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Why A Company Must Have Its Own Unique Work Culture!

Nisha was nervously waiting in the lobby of the most sought-after company in the IT industry for her interview to begin. Right as the clock struck 10 AM, her interviewer appeared and invited her in. He held the door open with a warm smile, was courteous and humble in his approach.

Throughout the interview, there were several probes on subjects or projects she didn’t do well in, what work she had done as a part of a team and how she would, in general, make decisions related to work. Towards the end, the interviewer showed genuine interest in Nisha’s queries and answered them patiently.

There was something about the whole experience that made Nisha feel at ease – something that doesn’t often happen during the very first interview. She had already formed a favourable opinion of the company.

What Nisha had just experienced, was the influence of a company’s culture on her decision to join the company.

In order to become a successful company that recruits and retains talent, it is important to create a unique work culture that reflects its goals and mission. Here, we take you through what this means for your company, some great examples of positive organisational culture and tips to build one successfully.

What Exactly Is Work Culture?

Work culture is a set of ideas, values and social, behavioural norms that are followed by the organisation. Companies who take pride in their culture don’t shy away from stating it explicitly when it comes to discussing their brand. Doing this ensures all employees connect on common ground.

Unique Workplace Culture

Company culture wasn’t stated or discussed until recently. During the last few decades, several companies were started by a handful of people and grew into behemoth organisations.  Many such businesses reached a point where the employees began feeling a disconnect with the company and work in general - especially if the cultural fabric of the organisation was weak.

Importance Of Building A Unique Work Culture

Every company is different from the other - there cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ work culture. It is necessary for the company to evaluate its goals and purpose, and devise a culture that attracts and retains talent, and which reflects its own unique personality. Here’s why it’s important to have a unique work culture.

1. Engagement

Employees are looking for their workplace to be meritocratic, devoid of politics and give them a feeling of striving towards a larger goal than just meeting targets. If you take the time to fulfil these hidden desires, you can get a successful and motivated workforce – the pillars of your success.

For example, it is great to make employees feel valued and appreciated with appropriate rewards.

2. Bottomline impact

According to a Gallup study, companies with higher employee engagement rate are 22% more profitable. This is because happy and engaged employees are better at customer interactions and it helps you get more revenue.

3. Recruiting

It is normal for talented employees to prefer companies which feature in the ‘Top 100 companies to work for’ list. Several of these list makers have company culture as an important factor that contributes to the rating. Several companies put a culture fit above talent while recruiting and it has become a sacrosanct factor that cannot be compromised on.

4. Retention

Good company culture is created by a happy employee who knows his/her work is valued. This makes them committed to their performance and encourages them to strive for excellence. It will also prevent him/her from actively seeking out jobs elsewhere.

5. Motivation

There is an actual equation to understand what motivates employees.

The elements of the equation: Employees enjoy their job (play), identify with their job values (purpose), and the job contributes to their career goals (potential).

(10 × the score for play) + (5 × purpose) + (1  × potential) - (1  × emotional pressure) - (5 × economic pressure) - (10 × inertia)

If a company manages to get a high score for the first three elements, they are likely to have a highly productive workforce.

The best way to do this is by recognising big and small achievements of your employees, especially when they demonstrate company culture via their work.

What Do Some Of The Most Unique Company Cultures Look Like

Out with the jargon and in with actual examples. Here’s a showcase of company cultures that we’ve loved reading about over the years!

1. Netflix

Among the many amazing things that Netflix uses to demonstrate cultural values, one is called ‘The Keeper Test’. The test asks managers, “Which of my people if they told me they were leaving for a similar job at a peer company, would I fight hard to keep at Netflix?” The culture demands that you not only motivate such people to stay but also offer a generous severance package to those who don’t.

2. Google

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, health, a stock of snacks, candies and cookies, dental, haircuts, nap pods, dry cleaning, massages, gyms, swimming pools, foosball, table tennis, off-sites and more – Free! Google leaves no stone unturned in providing awesome perks as a part of its culture. The company knows that all this comes at a cost, but it will have to bear a higher cost if employees are dissatisfied and the attrition rate increases.

Tips For Creating A Unique Work Culture

The most important part of creating a unique company culture is for the founders to have a clear and consistent vision and knowing how you would like everyone including employees and customers to view the company. Here are some cornerstones you can use to build your company culture.

1. Establish Core Values And Goals

The best way to ensure that all employees embrace the meaning and significance of the company’s values and goals is to involve them in the process of establishing them. If each employee buys into the goals set by the company, they will all strive to stick to them and focus all their efforts on achieving the goals. It is necessary to ask them for their suggestions and consider them when devising the work culture.

2. Create Fun Work Spaces

Considering that millennials form a major chunk of the workforce, and also spend most of their time at work, it helps to create a workspace that allows them to express themselves. This can be done by encouraging them to decorate their own space at work. Additionally, given the role work friendships play in improving productivity, creating an informal atmosphere at work makes employees comfortable and relaxed enough to communicate and build meaningful bonds with their co-workers. Creating enticing breakout rooms and collaboration zones is a great way to foster this.

3. Plan Team Outings

Allowing the team to bond outside of the workplace helps everyone to get to know each other on a more personal level, an opportunity that doesn’t always present itself during the daily grind. Group outings can be as simple as a monthly dinner, signing up for a corporate sports team, or planning a trip. You can even assign one or two team members to plan the activity each month, which will help ensure that the group activities are viewed as fun, not boss-mandated!

4. Volunteer As A Team

Getting involved as a group and giving back to the community, is a great way to strengthen the connection between the employees. Additionally, it promotes a socially-conscious image of the company, along with establishing relationships with local businesses.

5. Promote Communication And Transparency

An internal blog is a great tool for sharing internal news and knowledge throughout the company. It’s simple enough so everyone can get involved and it opens a transparent, two-way communication channel within your team, no matter where they are.

Also, people like to know what is going on with the company. Being involved with the current affairs makes the team more engaged and productive.

6. Hire Carefully

It is important to identify a work culture to simplify the hiring process. You need a person who will fit in and accept the set of values that you wish to promote. If you find a person who can boost your company culture, don't think too much and hire him/her immediately. Additionally, it also becomes easier to understand when an employee isn’t fitting in.

7. Embrace Change

Company culture is an evolving organism. Ideally, your core values and the things important to you should remain the same or get upgraded for the better. However, culture, the way of doing things in your company, is subject to change. Don’t be afraid of changes, embrace them. Update your company culture from time to time and do it whenever you notice that it is better to do things differently.

Company culture, when defined and executed successfully will be the core differentiator between you and your nearest competitor. It’ll be why your employees will stick to you even if someone else offers higher pay or benefits. In the end, it will be what your company will be known for.

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