Getting your company or corporate culture right is by far one of the most challenging mechanisms for any company. For some odd reason, we seem to think that company culture always comes from the top, from the CEO, and remains unchanged. Over time, as employees come and go, even changes at the CEO level will cause your culture to change into something very different from what it was way back when. The Oxford Dictionary gives this definition: ‘The mode of behavior within a particular group.’ Even this definition implies change; if the group members change, so too does the company culture that has developed along the way. Fair enough. Sewn through the company like a common thread, the company culture should touch every aspect of your business and be predominant in the eyes of your stakeholders. So how is company culture woven into the fabric of a company? Why is it even important?
At its most basic, multiple levels of a company are affected by what we have all come to call “company culture.” This often includes things like hours of work, dress code, employee development and promotion, the way stakeholder interactions take place, (like your customers!). How communications function, or in some cases don’t function, sends a strong message about company culture to everyone inside and outside of your company. Even values such as quality, authenticity and honesty fall under the scope of company culture. Company culture can even denigrate into cult status, where in the end everyone loses (think Enron!). Or from the auto industry in America where a company CEO announced his next vehicle of choice will be electric and not a fossil-fuel consuming polluter! I bet that revelation sent shockwaves through the company at every level!
Become a company of choice, a place where people want to work and people want to eat, shop and enjoy your services. Here is a challenge for you. When was the last time you thought about the company or corporate culture in your establishment? What does it say about your company?
Start by defining the culture at your company … it’s a heady topic, so try to go beyond the obvious of its “really good” or it’s “bad.” Dig in there and see what answers you get with these probing questions.
Asking your employees the same questions will go a long way in helping you to define your company culture as well as identifying weaknesses and strengths to build on in your establishment. Give these questions a try and see what happens!
Mike has worked across Canada as a food and beverage professional and currently divides his time between writing and teaching people how to start and run their own businesses.