What do you think of when you hear the term “successful” company? Maybe you think of specific brands, like Google or Salesforce – businesses marked by a great reputation and incredible growth. Or maybe you simply think of a collective of professionals who are innovative, hard-working, and passionate. In any case, what you’re imagining most likely amounts to a healthy, vibrant company culture.
Over the past several years, the idea of company culture has become increasingly prominent for good reason. Having great company culture is one of the common threads among companies that are forward-thinking and highly profitable – such as Google, REI, and Adobe.
But company culture isn’t limited to major corporations. Small startups and medium-sized businesses can also “get in on the game” by building healthy, purpose-driven cultures – ultimately helping them to become stronger businesses overall.
A good starting point is to get a grasp on the terminology of company culture – the terms and phrases that define and direct the culture of a company that cares about its employees…and cares about what it’s doing in the world.
In this article, we’ll take a look at terms that help define and explain company culture…as well as the ROI (return on investment) of spending a bit of extra time and energy on building a positive, purposeful work environment.
Terms Related to Purpose
One of the hallmarks of healthy company culture is that it drives its participants with purpose, not simply profit.
In fact, 79% of business leaders believe that having purpose in business is key to success. And half of all millennials say they would actually work for less if it meant they could have purpose in their work.
That being said, you don’t have to run a non-profit to run a purpose-driven organization.
Here are three terms to help you understand how to instill purpose in your own organization, regardless of the product or service it sells.
Your core values as a company might include loyalty, ownership, honesty, and innovation. Regardless of what you decide on, don’t just pay lip-service to your claims. Think of actionable ways that every employee, manager, and leader can actually live out those values in your workplace.
Your company’s mission statement defines who you are and what you do. A good mission statement can unify your employees and remind them of why they work for your company, and why that work is meaningful.
It sounds simple enough, but coming up with a single statement that defines what you stand for can be a challenge. Here are a few of our favorite examples to help you:
- Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. – LinkedIn
- To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. – Starbucks
- To build the Web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution. – PayPal
Best practices define the guidelines and structure that your company has developed to run effectively, efficiently, and transparently. Think of them as the common coda that you use to train new employees on “how things are done.”
Terms Related to Employees
While the leaders of an organization or business may determine and influence company culture, at the end of the day, your company culture influences your employees more than anyone else.
Companies with a healthy, positive culture generate employees that are happier, more loyal, and more productive. And companies with poor culture produce low output and high turnover. In fact, a Gallup poll says disengaged workers cost companies $350 billion in lost productivity.
Here are three terms that help you understand the link between company culture and employees:
Forbes defines employee engagement as “the level of commitment, passion, and loyalty a worker has toward their work and company.” The problem? Only 35% of employees are actually engaged at work, according to Gallup – decreasing productive output (and ultimately, profits). In fact, employees in the top quartile of employee engagement outperformed those in the bottom quartile by 21% in productivity and 22% in profits.
Environment of Trust
When your employees feel safe – especially in a psychological sense – they are far more likely to contribute more, communicate more clearly, and stay at your company longer. Establishing trust and safety in your company through a culture of feedback and inclusivity can help all your employees feel heard, valued, and understood.
EQ, or emotional intelligence, refers to the ability to empathize with others, listen well, and manage your own emotions. It also happens to be one of the most common traits of highly successful and influential leaders – and is key to healthy company culture.
Fostering an “emotionally intelligent” company culture can look as simple as demonstrating great listening skills in company meetings, or treating all your employees with authentic kindness. But it can also be integrated into company culture more strategically through creating an environment of encouragement, such as through Nailted’s weekly “claps” – a cycle of recognition that encourages your employees to champion each other throughout the workweek.
When you’re talking about company culture, there are a few phrases that you may hear thrown around – typically adjectives that describe ideals that company leaders strive for. Here are a few:
“Agile” typically refers to a system of project management that creates space for quick responsiveness. But “agile” can also seep into the larger frame of company culture. Agile organizations value change, progression, and responsiveness; they don’t stick to the status quo out of fear.
Inclusivity is more important than ever in today’s cultural climate. An inclusive company culture values diversity, respect, and equality, and seeks to advance those values through actual company practices – including management, hiring, and communication. According to Forbes, a strong company culture is one that will “ensure all employees are aware of their importance to the organization.”
A collaborative company culture benefits from seeking the voices and input of all employees. Think of an approach that’s “horizontal” rather than “vertical” and incorporates multiple perspectives into decision-making. Collaborative cultures must start with leaders who are humble, willing to admit their own mistakes, and seek the opinions and voices of others.
A Final Note on Company Culture & ROI
Building a healthy company culture doesn’t happen overnight. It takes intentionality, strategy, and even sacrifice. But in the end, a healthy, positive company culture can deliver a powerful return on investment.
As you learned above, some of the most successful companies on the planet are also known for their company culture.
And it’s no coincidence; exceptional company culture creates an employee experience that fosters productivity and innovation (according to this article by Neil Patel, happy employees are 12% more productive). It creates a workforce that’s committed to the mission of your company (companies with highly engaged employees are twice as successful as those with unengaged employees). And it helps build a reputation that brings in new leads and sales (these 25 companies with great reputations also bring in significant profits).
By building a healthy company culture, you ultimately build a business that can thrive. You invest in your employees; you commit to advancing values that will pay off in the long run. And in doing so, you create a business that will grow, succeed, and profit.
One way to get started on building a healthier company culture is through Nailted – a software tool to help you integrate employee feedback into everyday workflows. Nailted can help you grow a company that’s more positive, healthier, and ultimately, more productive – and profitable. To learn more about Nailted, click here.