it happen. High performing businesses create a culture that allows the business and its employees to thrive. Give me a call if you would like to talk about culture, its impact on brand, and the methods successful organizations use to drive a healthy culture.