Culture is a business buzzword. Much is said, but many individual companies do not rigorously examine the unique elements of their own culture. A person has a personality – one’s own observable characteristics of behavior. A business culture is the collective personalities of all employees. A business culture is a compilation of all behaviors such as thinking, decision making and acting – inside the company, and then exported outside to the marketplace.
Company behaviors are observable and measurable, and workplace performance can then be improved to fulfill future corporate intentions. Business culture can be enhanced through the clarity of vision, mission, and strategic direction which is inspired and exemplified by the leaders of the company. The interactive effect of all cultural variables has a direct impact on the daily emotional engagement of employees. Employee engagement in turn affects positive or negative emotional experiences of customers, and the likelihood of future purchases.
When people describe a cultural experience, they are expressing how they feel about being in a city, country or some other group of people. When employees talk about their employer as a good place to work or not, it is about emotions. How they feel about working there, and how they feel that their jobs impact the success of the company.
Improving a business culture requires identifying causes of behavior. Are the leaders able to inspire and coach, instead of acting with detached top down management? Are employees working at jobs that use their individual strengths? Is everyone doing quality work? Are customers not only happy with the products and services you provide, but do they also feel good about spending their money with you?
Too often company leaders allocate resources to the “hard side” urgencies, but not to the “soft side” company capabilities that just might alleviate those urgencies. Company awareness about performance gaps is the beginning. Sponsoring corresponding training and development programs are the means to improved job competencies, better communication, empowered problem solving, and the overall well-being of the employees and the company.
Soft side elements cause hard side results, in that culture and financial outcomes are directly linked. Positive company cultures drive positive results; negative company cultures hurt performance.
There is your Return on Culture.
A chapter authored by Jon Halleen in this book provides yet another sound perspective on company culture, expanding upon his perspectives in the above article – Return on Culture.
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