Summary: While having a positive company culture has always been a worthy goal, maintaining that positive vibe across a less proximate Work From Anywhere™ remote-work landscape can be more of a challenge. This article highlights the advantages of building positive company culture, with shared Core Values as foundational.
In the post-COVID time where organizations struggle to balance a return to the office (or not), maintaining a positive company culture through the post-pandemic shifts remains a top priority. In fact, many see a positive organizational culture as essential to workplace productivity, team happiness and organizational success.
Indeed. Current research suggests the majority of today’s leaders and employees believe positive culture will differentiate one company from the next. It also has a huge impact on recruitment, employee retention, brand reputation, productivity, efficiency and organizational growth. In other words, it simply makes each day better. Those that feel happy and valued in their work attribute it to their company’s positive culture. It’s that company-wide energy that inspires people to do great things with enthusiasm. Yet some worry that corporate culture may be too fragile to survive across a disparate workforce.
What Is Company Culture?
Before we get into the importance of a positive culture, let’s start with its definition. Company culture is shaped by the way people in our companies act, how they treat each other, how they treat anyone who interacts with them and how they communicate. In a cohesive, positive culture, group members share similar beliefs and core values (aka guiding principles) that each individual lives by at work and in their personal lives.
Why Is Positive Company Culture So Important?
A company’s culture influences every aspect of how people within that organization function. For starters, a positive culture gives a company a distinct advantage. The right culture can:
- Increase employee loyalty
- Inspire job satisfaction in a meaningful way
- Enrich social interaction, teamwork and open communication
- Strengthen work performance
- Boost employee morale
- Decrease overall workplace stress
Culture can also impact a company’s ability to hire and retain good people, which is one of the greatest challenges facing most organizations today. This includes becoming one of the “great places to work”... having a great reputation... where employees want to build a career rather than use their time as a stepping-stone to somewhere else… where people feel good about what they do… and where they enjoy doing meaningful Work.
So how might a company build and maintain a positive culture based on shared values, especially when people may not be physically together in the same space as often?
We suggest starting with developing, outlining and aligning the members of your team (near and far) around shared core values. Once you have a team of individuals who share common values and beliefs, a positive company culture then has a solid foundation upon which to build.
So how do you develop a rock-solid set of core values?
As Mark details in his essay, “A Deeper Dive Into Core Values,” there are a lot of different approaches to developing a company’s Core Values. If yours aren’t already defined or if you’re not sure that they’re quite right, here are a few steps he recommends to his coaching clients:
- Get the team together to collaboratively create a list of the best 10–15 co-workers, people who other people simply love to work with.
- Go through the Three C’s of Trust framework, and invite those in the meeting to list the behaviors and traits they admire most in each of the people on the list.
- On a whiteboard or shared screen, capture the words and short phrases used to describe the traits that they appreciate most.
- Once that list of positive traits is complete, the next step is to share the names of five to seven colleagues (present and / or past) who they find / found really difficult to work with. In the same way as the positive, capture the behaviors / traits that others find really difficult to work with. These will be the antithesis of some of the behaviors that they found so attractive to those they loved working with.
- Once both lists are complete, star the most attractive and least attractive (or opposite) behaviors.
- Now that you know what you like and don’t like, we can use the top five (or so) qualities as a base for your core value statements, refining them and editing them to use the same words that might be used in the workplace, so they are authentic, clear and easy to remember.
- Load your almost-final versions into the Core Values section of Ninety.io (forgive the plug but it’s true), add some descriptors, and share across your organization. (Note: This is also a great way to get more value out of the 30-day free trial.)