A company’s culture is the sum of values, beliefs, and behaviors shared by the members of an organization. It’s the seemingly invisible force that shapes the work environment and influences employee behavior.
Here at Up Your Culture, we often say that every company has a culture, whether they know it or not.
What we’re getting at with that phrase is if you take a good look at how your own company operates, you’ll find the hallmarks of either a culture built on a foundation of intention and care or one that merely happened by accident.
- Intentional company culture is a deliberate effort by leaders to define, communicate, and reinforce the principles that guide the company and its employees.
- Accidental company culture, on the other hand, is a byproduct of neglect or oversight. When leaders fail to actively shape the culture, it can develop haphazardly, influenced by individual behaviors and ad-hoc decisions.
Whichever scenario you find within the confines of your own organization, you most likely, for better or for worse, feel the “symptoms” of your company’s culture every day.
Here are some signs to be on the lookout for to determine whether your organization has a culture formed by intention or accident.
Signs of an Accidental Culture
- Lack of Clear Values: Employees struggle to articulate the company's core values or mission. They may not even know what their company’s values are in the first place!
- Inconsistency from Leadership: Leaders fail to embody and reinforce the desired culture. Inconsistencies arise, causing confusion among employees.
- High Turnover Rates: You witness dissatisfaction among employees, leading to higher rates of turnover and difficulty in retaining top talent.
- Poor Communication: There is inadequate communication about expectations, goals, and values, which contributes to the unintentional formation of a culture that doesn’t align with the company's vision.
Signs of an Intentional Culture:
- Defined Core Values: Employees are able to articulate and communicate the company's core values. These values guide decision-making at all levels.
- Leaders Lead by Example: Leadership plays a crucial role in shaping culture. They embody the desired values and behaviors, setting a standard for the rest of the organization.
- Foster Open Communication: Channels are present for transparent communication. Employees are encouraged to voice their opinions, and they contribute to the ongoing development of the company culture.
- Invest in Employee Development: Opportunities for skill development and career growth are provided, demonstrating a commitment to employee well-being.
- Recognize and Reward: Employees who exemplify the company’s values are acknowledged and rewarded. Positive behaviors that contribute to the intentional culture are reinforced.
Don’t Leave Culture to Chance!
Leaving company culture to chance serves no one. It doesn’t serve your leadership team, it doesn’t serve your employees, and, perhaps worst of all, it doesn’t serve your customers.
Leaders must take time to actively shape and cultivate an intentional culture that employees can adopt and continue to foster themselves.
By doing so, they can create environments that empower all members of the organization, promote innovation, and ultimately drive lasting success.
So, ask yourself: Was your culture intentional? Or accidental?
The answer may hold the key to the future success of your organization.