WHAT IS A COMPANY’S CULTURE
Culture according to the Oxford Learners Dictionary can be defined in our context as the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society.
From the foregoing we may deduce that culture guides how people relate with each other, the ideas they hold dear, and the activities they perform in their physical space. Every group, organization, or any gathering of people who co-exist or co-habit for a considerable period of time would develop over time some form of code of conduct which includes language, dressing that defines who they have evolved to become.
The thing is culture at times may just evolve even without a conscious drive in this direction, as people would naturally develop habits and certain patterns of behavior that make their lives easier and less tedious. People also have an innate desire for individuality and identity and would therefore seek to distinguish themselves from other groups or societies as the case may be.
Interestingly even a hermit in the remotest parts of the woods would over time develop a routine that consists of habits he would have developed as he evolves.
As people come together though, their individuality may be moderated by the larger expectations in that society’s culture. This happens because belief systems are handed down from one generation to the next. In order to fit into a particular society without scruples, individual behavior needs to largely be in harmony with the norm.
One feature about culture is that after a while it may become an inhibitor if it fails to recognize the expedience of adaptation to existing realities. Not all elements of culture are in the interest of current realities and examples abound of harmful practices that have crept into a people’s culture.
Every organization must identify her vision which for all purposes is the big picture. The culture of an organization must be in tandem with her vision. Culture also incorporates other values which the organization holds dear for instance team work, performance, prudence and the like.
DESCRIBING COMPANY CULTURE
An effective culture is one that encourages members of staff to be non-traditional in their approach to work; yes there are certain aspects that must follow a set pattern, aspects that pertain to finance, inventory and control. But team members should be allowed to solve problems using ideas that may be smarter than what the routine has been.
The advantage of this approach is that we have a breed of a work force that have no qualms to embracing change in policies, as long as these are well outlined.
Every organization has her way of getting the job done, however the better performers have people who are daily thinking of improvement. Peoples’ tastes change over time and for a business to remain in business she should be sensitive to these changes and adapt in her service delivery to meet the customers’ needs.
IBM lost her market share to Microsoft because they were unable to envisage the impending explosion in customers’ demand for the PC. Microsoft saw ahead and was better prepared to embrace the change. IBM thought it was going to be business as usual, they paid dearly for this.
An organizations’ footprint in the market place is the sum total of her employees’ output and this output is a product of their thought process and inventiveness. It is in the interest of an organization to foster a culture that encourages team work, flexibility and ingenuity at work.
ENCOURAGING INNOVATION IN THE WORKPLACE
An organization that encourages rather than stifles resourcefulness will attract and keep better hands, which in turn make for a better work environment, an environment that is productive. A productive work environment means the customer is better serviced. It has been established that employees who are treated better actually treat the businesses’ customers better. So the next time you encounter poor service it could just be that employee has an overbearing supervisor!
In all a healthy company culture is a win-win for all parties involved, from the business owner to the manager, employees and customers. So what are those ingredients for a productive work place culture? These should make the list: team spirit, recognition, responsibility, rewards, integrity, innovation, commitment, timeliness, empathy, professionalism. These are just some of the necessities, you may think of others that are equally vital.
Every business should strive to develop a culture that is worth working in. This should be fluid and mindful of the changes that take place in the market place. There is nothing harmful in keeping a company culture that has endured many years; as long as it is sustained for its contribution to the company’s good and not just for the sake of tradition.
This is why continuous feedback and monitoring is quite necessary in every sphere of the business, this is important as we don’t want to have outdated policies now do we? Most people intuitively recognize a practice that has gone stale and is in need of some invigoration.
Flexibility and change are crucial considerations to ensure are incorporated in our culture. We should have a culture that incorporates this mantra: “I embrace change; I will not become a dinosaur”.