A Silicon Valley company had been very successful for some years. Then its revenue growth started to decline as the company’s competitors began taking over more of its business.
Since the company’s products and services were as good as, if not better than, those of their competitors, and comparably priced, leaders decided to diagnose their company culture. They found that the culture was intensely results-oriented, but work enjoyment and learning were lower priorities.
Leaders worked to change company attitudes so that learning was a primary focus, followed by results and then enjoyment. A year later, company profits were no longer declining. Moreover, employee engagement had improved, indicating more staff members wanted to work for this company and be a part of its evolving culture.
What Is a Culture?
A company’s culture—its goals, behaviors, and attitudes—is continually evolving. A solid company culture provides stability. It enables people inside and out of the company to know the company’s philosophy and values, even if business strategies change.
It would not surprise me if some cleaning contractors and jansan organizations do not think they have a company culture. All companies have one, whether they realize it or not. And that culture is impacting the company’s profits and future.
Develop a Company Culture
The first step in developing a company culture is to determine what kind of ethos it has now. This can be hard to do from the inside. However, an outside consultant often can identify the current beliefs and determine whether they are benefiting the organization.
If a culture change is deemed necessary, follow these four steps:
- Inspire. Realize that company beliefs are closely tied to the social and emotional dynamics of the people working in the organization. For a culture to change or solidify, company leaders must inspire their employees to share the same goals and values, so the company can become more agile, competitive, successful, and profitable.
- Lead. The leaders of a company are the catalysts for change. But sometimes, older leaders are unsupportive of company adjustments. This situation occurs frequently in family businesses, which are plentiful in the cleaning industry. If changes must be made for the company to thrive, a company’s founders must step aside and let new leaders take the reins.
- Educate. Creating a thriving company culture cannot be delegated to the human resources department. Company leadership needs to relay to staff why adjustments need to be made and how these changes will be beneficial. Very often firms hold retreats where leaders can discuss the new philosophy with staff to help secure their buy-in.
- Reinforce. You don’t want a new or evolving culture to lose steam in a few months. Make sure to change business practices so they reflect the company’s new value system. Create an ongoing education process that thoroughly reinforces the new values with both new hires and long-time staff members.
It’s essential to realize that change is not easy and creating a new company culture takes time. The results of these efforts may not be immediate. To ensure a company is on the right track, an outside consultant can monitor progress and suggest a course correction as needed.
Establishing a firm but flexible company culture is crucial to business success. With change happening all around us so quickly, a company culture offers the island of stability a business needs to meet the challenges of the future.