By: Lea Hensel, UNI Business and Community Services
When you think of company culture, what comes to mind? Big employers like Google, Facebook or Zappos? Companies that have ping-pong tables in the rec room, outdoor basketball courts or a coffee barista on-hand to keep employees caffeinated continuously throughout the day. Or maybe you think of more intangible things like letting employees set their own hours or work from home.
Those items above being tied into company culture is one of the biggest misconceptions about it. Those examples above are your perks and benefits and just because a company may have some of those in place, does not mean they have a handle on providing great company culture for their employees.
There are a lot of different definitions for company culture out there but what is consistent is that the culture you create starts with your core values. Remember those from your business plan? That’s where company culture begins and lives.
You may be wondering why it matters. If you have your core values, why do you need to focus on company culture? Last year Forbes reported on a new study
from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business that showed executives overwhelmingly agreed that company culture strongly affects performance and value of a business. And it really comes down to one aspect - your employees. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in the startup phase or well established, your employees are key to growing your business and to get the best of your employees, they need to be invested in the company.
So in the startup phase, this means making sure everyone is on the same page with where the company is now, where you want it to go, and how you plan to get there. Keeping this in tune with those values you set in your business plan can improve not only employee satisfaction but also employee retention and attracting new talent as your business grows.
And of all facets that can make up the company culture, the most important is communication. Be sure the core values and open communication are weaved into everyday operations. That open communication is going to allow management and employees alike to resolve problems, build trust and remain focused on staying true to the core values you have set for your business.
So whatever type of company culture you have created or want to create - innovation, inclusion, team-focused, great work-life balance, or any other emphasis - remember, it starts with your core values, continues with good communication, and grows with your employees.