Your core values – Core values are certainly part of your culture, but until you put them into action they’re just words on paper. In fact, core values can negatively impact culture if they aren’t adhered to. Employees will see this as the company paying lip service and failing to live up to its own standards.
Your perks and benefits – Ping pong tables and beer on tap can be great, assuming they represent what your employees really care about, but perks and benefits are not a substitute for strong company culture.
The yardstick by which all candidates should be measured – Hiring for cultural fit has become a hot topic over the past few years, but we’re already seeing companies shift away from this line of thought. Hiring people that align with your culture makes sense on the surface, but too many companies use this “metric” as a crutch. Many companies have pivoted to a “cultural add” model, wherein they look for candidates that align with the most important elements of their culture, but will also bring their own unique traits to the table.
At the deepest level, an organization’s culture is based on values derived from basic assumptions about the following:
- Human nature. Are people inherently good or bad, mutable or immutable, proactive or reactive? These basic assumptions lead to beliefs about how employees, customers and suppliers should interact and how they should be managed.
- The organization’s relationship to its environment. How does the organization define its business and its constituencies?
- Appropriate emotions. Which emotions should people be encouraged to express, and which ones should be suppressed?
- Effectiveness. What metrics show whether the organization and its individual components are doing well? An organization will be effective only when the culture is supported by an appropriate business strategy and a structure that is appropriate for both the business and the desired culture.
At the heart of organizations’ cultures are commonly shared values. None is right or wrong, but organizations need to decide which values they will emphasize. These common values include:
- Outcome orientation. Emphasizing achievements and results.
- People orientation. Insisting on fairness, tolerance and respect for the individual.
- Team orientation. Emphasizing and rewarding collaboration.
- Attention to detail. Valuing precision and approaching situations and problems analytically.
- Stability. Providing security and following a predictable course.
- Innovation. Encouraging experimentation and risk-taking.
- Aggressiveness. Stimulating a fiercely competitive spirit.
Great article on company culture benefits: Reduce Employee Turnover With a Great Company Culture
Is safety a part of your workplace culture? I’m not talking about throwing up a nice slogan, a couple fancy posters, and playing lip service to it, but true cultural safety.
Consider the following elements of a safety culture:
- Buy-in from all stakeholders. All employees, contractors, partners and other stakeholders, at all levels, must be committed to safety.
- Processes for hazard prevention and control. All stakeholders should understand how to prevent and control safety hazards using best practices and workplace safety technologies. It is also important that each person knows that these processes are part of everyone’s duties.
- Ongoing training. To keep knowledge and techniques fresh, stakeholders should attend regular safety training.
- Successes are celebrated. Stakeholders should be recognized or rewarded for their commitment to safety.
When safety is a part of your corporate culture, every stakeholder recognizes its importance. It becomes part of your organization’s continuous process improvement. And, most importantly, it’s seen as an investment, rather than a cost, since proactive safety measures have the power to save significant amounts of money, time and other resources.