Impact of Corporate Culture

“Our belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff like great customer service or building a great long-term brand or empowering passionate employees and customers will happen on its own.” – Tony Hsieh

Corporate culture is often tough to define and for each company it holds a unique significance. Since it can be tedious to outline, many companies tend to ignore its significance the impact it can have on the business objectives like growth, product enhancement, sales and other promotional activities. The corporate culture can be defined as the core identity, ‘personality’ and inherent trait of any company. The company’s values, vision and beliefs are what make up the corporate culture. Although, this can be evolving and changing with time and with customer needs and experiences, the essence of corporate culture remains relatively stable. Based, on the culture of the company would be the leadership style, kind of employees hired and customer base that would help to solidify and make successful, corporate culture.

Corporate culture gives the company the basis on which it is assessed by, customers and employees and the more progressive, forward-thinking and inclusive the culture, the higher the rate of success of the company. Given that a company is known by its corporate culture, it is rather shocking that it is not consistently monitored or tracked for flaws or failure. It should be tracked in the same way as the financial performance or customer service levels of a company since how the company is perceived will depend on what goes on, on the inside.

If managed well, the corporate culture of a company can prove to be its most beneficial and strongest asset and if left unchecked and allowed to decay, can become a major deterrent and burden for the company. Corporate culture drives success and growth for a company, in more ways than thought possible – it affects the kind of talent a company can attract, the kind of products and services it can offer and most critically the kind of customer base that will prove loyal, trustworthy and profitable.

Within the business environment, one does not need to look only at large companies to understand how the corporate culture can stimulate and help run the business. Any company worth its salt will take pride in maintaining its corporate culture. As an example – one, of the companies, which has become supremely recognized as a market leader, did not start off this way. They began small but leaped forward in revenue and client base because it treated its corporate culture as sacrosanct. All employees have been expected to know what the company’s values are and also sign the ‘book’ containing the values and the integrity statement. This is a continuous process and starts with an employee joining the company and then again in 6 months. This process has proved to be indispensable in cementing and reaffirming the value of the corporate culture and has made the company a formidable force. The employees are united through their culture – the values, beliefs and vision of the company. It’s hard to beat or even overtake a company that has such a robust corporate culture that is whole-heartedly supported by the employees, customers and all other stakeholders as well.

In fact to reiterate the importance and criticality of a strong corporate culture, many companies duly recognize and reward those employees who personify and live the culture through their work and interactions with their colleagues, management, customers and others. They host events that are visible platforms for the consistent achievers, embodying the corporate culture included. The employees of such companies then work harder to deliver the results expected and even over-achieve them such that their customers and clients are a happy lot. When a company is able to achieve a strong corporate culture, a workforce that is energized and united, offer great benefits and incentives, it would be able to provide its customers with top class service and produce the highest quality offerings resulting in a formidable market reputation and an ever-increasing customer /client base. A large number of happy customers will ensure that they recommend the services and products of the company to others as well.

To sustain a recognizable corporate culture, it is imperative that the leadership is focused on it and the company consistently and intentionally drives it through various initiatives and also their own behaviour. When everyone involved can see the benefit of a strong and unified corporate culture, it is obviously spoken about proudly to everyone and also newer employees are handed out instances of how the corporate culture has contributed to the fame and success of the company. The company would also encourage new employees to follow the corporate culture by showing them examples of employees who would have benefited from embodying and living the culture. On board with the right ‘education’ and clear expectations, makes it simpler for new employees to imbibe and ‘live’ the corporate culture.

The culture of a company is a great unifier – bringing together people from various backgrounds and experiences who, look beyond those differences and contribute towards the welfare and success of the company, thereby ensuring their own success. This in turn helps the company not just to retain their talent but also attract the best talent available. With such empowered and energized employees, the company’s productivity is bound to increase and soon the company is able to stand head and shoulders above their competition – as mentioned in the example above. The list of benefits of a strong corporate culture seems endless actually!

The corporate culture serves as a strong foundation on which the company builds growth, profits and is still does not take the success for granted. Just like any other business process and strategy, the building and reaffirming of the corporate culture is an on-going and relentless process and companies cannot afford to negate its importance any longer. Customers too are able to trust a company that stands firm in its beliefs and values and a company is able to attract like-minded customers, ensuring that this common ground will keep the business relationship cordial and profitable for a long time. Even the employees they attract would be those who believe in the values and vision of the company ensuring that the culture is made even stronger and unshakeable.  Employees would even scale up their skills and knowledge base in order to be seen as better ‘fits’ with the corporate culture and would readily seek out training and development opportunities for the same.

While every company may believe that they have a strong corporate culture, this becomes true only when it is validated by the employees, customers and other stakeholders. When the corporate culture is recognized and raved about, it proves to be the single most reason for any company’s success and sustainable competitive advantage. The culture is what separates one company from the next and those companies with a highly visible and deeply entrenched culture will stand out. Competitors would find it exceedingly tough, and sometimes impossible, to penetrate this culture and thus be unable to lure away employees or even customers. It is a well-known business fact that employees and customers stick with a company they like and can trust and that which gives them ample opportunity to succeed.

The corporate culture, then, it would seem, acts as a shield and protection from the onslaughts of competitors and the volatile market conditions. It enables each ‘partner’ of the company to collaborate and work cohesively thereby reducing the chances of stress and conflict and creating an environment that is congenial to growth. Building the corporate culture might start from the top, but maintaining and sustaining it, is the responsibility of each person working in and with a company.

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