A company culture can be vitally important for both employees and the organisation itself. With an unhealthy company culture, employees perform their duties with the goal of gaining their salary, their holiday or health benefits.
A healthy culture encourages employees to work together as a team, regardless of specific job duties; and this healthy culture can improve the overall performance of a business.
Organisational culture can be defined as the personality of a company, outlining what a company stands for from an employee’s perspective, including company goals, values, mission, ethics, expectations and work environment.
Potential job recruits should be assessed by their ability to fit with the company culture – based on how they’re dressed or act – as well as how their values ‘fit’ with the company’s ethics.
Understanding a company’s culture is “significant on many levels,” according to the Human Relations Institute and Clinics (HRIC), which has stated that this understanding can lead to job satisfaction, work engagement, productivity and the longevity of employees within a company.
“This concept is useful to take into account for leaders, current employees, the selection of new employees and those looking to join an organisation,” Nicola Turner, organizational psychology, HRIC, said. “It is important for organisations to define their company culture or decide what it should be, and then move employees toward the desired culture,” she added.
Aligning culture with goals
Several levels of culture have been outlined by psychologist Edgar Schein, who identified ‘understanding visible artifacts/tangible objects (e.g. dress code, furniture), beliefs and values (e.g. how the members represent the organisation both to themselves and to others) and basic underlying assumptions (taken-for-granted behaviours)’.
It’s also important for an organisation to recognise the company culture and align this culture with the overall business goals of the company.
“If leaders advocate ideas that do not match the deeper values of the company, then trouble may arise,” Turner continued.
“It is important to mention that when assessing company culture there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ culture as such, for example, some companies favour a more casual working environment versus a formal one. What matters is the alignment between the company culture and businesses goals,” she concluded, adding her top tips:
- For employees: When looking to join a new organisation, try to understand the company culture using the information available – you may want to look online or use your network. It is important that you feel it is right for you, as well as you being a good ‘fit’ for the potential company.
- For employees: During the first few months on the job, actively learn as much about company culture from the dress code to management styles to values. This will help you integrate into the company more successfully.
- For management: If you are in a leadership position, make sure not to dismiss company culture when deciding business goals.
Note: This article was originally published on Accelerate SME and it has been republished on Zawya with full copyright permission.
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