A Positive Business Culture Is Important
September 23, 2021
Every business or organization of any size has a "culture." In the business world, many refer to this as a business culture, corporate culture, or organizational culture.
What Is a Culture?
A business culture cannot be pinpointed or defined in detail. It is, however, a culture or atmosphere that prevails about how employees behave and generally their beliefs. It is how employees and owners/managers interact with each other and with outside parties (customers, vendors, other stakeholders). Expanding this even further, a business culture can even dictate a dress code (formal or informal), hours worked (flexible or stated), office configurations (open or closed), or a philosophy of how customers are treated (priority or non-priority). A business culture might also include group lunches, on-site services, break rooms with games, or a variety of employee perks.
Overall, a business culture contributes (or doesn’t contribute) to the success of a business. A culture that embraces the mission and vision of a business positively affects the way employees work and act.
Two Different Cultures
At times, there can be actually be two different cultures within the same business...a stated culture and a hidden culture. A stated culture is what owners and managers view as the business culture...the values they perceive the employees have and how those beliefs and attitudes affect productivity, performance, success, and the long-term viability of the business. Conversely, a hidden culture is probably more accurate of the two cultures that exist in a business. This is the genuine value and behaviors of employees rather than the perceived values and behaviors seen from the eyes of management.
These two cultures can certainly be different and a complete disconnect from each other. Management, perhaps, sitting in offices will view the culture from their vantage point while the employees on the floor, in warehouses, or in the field might have a completely opposite view. Many times, management does not see or hear the true thoughts of employees making employees shake their heads in disbelief about how the business operates. Gossip, bickering, and complaining can become the norm in this situation.
Businesses normally cannot go from one level of success to a higher level of success without a positive business culture in which all values, philosophies, missions, and visions are the same. Since most employees have to work to pay bills, make mortgage payments, send children to college, etc., they want to work in an environment where they are engaged and energized. When this atmosphere prevails, businesses can transform from a current level of performance to a higher level of performance.
A transformation, however, is not automatic or quick. It takes time and energy to change a culture, especially one that has been entrenched with employees for years. Before real change can take place, there must be open communication and dialogue.
Who Says What?
It is often difficult for management to ask an employee what they think about the business or its culture and get a straight-forward, honest answer. Normally, it just doesn't work. When a neutral observer or third party gets involved, however, the feedback can be an eye-opener especially when management sees the culture one way while employees see something just the opposite...same business but with different views and opinions entirely.
If a business seeks to change its culture for the better, all employees have to be listened to from the lowest level employee all the way up. It's not the person who complains about the snacks in the vending machine that can make a difference, but it is the employee who wants to work every day in a positive environment and feel a connection with a successful business who can make a positive difference. Everyone prospers when a business grows and meets objectives.
Culture Is Here to Stay
Business culture is here to stay. It's not going away. Every business has a culture and will continue to have a culture. Whether the culture produces a positive climate is dependent on management. Creating the right culture that parallels with the mission and vision of a business is worth the effort. In creating a culture that works for a business, it must blend employee values and behaviors with the objectives of the business.
Perhaps, the business might have to make some changes such as improvement in communication, employee perks, or work/life balance that more closely matches the desires of its workforce and even competitor businesses. Likewise, some employees might need to be replaced with fresh faces and attitudes who are more inclined to fit in with the business's current culture.
It is not an easy task but the right culture for a business is essential for success. When employees feel valued and a sense of belonging and loyalty to a business, business value also increases.