Welcome to day ten of Leeward Business Advisors’ 12 Days of Starting a Business. We’re going through all the aspects leading up to starting a business! Follow along here on Medium and watch our Twitter for updates!
It’s possible the last time you talked about culture was in high school, or maybe college. Probably in a social studies lecture. Thus, it may come as a surprise to you that culture affects almost every aspect of your business, from your hiring process, to your marketing. Even your company’s efficiency is effected by culture.
In case you need a quick refresh, culture can be defined as
An evolving set of collective beliefs, values, and attitudes; defined by the company, driven by the people.
Potential Increased Performance
According to Professor James L Heskett in The Culture Cycle, effective culture can account for 20–30% of the differential in corporate performance when compared with “culturally unremarkable” competitors.
A better culture also leads to improved moods, which is known to improve individual performance.
Recruiting and Retention
At this point, culture is just about as expected as paid maternity leave and a health care plan. It can be a very useful tool for not only recruiting, but also for employee retention.
Culture indeed helps to create guiding principles for a company and encourages a focus on the company’s mission.
It’s easy to say that people bring and create culture within an organization, but they really don’t. Even one-man organizations have culture and it’s driven by the company’s mission and values, not an individual. As a result, the creation and destruction of culture is in the organization’s hands. So how do you create and maintain a positive culture?
A clear mission with values and goals provides a guideline everyone can work towards. This creates a clarity of purpose and is unifying for a team.
Continuing Development Opportunities
Creating a culture where employees are encouraged to continue education through seminars, online courses, or even just teaching each other, provides an environment where people continue to grow and improve.
Environment of Trust and Encouragement
Creating an environment where people know they’re safe and can trust their coworkers has a huge impact on engagement. Promoting the concept that good philosophies can come from anywhere in the organization will further diminish the barrier keeping people from sharing ideas.
If you want to highlight a focus on culture, it should be a large part of deciding whether a candidate is a good fit for a role. Zappos’ is known for their hiring process based around culture, where 50% of the weight of hiring falls on a cultural-fit interview.
Culture can only benefit a company if they grow together. A family owned business usually has a different culture than that of a large corporation. If a family owned business is growing and everyone working there still treats it casually, it will be difficult to effectively grow.
Moral of the Story
Don’t ignore culture. It’s real, and the implications of culture are real. Culture — like other areas of your business — are difficult to quantify. As the business owner, be the culture you want to see. If you expect your employees to clean up after themselves and be supportive to one another, you better be leading the charge if you want it to stick. Culture can look a lot different to each person, so make sure your values and expectations are clearly communicated. And allow others to participate! Ask for ideas, and grow together.
About Leeward Business Advisors
Leeward Business Advisors is a Wisconsin-based corporation that provides business strategy planning, business improvement implementation, and full IT operational support. They offer world class Cloud Computing services, Cloud brokerage, Managed IT services, and a full US based Support Service Desk (called Quick Answers). Michael Polzin, CEO has 20+ years of enterprise business and technology experience gained while working at Allstate Insurance and Microsoft Corporation. Jason Klein, CTO has 15+ years delivering effective and efficient technology to Midwest companies.