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How to Influence Culture in Your Business

See also: Commercial Awareness

A company culture can be extremely important, especially at the genesis of a new company, as it sets the tone for the future and helps to outline the company’s key values and beliefs.

A culture can ultimately determine how the company will act, carry out business, and how they want the public to view their business.

Culture can also set a company apart from its competitors, especially as it will appeal to more potential employees who will be looking for a business that has a culture.

According to a survey by Bain & Company 81% of large companies, all from either Europe, North America or Asia, agreed that culture was of paramount importance when trying to build a successful brand. The findings suggested that having a happier culture at the office can boost productivity.

Despite this, less than 10% of companies actually succeed in building one, which can of course then have detrimental effects on a company’s performance as a whole.

Therefore, we are on hand to provide tips on how to create and influence the culture you want for your business, which could help to boost both the productivity and profit of your business.

Start fresh

The first step is to decide what you want the culture within your business to be.

A good way to do this is to draw on past experiences you’ve had in previous workplaces or previous cultures you’ve helped to create. Thinking about what made your past experiences positive, as well as what didn’t work quite so well will help you get more of an idea of what makes a successful culture.

Also, think about what you would want if you went into a new business, and how you would feel in the atmosphere that you’re thinking of creating within your own business.

What are your core values?

Once you’ve figured out what has worked well in the past it’s time to consider what value will be at the heart of your company culture.

In many organisations, the culture of the company is dictated by those at the top, and their values, personalities and attitudes are often reflected in this. As such, think about which aspects of your personality you’d like to include in your company culture, whether it’s a sense of fun, a message of open communication or a dedication to clients or customers.

Once the culture has been decided on, why not put it into writing? This can help create a visible goal to work towards. Discuss the subject with other staff members and gather their mindsets on it too; you never know, they might raise some ideas that you would never have considered. This is also important to ensure that, in general, the majority of your staff agree with how the culture should be so that they’re happy with how the company may change.

How to establish it

As with many things in business, communication is vital. Share your message and values with other staff members and encourage individuals to share their opinions.

It is important to get everyone on board, no matter their position in the company, and it is key that main values of the culture filter down from the very top. This will help to promote the new way of thinking, helping to get everybody is on the same page and create a wider team or company mentality, rather than individual departments.

It’s also worth checking up from time to time on how everyone in your company feels that the culture is working, and how it’s affecting their work.

Having regular meetings perhaps once every couple of months or so will be a great way to make sure that everyone continues to be happy with the culture implemented within the business, and if any changes need to be made along the way.

Maintaining the culture

When the culture has been established and maintained for a while, the beliefs and values the company holds as a result can be used for recruitment purposes.

By selecting individuals that compliment the culture of the company, you not only maintain the atmosphere you desire; you enhance it by bringing a new element to the table.

Another key way of solidifying a culture is through having fun as an organisation, as it can help to keep employees engaged. This can be done in whichever form best suits you, for example with a company-wide social event or an activity day.  This is a subtle, but useful way, of ensuring the culture is maintained and helps to boost morale.

Benefits don’t even have to end up costing the company a lot of money, as even simple things such as allowing employees to finish early one afternoon can help boost morale.

Evolve your culture

While maintaining a culture is pivotal, it isn’t always going to be sustainable in the long term.

Company cultures need to be cultivated and they often evolve over time, whether to reflect a change in key values or an increase in the work force. Don’t be afraid to adapt your culture as you go along and face changes or challenges; after all adapting it is likely to be more successful than sticking to a culture that may be outdated or no longer fit for the situation.

So… Why wait?

As we’ve already outlined, creating a company culture can be a great way of bringing your organisation together under a core set of values, beliefs and personality.

Not only will this help cement the company within the mindsets of your employees but it can also lead to your organisation gaining a reputation positively based on these values, both for potential new recruits, but also in the public’s opinion.

Ultimately, a well thought through company culture can be fun, but also have morals and help boost productivity and cohesion within the organisation. The power of creating a shared vision shouldn’t be underestimated, and can help give everyone within a company something to work towards.

So, what kind of culture do you think would best suit your organisation and how will you implement it?

About the Author

Brought to you by the team at Unum.

Unum specialises in providing employee benefits through the workplace, and is committed to helping the UK’s workforce get a back-up plan. Visit them online at: www.unum.co.uk