Continuing on my trend of talking about business fundamentals, I’m going to talk about organizational culture. Every company has one. Organizational culture is the values shared by all associates of the organization. It is the set of implicit assumptions that the group has and these assumptions determine how the group perceives, thinks about, and reacts to its environment. Basically, it’s what it’s like to be a member of that organization. It gives employees a sense of identity, belonging, and commitment.
Having an organizational culture is unavoidable, because it just happens. That is why it is important to work to establish a culture that promotes productivity, teamwork and happiness for your employees (and yourself!). Some ways to influence, create or change an organization’s culture:
- Formal statements, such as the company’s vision, mission, and values.
- The design and layout of the physical space/work environment.
- Slogans, acronyms, sayings, etc.
- The criteria for rewards, recognition, advancement. For example, at Zappos, customer service reps are rewarded for spending MORE time on the phone with customers. They are promoting a culture of friendly, helpful, customer service.
- Organizational structure, systems and processes.
- Leading behavior, such as modeling, reactions during crisis, etc.
It is amazing how organizational culture can vary from company to company. If you’ve worked at more than one company, I’m sure you have experienced different organizational cultures. When a organization has a distinct culture, you will know if you are a “fit” for that company based on how you feel in that culture.