The question “what is corporate culture?” may come to mind when reading this article. Business culture is difficult to define as a quantifiable concept as it differs from company to company. However, we know it is highly dependent on leadership and that it takes a strong set of well-defined values and goals. Apart from its fluid nature, the importance of corporate culture in today’s business world is undisputable.
We know that employees thrive in a company with a good culture, where people are valued for their skills and the work environment promotes teamwork and unity. As a result, productivity levels are high and everyone’s morale is high even during tough times. According to TalentLyft, “company culture defines the environment in which employees work, it is the personality of a company”.
Sadly, it is not easy to build such a culture. There are lots of traps and pitfalls to avoid before you can create a friendly work environment. Luckily, you can learn from others’ mistakes, which is why we’ve put together a list with the most common ones to avoid.
Browse through our list and compare it with your current culture – does any of them pop up?
Diving In Without a Plan
Business culture is a concept that’s a bit difficult to grasp. Especially, if you’ve never done it before. As such, many beginner entrepreneurs don’t seem to understand that you can’t create something reliable and sustainable without a well-designed plan. Therefore, the importance of corporate culture must be understood and a sold plan must be created to achieve it.
If your approach is ‘we build as we go’ you may want to reconsider your way of building the business.
As a start, analyze the current corporate culture (every business has one, regardless of the fact that it was by intention or not) and identify weak points. Continue by planning your business’s progress in the following one to three years. And most importantly, focus on the main goals.
Of course, your plan won’t be effective if you don’t implement it, which is also the most difficult step. Still, when you base change on a well-designed plan, it’s easier to talk about the expected results, which in turn, will motivate people to accept it easier.
Yes, you should write your corporate culture needs down and make it easily accessible to anyone inside the company! Your corporate needs will definitely reveal to you the importance of having a corporate culture.
Sure, it may sound a bit silly to write down the procedures for dealing with conflicts in the office. Or how to behave in common spaces. But these documents will increase in importance as the company grows. As you hire more people, you will need to learn how to create an environment where different personalities can collaborate.
As such, having a clear set of rules on ways to behave in certain situations reduces the time and effort invested in solving any issue that may arise. Also, the culture documentation needs to be updated every time something changes.
But it’s not just about writing down recommended practices, you also need to offer access to document templates. Your employees should have access to different types of documents, starting from their NDAs and even moving to resignation letters (it is extremely important for your business culture to be able to support all employees, even those that are in the process of leaving your company). This way you reduce the time spent with creating these documents and make these routine procedures a lot quicker and smoother.
Lack of Organization
Time tracking, invoices, expense management – although these seem like daunting tasks. So, it is crucial to have the importance of corporate cutlure before starting to build it on the right foot. And being able to track your progress, pay on time and see what has been done is one of the things you should work on in order to build a strong business culture.
Sadly, if your small business is just starting to take off it is rather difficult to keep track of everything without some extra help. Luckily, there are some amazing planning tools out there that can improve your life as a business owner and administrator.
An invoicing and time-tracking software can takes care of all these daunting tasks for you. Does it seem like you’re spending tons of your time on invoices? Elorus has a feature for that and you can even create branded invoices if you wish. It’s high time you did, right?. The time-tracking feature allows you to track time spent on different tasks. This is beneficial for both parties. You because you can see the work that has been done and your employees because they can show what they’ve been working on or prove that they really worked overtime last week. More important – everything is transparent and this is crucial for a good business culture. So,grasping the importance of corporate culture will lead to do the right moves that lead to success.
Not Creating a Friendly Environment
While it may seem like something that’s common sense, you must make sure the idea of friendliness and satisfaction in the workplace is hammered in the corporate culture. In fact, it should also be included in your employee handbook, so every newcomer knows your company doesn’t tolerate bad behavior towards coworkers.
Create a culture of connection by facilitating relationships and allowing people to bring forth their social needs. People don’t want to just come at the office, sit at their desk, do their tasks, and leave. They want to feel their work matters and that they are part of a family.
Great leaders encourage friendly behavior. They also don’t mind a relaxed setting where everyone is comfortable to share their thoughts and opinions. Sure, you need to have some work etiquette and rules that enforce good behavior, but you must avoid being too stiff about it as well.
Not Applying It Equally for Everyone
Every group has its misfits, but if you allow them to act out and don’t enforce the rules specified in the corporate culture, you create an unbalanced environment and send the wrong message to the entire team.
So, even when one of the stars of your company is misbehaving, you need to start a dialogue and see why they are tempted to stray away from the rules. If their behavior is intentional, you need to make your expectations clear and describe the consequences if the situation is repeated.
Moreover, it’s important to find methods to keep your team’s enthusiasm for various projects and tasks. It’s not always easy, but it is your job as a business manager to understand everyone’s needs and wishes. After all, the only way to get things going and to build a cohesive team is through open communication.
A ‘Write it And Forget It’ Approach
Corporate culture is not something you put together once and then forget about it. As the company grows and evolves, so does the culture. So, this needs to be reflected in your documentation.
Furthermore, ideas and situations can be added. Especially when the company is well-established and its culture has been tested by several waves of employees. The business environment is constantly changing and new technological developments create new tools that need to be integrated into the culture.
Lastly, it’s important to learn from mistakes (yours and others). This way, you can continue to improve the corporate culture based on the teachings you get on the way. After all, the road to success is paved with many challenges. But think that the only way to the top will be achieved through challenges and learnings. Moreover, one of the main tasks of being the leader of a team and a business is to provide an example for those who follow you. So, the corporate culture is the perfect way to summarize your vision on how things should be done.
The business culture is one of the main elements that shape the future of a company. It will attract certain types of employees and partners. Moreover, it can be one of the elements that drive productivity and high-efficiency by creating a friendly work environment where people love to do their best.
Sadly, many small businesses don’t pay enough attention to the importance of their corporate culture because there’s always something more urgent to do. To make sure you don’t make this mistake, start planning today!
About the author
Erika is an independent copywriter and content creator with a passion for running and reading.