There is a growing awareness that a positive business culture is critical for a company's success in gaining consumers.
Consumers not only shop for value, but also for satisfying buying experiences.
Ultimately, attracting consumers depends on cultivating quality employees.
Today, employees are more aware of how a business culture will affect their lifestyle and are increasingly concerned about having a work-life balance.
Related Article: Why Company Culture Matters More to Employee Than Pay
Culture Starts at the Top
A company's culture is determined by its leadership: directors, executives, and senior management. The way in which a company treats it employees, its customers and its vendors is often a reflection of its values -- and this is often a matter of social responsibility and business ethics.
Leadership is a question of values and character, especially because employees take their cues from leaders. It is critical that the values of business leaders and employees are aligned with their actions. The values of a positive business culture speak to a company's purpose: what it stands for and what it believes in.
A company’s values, moreover, should be more than a mere marketing gimmick -- values are intrinsic to a company's brand and how its customers perceive it. Because of these perceptions, it is essential that the company's products and services are also in sync with its values
It's About the People
The mission of a business must be linked to the objectives of its people. A company's mission needs to be communicated throughout the organization. Each employee needs to see how his or her individual goals are tied to the company's overall strategy and believe his or her role plays a part in the company's success. To meet this objective, business leaders need to focus on a number of elements in finding and cultivating the right people:
Creating a positive business culture depends on attracting talent and finding the right people. A business that has a reputation for treating its people well and having a positive working environment is more likely to attract people who will contribute to the company's success. People want to join successful enterprises, and all employees, regardless of their position, need to know their efforts are contributing to a company's success.
Finding and selecting the right people will allow a business to develop and maintain its culture. This means assessing not only their talent and qualifications but assessing intangible qualities like sincerity and emotional intelligence -- how they relate to other people, take directions, assume responsibility, all of which have an impact in fostering a positive culture. In other words, people need to be a good fit for the company's culture.
A positive business culture depends on clear and frequent communication from the top down and the bottom up. Effective communication is a two-way street that requires feedback and follow through. While not everyone will have a seat at the table of decision-making, all employees should be encouraged to voice their ideas and opinions. People should not be afraid to ask questions or express their concerns in order to avoid misunderstandings.
A positive business culture invites people to become involved. When executive decisions are made, employees are more likely to follow knowing their voices have been heard. Keeping the lines of communication open requires having an "open door" policy as well as holding regular meetings to discuss the company's objectives, its success in meeting those objectives, and what steps need to be taken to resolve problems and achieve new goals.
Finding and selecting the right people is not the last step - it's only the beginning on the path to creating a positive business culture. It's not just about "finding a warm body" to fill a job role, it's important to retain quality people. Not only will this support the business culture, it will also help the bottom line. High employee turnover is costly because of the expense in acquiring and training new people. A company that has a reputation for high employee turnover is also less likely to attract quality people.
Retaining quality people requires recognizing employees who have achieved their goals, but this means more than a pat on the back. Specific incentive plans like monetary bonuses, employee ownership, additional paid time off, and the like are rewards that lend themselves to employee retention.
The Bottom Line
In the end, a company's success requires having a solid business strategy and being able to execute that strategy. This is where a positive business culture makes a difference -- culture is a fundamental business consideration. Culture is comprised of the shared values and objectives of the leaders and employees, and their collaboration is essential for attracting customers.
Of course, it's easier to measure financial performance -- profits and returns on investment determine a company's financial success. At the same time, a positive business culture contributes to the quality of a company's goods and services and in so doing drives returns, and making profits is the bottom line.