How a Healthy Corporate Culture Can Reshape an Entire Business
In this article, we focus on respondents’ opinions regarding the ideal company culture. The research consisted of an online survey conducted on our platform questia.ro which was active between May 22nd and May 23rd 2018. The survey covered 500 respondents, with a +/- 4% margin of error when reported to the Romanian online population.
This must be one of the questions being asked at each job interview: “What would be your ideal company culture?”.
According to Investopedia, “corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company's employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. A company's culture will be reflected in its dress code, business hours, office setup, employee benefits, turnover, hiring decisions, treatment of clients, client satisfaction and every other aspect of operations.”
Inc. reports that the concept of corporate culture was cultivated in the 1960s along with the social responsibility movement which was the consequence of environmentalism, consumerism, and public hostility to multinationals.
An organization’s culture consists of the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that employees share and use daily in their work. It impacts how employees see themselves as part of the company, how they describe their work and how they understand the business.
According to TLNT (Talent Management and HR), the top 12 attributes of a strong culture are:
- Respect/ Fairness
- Trust/ Integrity
- Change/ Adaptability
- Results Orientation
- Employee Engagement
- Responsibility/ Accountability
- Learning Opportunities
- Meaning/ Purpose
- Decision Making
- Goals/ Strategy
A Columbia University study regarding the quality of life discovered that the turnover at US companies with rich cultures is 13.9% while for poor company cultures is 48.8%. Moreover, employees who believe their workplaces have a positive culture are much happier in their careers and happy employees prove to be 12% more productive than average workers, so having a positive company culture benefits both the employees and the businesses.
Furthermore, TruPath Research states that 64% of all employees do not feel they have a strong work culture and only 21% of employees feel strongly valued at work. Also, there's 2.5x more revenue for companies with engaged employees versus competitors with low engagement levels.
A healthy company culture may increase workers’ productivity and commitment, while an unhealthy culture may very well inhibit a company's growth or even contribute to business failure. Many entrepreneurs, when first starting a new business, quite naturally tend to take on a great deal of responsibility themselves. As the company grows and adds employees, however, the authoritarian management style that the business owner successfully used in a very small company can become detrimental. Instead of attempting to retain control over all aspects of the business, the small business owner should get everybody else in the organization to do their job while creating the necessary environment in order to do so.
In a healthy culture, employees view themselves as part of a team and are satisfied when they help the overall company succeed. When employees sense that they are contributing to a successful group effort, their level of commitment and productivity, and thus the quality of the company's products or services, are likely to improve. In contrast, employees in an unhealthy culture tend to view themselves as individuals, distinct from the company, and focus on their own needs. They only perform the most basic requirements of their jobs, and their main and perhaps only motivation is their paycheck.
According to business.com’s article, “Why Company Culture Matters More to Employee Than Pay”, the approach proposed by Skinner in 1938 as rewarding the good behavior and punishing the bad behavior is not the best way to encourage productivity at work. Maslow (1943) explains that every person has a hierarchy of needs which are ranked on a scale based on how necessary they are. The base formed by the most necessary needs includes the basic needs of survival: warmth, food and health. These needs can be satisfied and secured by having enough money. In order to help employees achieve higher levels on the hierarchy of their needs, they need to provide people with a safe place to work and a job that is secure. By creating a positive organizational culture that people are willing to accept, employees can secure the needs for friendship, self-esteem, confidence and achievement. If people feel fulfilled, respected and appreciated in what they do, they are more likely to remain motivated and loyal to the company for which they work.
Companies that don’t value their employees’ skills have much lower employee retention rates than other companies that do. Moreover, 89% of managers think their employees leave for higher salaries when in fact 80-90% of employees actually leave for other reasons.
The Muse defines a few steps a business can follow in order to cultivate a winning company culture.
- Define your culture: this step includes figuring out the values that are important to the company
- Reward and recognize: defining incentives for the hard-working employees so that they feel valued and respected
- Get social: encourage social interactions between employees by organizing holiday parties, game nights, teambuilding, etc.
- Promote self-care: make sure that employees can take care of themselves both inside the office and out (working remotely, gym membership, etc.)
- Emphasize purpose: motivate workers by letting them know how their work contributes to the organization as a whole
Entrepreneur created a list with 10 example of companies with outstanding cultures. Google, Twitter and Facebook made the list. Twitter stands out with rooftop meetings, environment-oriented team, free meals, yoga classes. Employees are motivated and happy to be able to work with smart people in a friendly working environment. Google offers free meals to its employees, trips and parties, financial bonuses, open presentations by high-level executives, gyms, a dog-friendly environment and the list could go on. Facebook also rewards its workers with food, stock options, open office space, on-site laundry, a focus on teamwork and open communication, a competitive atmosphere that fosters personal growth and learning and great benefits.
More than half of the respondents (55%) are employed with high and medium education (35% employed with high education while 20% are employed with medium education). However, almost one-quarter of them (24.2%) are not currently working either for being unemployed or for being retired, students, on maternal leave or managing household activities.
Most of our respondents have never worked in a corporation (69%).
Asked about what the attributes of the ideal organization are, more than three-quarters of respondents generally agreed that the ideal company is based on:
- Collaboration and mutual trust (generally agreed by 90.8% of respondents)
- Achievement and profit (generally agreed by 89.5% of respondents)
- Structure and stability (generally agreed by 87.0% of respondents)
- Planning and caution (generally agreed by 83.4% of respondents)
- Power and profit (generally agreed by 76.0% of respondents)
However, more than half of the respondents (53.3%) exclude the fact that an ideal organization is based on fun and feelings and emotions. Also, there are mixed feelings regarding whether an ideal company focuses on exploration and tolerance (with 55.9% agreeing and 44.1% disagreeing) or compassion and tolerance (with 59.1% agreeing and 40.9% disagreeing).
We then asked our responders how they would feel working in an ideal organization.
Most of responders perceive working in the ideal company as being a part of a dynamic project (81.8%), being in a community or part of a big family (79.2%) and being a member of a machine that works smoothly, meaning that their work is efficient and the results are the ones desired (75.7%). The feeling of being in a meticulously planned action is experienced to a lesser extent, by 69.9% of respondents.
People tend to be a little undecided regarding being a part of the community or an idealistic cause in the ideal organization, with 48.2% agreeing and 51.9% disagreeing.
Regarding the feeling of competition in the ideal company, people are rather agreeing to it (with 57.7% agreeing and 42.3% disagreeing with this statement). Oppositely, there is a slight tendency for disagreement regarding meritocracy at the workplace (with 41.5% agreeing and 58.6% disagreeing).
Interestingly, 70.9% of responders tend to believe that the ideal company is no place for feeling like being at a celebration.
Don’t miss Questia Group's articles. Find out more about consumer behaviors, attitudes and beliefs regarding numerous topics, from marketing related subjects to social ones.