Following our post on Corporate Culture – Making or Breaking Performance, we have received interesting feedback and, as a result, we are delving deeper into the matter. No matter how structured and organised a business is, success also depends on having a healthy corporate culture that encourages good and ethical behaviour. In this post we explore 4 aspects that an organisation needs to address in order to nurture a positive culture.
1. The company’s view of customers
The culture within a firm is influenced by the way the customer is viewed internally. For example, are customers viewed as persons with needs or as partners in value creation? Or is the customer only perceived as a cash cow to be milked? The point here is having the awareness of how behaviour towards the customers by leaders in the business may influence the behaviour of employees towards the business itself. If the message is that the customer is there to be exploited, it should not come as a surprise that ‘exploitative’ behaviour towards the customer and the firm becomes part of the company culture.
2. The company’s view of employees
The culture of a firm is also influenced by the way employees are viewed and treated. How important is employees’ career progression, welfare and work life balance for the firm? Are the employees within your firm working with your organization because they are finding personal meaning and social value in their role? Or are they in their job only for the money? Unfortunately, if employees are in your organisation only for the money, it is not good enough for the engagement levels and commitment of the employees. It is known that lower engagement and lower commitment to the firm, usually translate into lower commitment to clients, lower productivity and higher costs.
3. The real values of the company
The real values of the company do not necessarily refer to the values written in the values statement, but to how things get done within the firm. The first two points have already highlighted the importance of the values of the firm towards customers and employees. The real values of a business extend further to ethical and honest behaviour towards authorities, regulatory bodies, other competition and to society in general.
4. How performance is measured
The values of a business are also demonstrated and enforced by how performance is measured. Financial performance targets are important, but targets can also be based on other performance criteria, such as customer service or customer satisfaction. Such criteria are more likely to motivate employees to serve customers, rather than just having financial targets. There is a danger if performance is measured solely in financial terms and pay and bonuses are keyed to this performance measurement. In such circumstances, staff are more likely to put the interests of the company and themselves above the interests of customers.
Corporate culture has an impact on internal and external communication, relations and interaction. It is therefore a strong driving force that impacts relations with employees, customers, suppliers, partners, regulators and the society in which that business operates. Contact CMG Consulta should you be interested in discussing your organisation’s culture with us.