16 January, 2015

Company Culture Doesn’t Have to be the Loch Ness Monster

Companies always seem to use “culture” as a buzzword; lots of people throw it around but nobody really knows what it is. I'm lucky enough to have worked in a few places where a corporate culture really does exist, and I'm going to share with you what I've seen and some tips for cultivating your own.
The word culture has always been somewhat of a rumour or an enigma, the Loch Ness Monster or a triple letter score using the X tile – always talked about but almost never seen. With the influx of Gen Y and Millennial hires, the way organizations run have to change to accommodate those who expect more from the places they work. Businesses need to revaluate how they look to prospective employees; gone are the days where employers own the interview. Instead they are being asked “what can your business offer me?”
Culture is more than a free pen or gift card during the holidays, and it’s more than a couple of employees meeting for a few rounds after work. It is truly a philosophy, a new way of thinking of your employer – not just as your source of income, but as a lifestyle that can define who you are, professionally, and personally.
Companies should embrace their culture as a philosophy, and incorporate it into everything they do. Culture is almost synonymous for ‘respect’ – when a company respects their employees time and effort, the employees in turn respect the employer. It’s an amazingly simple concept.
An attractive employer is one who lives its vision. Not surprisingly, trusting your employer is one of the biggest ways culture is created. Employees want a company that is transparent, honest, and open to communication, but most of all, people want to work for companies that drink their own Champagne and live the values they project.
Little things can go a long way to make employees feel like they are not just working at a company, but they are a part of a community. Employers who establish early on that new hires are entering a tight-knit-feeling community – no matter if your company is twenty or twenty thousand - are more likely to attract, obtain, and hold onto top talent.
Shockingly, employees – whether you work at a hot dog stand or a multi-billion dollar corporation – want to feel like they matter, that they’re contributing to the success of the company, and that their time and efforts are respected. It’s such an obvious not-so-secret ingredient for creating a successful corporate culture, and is so often overlooked.
The best cultures are evident when you are surrounded by people who absolutely love what they do and the people they work with. They enjoy the work and the environment in which they can contribute and feel like they are making a difference. This is the kind of atmosphere that is a vessel for employee longevity.
Sure, the job can be hard – you’re stressed, you work late, and on some days you have no idea what you are doing or how you will get everything done – but you return. Every day you come back and think “okay, let’s do this.” When you believe in your work, and when you want to contribute to a common goal, suddenly “me” turns into “we”. It’s that sense of community, and the idea that everyone works together which is the driving force behind a company’s culture, and now it doesn’t have to be 


Also on LinkedIn here.

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