We hear the words ‘corporate culture’ quite a lot these days. Sometimes, it is in relation to the general atmosphere or vibe in a workplace. Other times, it is discussed alongside ideas about company vision and values. Yet, it is important to ask, what exactly is corporate culture? What does it mean for businesses and can managers learn how to use it to their advantage?
Well, the thing about corporate culture is that it is complex. It means a lot of different things, to different industries, and it can be expressed in an endless variety of ways. At heart, though, corporate culture represents the collective capacity of employees to create value. And if it doesn’t work or it isn’t efficient, a business simply cannot survive.
This guide to enhancing the relationship between leadership and corporate culture will help you keep your business moving in the right direction.
Get Involved in the Action
If you’re not willing to get involved with your staff and experience the corporate culture at ground level, you’ll always find it tough to influence it. A good leader is one who isn’t just a shadowy name and face in an ivory tower; they are familiar to employees because they take the time to visit departments and talk directly to teams.
Have an Opinion on Culture
If you want to shape corporate culture in a positive way, you need to have an opinion about it. Observation is important, but so is interaction. The best leaders investigate practices within their own companies so that they can identify which bits are working and which bits need to be improved or changed. It is also important that you don’t just make the changes. Talk to departments, discuss proposals with employees and listen to their opinions.
Always Lead By Example
You can’t expect employees to believe in the values that you espouse if you don’t adhere to them yourself. For instance, if you’re trying to foster a culture of collaboration and equality, in which perks and benefits are equally shared across all levels, you can’t then be seen to enjoy much bigger bonuses and incentives than everybody else. Good leaders do more than just direct; they serve as an example.
Don’t Be Afraid to Oust Offenders
A healthy corporate culture doesn’t prioritise managers and executives, at the expense of lower level employees. If you find out that high ranking staff are implementing unfair practices or not supporting staff in the right way, the situation must change. It is up to you, as a positive and inspiring leader, to make sure that anybody who doesn’t uphold your corporate culture is either dropped or encouraged to improve.
Make Incentives a Big Deal
Conversely, if you’re going to penalise employees for undermining positive corporate culture, you also need to provide plenty of incentives for those who do their bit to support it. This means high and low-level workers. Time and time again, studies have shown that people don’t consider salary to be the primary reason to keep a job. They look for a supportive community and recognition for their achievements.
Why You Are the Key to a Nurturing Corporate Culture
Ultimately, it is the owner of a business who decides what kind of values are going to shape its activities and interactions. While you need a reliable, trustworthy team to help you implement them, it is your responsibility to inspire and motivate them to do this. Positive leadership is right at the heart of corporate culture, so don’t forget that your actions have a direct impact on how your company functions.
Gavin Sekler is the Managing Director of Promotional Product Experts. Through the use of local and overseas suppliers, he has assembled one of Australia’s largest online range of corporate products. Gavin works closely with clients to develop proven marketing strategies that incorporate promotional merchandise, enabling his clients to achieve strategic business growth.