Your company’s internal culture could very well make or break things. Though similar in many things and several ways, we are ultimately all of us equally very different beings. So that means that the individual ethos of everyone at a company should ideally be in harmony with everyone else. This will, in turn, define, direct and sustain the larger, collective company ethos.
Of course, this so-called company culture does not happen by sheer luck, or at least not often. Being able to work together in concert tends not to occur through serendipity; more often than not, the company, through its core purpose, goals, and objectives, can communicate its culture very lucidly.
Several companies go the extra mile and take exceedingly careful steps to ensure that their company is neither missed nor ill-communicated. These days, it is common to go through a work application and discover copious information centred around company culture. Progressively, we see that leaders strive to be more intentional, inclusive, and equitable in handling any (internal) conflict or confusion.
Even though the term “work culture“ may sound informal, it does stem from a place of purposeful design. Many leaders have realised the salient truth that they may have the best-skilled workers. Yet, if a professionally toxic atmosphere at work progresses, they can forget about being able to reach optimal levels of work output.
In short, and to conclude this anecdote, social cohesion that allows bosses and managers to reprimand in love and workers to receive this cordially is precisely what the doctor ordered for steady productivity and cultivating a strong sense of ownership in company goals or the cause for which a company exists!
What is company culture?
So now the big question is, what precisely is company culture? According to Built in: “Company culture can more simply be described as the shared ethos of an organization. It’s the way people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going and what they’re doing to get it there. Collectively, these traits represent the personality — or culture — of an organization.“
Thriving businesses have grasped the significance of culture in a company and how it can increase profits, strengthen an equitable work environment, and boost employee morale. In addition, the global pandemic has dramatically influenced how companies conduct business today. Therefore, the need to capitalise on employees and fully embrace the need for culture in the workplace is quintessential to companies.
As more experts embrace working remotely, businesses are working to create a conscientious work environment that not only pinpoints the value of culture but takes the needed step to implement strategies to lay out a sustainable culture.
As we peruse this, we can begin to take retrospective notes on how we have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to what our company ethos has become. For example, do the people we work with feel a sense of togetherness or purpose in what they do? Have we created a space where our activities move beyond completing assignments and checking off boxes?
Employers ought to realise that they usually have access to people for most of their day (spent at work); their core focus should be ensuring that they move past the formulaic nature of work to make it more inclusive and international.
This notion of cultivating an intentional and happy place that makes for good company culture is so essential that economists have gotten involved in analysing workplace productivity when employees are happy and feeling well purposed in their work. In 2021, a study was conducted by economists at the University of Warwick. It was so conclusive that it was published in the Journal of Labour Economics. The following is a synopsis of how the study went:
“This is the first causal evidence using randomized trials and piece-rate working. The study, to be published in the Journal of Labour Economics, included four different experiments with more than 700 participants.
During the experiments, some participants were either shown a comedy movie clip or treated to free chocolate, drinks, and fruit. Others were questioned about recent family tragedies, such as bereavement, to assess whether lower levels of happiness were later associated with lower levels of productivity”.
Professor Oswald said: “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37%, they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier pays off.”
Dr. Sgroi added: “The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.”
Dr. Proto said the research had implications for employers and promotion policies.
He said: “We have shown that happier subjects are more productive, the same pattern appears in four different experiments. This research will provide some guidance for management in all kinds of organizations, they should strive to make their workplaces emotionally healthy for their workforce.”
Why is company culture essential?
If there were doubts concerning the correlation between work culture and productivity at work, this study featured above should accurately put it to rest.
In taking another look at some numbers concerning this topic, the company TeamStage states the following as the top company culture statistics they discovered in their study:
- Company culture is an essential factor for 46% of job seekers.
- Married candidates value culture more than their single colleagues.
- 94% of entrepreneurs and 88% of job seekers say that a healthy culture at work is vital for success.
- 86% of job seekers avoid companies with bad reputations.
- Millennials prioritise ‘people and culture fit’ above everything else.
- Team leaders have the highest impact on company culture.
- Having highly engaged employees can lead to a 202% increase in performance.
- 69% of employees would work harder if they received more recognition.
- Around 63% of US companies find it harder to retain than to hire workers.
- A culture that attracts high-calibre employees leads to a 33% revenue increase.
According to the Harvard Business Review, creating a positive and healthy company culture primarily rests on these six principles:
- Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends;
- Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling;
- Avoiding blame and forgiving mistakes;
- Inspiring one another at work;
- Emphasising meaningfulness at work;
- Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity.
They elaborate further in the following:
Foster social connections. A large number of empirical studies confirm that positive social connections at work produce highly desirable results. For example, people get sick less often, recover twice as fast from surgery, experience less depression, learn faster and remember longer, tolerate pain and discomfort better, display more mental acuity, and perform better on the job.
Show empathy. As a boss, you have a considerable impact on your employees’ feelings. For example, a brain-imaging study found that when employees recalled a boss that had been unkind or un-empathic, they showed increased activation in areas of the brain associated with avoidance and negative emotion. Conversely, the opposite was true when they recalled an empathic boss.
Go out of your way to help. Ever had a manager or mentor who took a lot of trouble to help you when they did not have to? Chances are you have remained loyal to that person to this day. Jonathan Haidt at New York University’s Stern School of Business shows that when leaders are not just fair but self-sacrificing, their employees are moved and inspired to become more loyal and committed to themselves. Consequently, they are more likely to go out of their way to be helpful and friendly to other employees, thus creating a self-reinforcing cycle.
Encourage people to talk to you – especially about their problems. Not surprisingly, trusting the leader has your best interests at heart improves employee performance. But first, employers should make employees feel safe. Research by Amy Edmondson of Harvard demonstrates that a culture of safety, where leaders are inclusive and humble and encourage their staff to speak up and ask for help, leads to better learning and higher performance. Moreover, rather than creating fear of negative consequences, feeling safe in the workplace helps encourage the spirit of experimentation.
Since we, as leaders of companies and organisations, invest substantially in training and other skills courses for our colleagues and employees, we should also heavily invest in the company culture we cultivate. If we need to research and learn how to do this, all the better.
According to what we know, what companies like Google and Apple show and what the research tells us, cultivating a good and intentional company culture will bring happiness and social cohesion among your colleagues and staff and significantly increase productivity and profitability.
I hope you enjoyed the read. Hit me up and let’s keep the conversation going! I read all the feedback you send. Also, feel free to throw at me topics you’d like to read or hear my thoughts on. You can always head to my Calendly at calendly.com/maxwellampong or connect with me your way through my Linktree: https://linktr.ee/themax.
Have a blessed week!
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Warwick News and Evens (https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/new_study_shows/)
Harvard Business Review (https://hbr.org/2015/12/proof-that-positive-work-cultures-are-more-productive)
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Dr. Maxwell Ampong is an Investment Strategist with Maxwell Investments Group (MIG). MIG has a disciplined approach towards executing ESG-centric Sustainability Development Models, engages in Local & International Trade of Agricultural Commodities, and Market-Acquisition Strategies. He writes about trending and relevant economic topics, and general perspective pieces.