Improve Company Culture to Succeed

How Businesses Can Improve Company Culture and Succeed

Company culture has become more than just an HR checklist item. It refers to a set of values and behaviors shaping a workplace. Whether you’re running an incentives program, putting together workshops to practice teamwork best practices, or simply too focused on hiring, your organization will develop a culture of its own. 

That’s right: Company culture happens naturally, and it can determine your company’s productivity, retention rate, and ability to attract top talent. So read on to learn about the types of company culture and how you can shape it to serve your goals.

What is Company Culture?

The meaning of company culture covers an organization's common principles, objectives, attitudes, and behaviors. Even if it’s never been formally addressed, it guides how employees interact, make decisions, and contribute to the overall mission and vision of the company. You can consider it to be the company’s personality.

Why Company Culture Is Fundamental for Organizational Success

Company culture can directly impact measurable company metrics, such as revenue. Organizations with the healthiest company cultures, as measured by McKinsey, generate significantly higher returns for their investors. Specifically, firms in the top 25% for culture see a 60% greater return to shareholders than the average.

This is a one-sided perspective but also impacts other stakeholders apart from investors. Take HR teams. Research around the Great Reshuffle suggests that a sound, healthy, and goal-matching company culture could help employee retention and put turnover a notch down. A clear and constructive culture could also help recruiters find adequate candidates from the get-go. If the culture is so defined and explicit, the chances of hiring a mismatch are significantly lower than if what’s expected from people joining in is not as transparent.

Types of Company Cultures

Around Y2K, business researchers categorized cultures into a matrix of four: Adhocracy, clan, hierarchy, and market cultures. These categories, known as the Quinn Culture Types, are still remarkably up to date. All these categories boil down to traditions and behaviors that are more transparently seen from an approval lens. These are the definition of culture in business.

Adhocracy Culture

In an adhocracy culture, employees can make unconventional decisions if those help the company achieve its goals—and they’ll get due props for just trying.

Has a salesperson showed up spontaneously to a prospect because she thinks it’s the best, off-the-cuff approach to land the deal before year’s end? In a company with an adhocracy culture, this kind of very specific spontaneity will be highly regarded—unless it turns out to be a gaffe and blows out the deal forever.

Clan Culture

Clan culture keeps teams tight-knit. It’s a friendly grouping, and company goals could be considered a higher purpose. If employees invite their colleagues to their daughter’s birthday party, it’s a clear sign that the clan culture runs the company—even if that example doesn’t belong to the workplace. These companies might not have clear employee careers but still have very low turnover rates.

Hierarchy Culture

In a hierarchical culture, structure is dominant, and leadership should be esteemed because it implies seniority. It values stability, delineating tasks and responsibilities within a well-defined structure. An untimely message from an intern to a C-level that might be well-regarded in an adhocracy culture might, instead, be frowned upon in the hierarchy culture—and a very well-mannered yet scolding email might come in as a response.

Market Culture

Market culture is about measurable results. It shares some characteristics with adhocracy culture. Does the marketing team still need to confirm the expected event attendees, even if the deadline is looming? Then the weekly meeting’s off and onto something else until results come in.

But, starkly contrasting to the freewheeling, spirited adhocracy culture, market culture is centered on achieving measurable outcomes by respecting a methodology. It prioritizes efficiency and competitive advantage, driving employees to focus on performance metrics and goal attainment within a results-driven framework that has been researched, documented, and tried and tested for decades. Market culture companies will pay special attention to attire and body gestures if those have been discussed in a certified handbook.

How To Improve and Maintain a Successful Company Culture

If your company is too new, remember that business culture will spring up one way or another. To have its development under control, HR teams, recruiters, and C-levels alike should cultivate the company's core values, define the culture goals, and follow these best practices.

Step 1: Choose Them and Be Specific

Let’s pick company culture examples for this one. Remember what Google’s long-standing internal motto was? “Don’t be evil.” They changed it some years ago, but that’s what employees stumbled upon when opening up their initial training sessions. “Don’t be evil” was a very specific, influential statement. What are you about to pitch, present, or do in a meeting? Is it aligned with that motto? If it’s not, then shrug it off and get onto something else.

It starts even earlier. If you define an unequivocal statement that helps boil down your culture, only the right employees will send their CVs.

Step 2: Incorporate the Company Culture Into Everyday Tasks

Don’t only tell—also show. This is effortless to do when the company’s small, but it’s harder to pull off as the business scales up. If you value transparency and the company’s culture, avoid walling colleagues off, and then, as new hires increase, make sure you can keep candidates in the loop. Even if they’re not employees still, they might be quite soon, so incorporating company culture into mundane tasks like a hiring process will help strengthen it. 

Step 3: Communicate

Let’s see it through company culture examples. Satellogic, a geospatial analytics company that designs and launches satellites, created a multi-layered Venn diagram with its core values—like being curious, and empathetic, but still getting things done—and then boiled it down into a concept: “Pirate culture.” From their standpoint, pirates are curious explorers heading into uncharted regions, and they’ll track down treasure islands only by factoring teamwork in. This is an excellent example of a clearly communicated company culture. If you’re explicit, ensure you can find a good story to communicate it.

Step 4: Make it Collaborative

Even in a hierarchical culture, allowing employees to chime in and hone company culture will work out in everyone’s favor. If HR teams or recruiters are too invested in essential tasks, such as filling in a critical position, then making culture a collaborative deal might funnel in the best ideas the company can leverage at the moment.

Company Culture Examples

Take a page from Patagonia's playbook. Their core value? “Protect our home planet.” It's more than a slogan: it's the organization's purpose and everyone involved. Employees at Patagonia feel deeply connected to this commitment, especially in their dedication to environmental stewardship. 

Everybody who buys Patagonia knows this, and consumers could be compelled to shell out additional cash because the brand has a higher purpose. That’s how a sound company culture trickles down: it keeps employees and customers engaged.

Level up Your Company Culture as You Grow

Ultimately, company culture revolves around creating a work environment that mirrors your organization's values and enables your team to do their best work. It will also bring positive results, so it’s an investment worth diving into.

As companies scale up and new people are invited on board, preserving a healthy culture can be challenging. Fortunately, we have you covered. TalentHR ensures you stay on top of the game regarding company culture as you scale up. From automated onboarding tasks that promote your values to new hires from day one and employee performance statistics, you can gather reviews, provide feedback, and set goals to ensure your company culture keeps improving. Register for free now.

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