The desire to belong to, and be part of something bigger than ourselves is a basic human instinct. With research showing that over the span of their career, the average person spends nearly 116,000 hours at work, it should be no surprise that corporate culture, no matter the size of your business is important.
Employees who feel a sense of belonging to their company and their work have more purpose, drive, get involved more and give more discretionary effort. In fact, studies show that as much as half the difference in profit between organisations can be attributed to culture.
But still a third of UK employees leave their job because of poor culture, costing the economy £23.6 billion a year. In addition, the full impact of remote working on company culture during the pandemic is yet still to realised. Whilst some people have never felt closer, WFH has left others feeling isolated and disengaged.
Turnover is expensive and as the UK starts to face a workforce crisis with the ripple effects of Brexit and an ageing workforce, it will be culture that helps businesses win the war for talent – attracting and retaining the best people, in what may become a limited talent pool.
So, what is corporate culture and how can you get it to work in your business?
Defined in the dictionary as the beliefs and ideas that a company has and the way in which they affect how it does business and how its employees behave, or put more simply, it’s the behaviours you use and the way you do things. The shared values in how you treat each other and your clients.
Developing the right corporate culture is often on the agenda, but not in the budget as companies struggle to define whose responsibility it is. But in reality it doesn’t fit into a specific function, rather it is the responsibility of senior managers to exhibit and use the behaviours that they want their corporate culture to reflect.
Recent research by Dale Carnegie identified Culture Champions – management figures in organisations who are exceeding financial goals, low turnover and high employee engagement scores.
They discovered that these culture champions hold unique attitudes and beliefs about company culture, taking action to reinforce the things that work and changing the things that don’t.
The specific common behaviours they shared proved to be a critical element in their success.