Why is culture so important to a business? AirBnB co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky puts it simply -the stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs.

The concept of organizational culture has received increasing attention in recent years both from academics and practitioners, and for good reason. 94% of business leaders and 88% of job seekers say that a strong culture in a workplace is vital for growth and success. Company culture, organizational culture, corporate culture, whatever you may call it, affects all elements of an organization - from the performance and motivation of workers, retention of new employees, creating positive tone within a work environment, developing talent and support systems for workers, etc.

So how can we evaluate the significance of the concept of culture for the study of organization?


What's in this post?

  • The Facets of Strong Company Culture
  • How can Companies Match Talent with Company Culture?

The Facets of Strong Company Culture

Our number one priority is company culture. Our whole belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff like delivering great customer service or building a long-term enduring brand will just happen naturally on its own. -Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

Values are immensely substantial with regard to influencing organizational dynamics - the organisational culture of an organization creates a sense of identity and belonging for employees which reflects the desired behaviours within a workplace. So what makes up an efficient culture?


1. Support

Have you ever been assigned to a new role or task, where you weren't prepped with the proper support, and consequently felt helpless and unmotivated to work? The skill of being correctly supportive is crucial when leading teams, connecting with colleagues, and understanding clients.

Supportiveness is directly linked to better employee performance and intent to stay with their organization. Without the proper support, workers are much more inclined to "opt out" of tasks - or in some circumstances, leave a company. This is why it's crucial for organizations to demonstrate they care about their employees with sensitivity and thoughtfulness. This, in turn, fosters better relationships within a company where workers feel motivated and innovation.

For example, Seattle Genetics is a biotechnology company of 800 employees focussed on developing antibody-based therapies to treat cancer. More importantly, they believe that developing their employees' careers is an investment for not only their employees, but also for the future of the firm. As one of their core values is encouraging and supporting continuous education, they reimburse tuition fees and constantly encourage enhancing job related skills.


2. Community

Building company culture isn't necessarily about pushing culture, but more about building communities. Building a community within a work environment means workers express a sense of winning together and sharing success, as well as being there for one another when times get tough.

Employees are guided by core values and responsibility, and self motivated through objectives, as opposed to strict rules enforced by managers. Teamwork essentially encompasses collaboration and respect within team members, and in turn, employees will be more productive and happier as they get their work done.

3. Innovation

As the market is becoming more and more saturated, companies need to focus on different ways to enhance their performance and stand out from the crowd. Innovation is a key focus for organization's to do this, as innovation has the potential to significantly enhance firm performance.

A study by Accenture in 2013 revealed that 93% of business owners credit their long term success of their business strategy on innovation. The key to creating a culture of innovation lies within the internal corporate culture - encouraging unorthodox thinking, supporting creativity are in the mix of the key elements which fosters innovation in an organization's culture. This could be in the form of product innovation, business model innovation, process or organizational innovation.

For example, the banking industry is constantly having to innovate their process - in the past, it was necessary for customers to go into a bank physically to have access to any banking services. Today, however, we can send money to the other side of the world with a quick internet banking transaction right at their fingertips.


4. Trust

The importance of having trust is nothing new, especially in the corporate world. Without it, economic exchange would be paralysed, negotiations would end in chaos, and co-operation would be virtually impossible. Let's just say, trust is essential for company teams to work together and be motivated to work towards common goals.

Trust also increases loyalty and decreases stress levels and hostility in the work environment.

A study exploring the relationship between employee trust of managers and workplace performance revealed that in fact workplace performance does heavily depend on employee and managerial trust, and that the extent to which employees trust that their managers will treat them honestly and fairly may influence the extent to which employees engage in opportunistic behaviour.


5. Attention to detail

From how workers are welcomed into a team, to making sure employees aren't overworking themselves, care to detail demonstrates genuine care for workers and reinforces the core values that enhance company culture.

A study asserted that the coexistence of two cultural values of attention to detail, along with innovation, are important for quality control within businesses. When employers demonstrate attention to detail, employers will also be inclined to follow suit. For instance, if a manager practices tasks within established timelines, is actively listening, has high level observational skills and is thinking analytically, employers are likely to also focus on their job with attention to detail.


How can Companies Match Talent with Company Culture?

“The thing that will endure for 100 years, the way it has for most 100 year companies, is the culture. The culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovation. If you break the culture, you break the machine that creates your products.” Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb.

The corporate culture of an organization is one of the top indicators of employee satisfaction and one of the main reasons that almost two-thirds (65%) of employees stay in their job. To top that off, over one-third of employees (36%) say that they'd be willing to trade $5000 of their salary to be happy at work.

But building an attractive company culture which embodies organizational values is easier said than done.

Despite the clear advantages of great company culture, only 31 percent of HR leaders believe their companies have successfully created the strong culture they should have to drive their business to growth and success.

Thats why organizations are putting more and more effort into hiring candidates that align with strong company culture - recruiters are realising that it's about understanding the individual holistically, not only by a single resume.

For example, Retorio combines the trusted Big 5 Personality model and O'Reilly's culture model to deliver a personalized snapshot of the applicant.

Through using resources such as Retorio, HR leaders are able to use video analytics to predict a candidates personality, then automatically measure the fit between the candidate and organizational culture.

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Written by Briah

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