Assessing and Protecting Company Culture
on April 18, 2023
By Kelsey Burke, SHRM-CP, VP, Human Resources, VGM Group, Inc.
Organizational culture has become an even more critical consideration for employers in recent years. A positive workplace culture is an essential factor for any organization that wants to achieve success in today’s highly competitive labor market and business environment. While culture may seem intangible at the surface, it can and should be measured. Employers must understand how to assess and protect their organization’s culture to ensure it remains a source of competitive advantage.
Building a Positive Company Culture
Culture refers to the organization’s values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors which determine how employees interact with each other, their work, and the customers they serve. A positive workplace culture can significantly influence employee engagement, innovation, productivity, retention, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, the bottom line. It aids in increased brand reputation and attracting top talent—employees who are resilient, self-starters, and better equipped to meet the challenges of today’s business needs.
In order to build a positive workplace culture, start by aligning culture with strategy. Work to identify the values and behaviors that support the organization’s goals and reinforce those values throughout the company. Keep in mind, you will also want to ensure the culture is flexible enough to adapt to changing market conditions and business priorities.
Ask yourself, “How do we want our employees to show up each day? How do we want them to interact with each other and with customers? What is important and unique about working at our organization?”
As an example, at VGM, we value employee-ownership and having fun while we work. Those are two of our eight Power of One Principles: Find the Fun in Your Day and Own Your Ownership. We regularly reinforce our values in company-wide communication channels such as emails, vlogs, newsletters, and social media platforms where we celebrate stories of employees embodying our Power of One Principles.
Cultivating Culture From the Beginning
When hiring, seek employees who share the company’s values and can contribute to the organization’s culture positively. Use behavioral-based interviews and assessment tools. Hiring for cultural or value-based fit is equally, if not more, important as hiring for skill.
During onboarding, capitalize on the opportunity to teach newcomers your value system, norms, and desired organizational behaviors. It is important to help new employees become part of the social networks in the organization and make sure that they have early job experiences that reinforce the culture.
Investing in Employee Development
In addition to building connections, when considering a positive workplace culture in today’s climate, investing in employee development, offering flexibility, encouraging open communication, recognizing achievements, and focusing on employee well-being should be priorities. In order to protect the culture you’ve created, take swift action to address any behaviors that are inconsistent with the values of the organization and reinforce positive actions.
In the current labor market, it is more important than ever to remain relevant and competitive as an employer. By prioritizing a positive workplace culture, organizations can create an environment that drives engagement, productivity, retention, and ensures a competitive advantage.
Measuring for Success
You have likely heard the saying, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” There are several gauges that can help measure or assess your company’s current culture:
- Track and analyze employee data
- Listen to the voice of your employees
- Observe behaviors
- Collect 360° leadership feedback
Protecting the Company Culture
Cultural measurement is an ongoing process. Measure your company culture regularly, use it to gain insights, and act on findings. Maintaining a positive workplace culture requires a deliberate and strategic effort from organizations. Like reputation, it takes years to build a great culture but only a few missteps to cause significant disruption to the effort.
It is imperative to measure and manage culture carefully. As Simon Sinek said, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” Positive customer experiences, the loyalty of your employees, and your bottom line all depend on assessing and protecting a positive organizational culture.
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This article was originally featured in the VGM Playbook: Safeguarding Your Future in DMEPOS. To read the full article and more like this, download your copy of the playbook today!