By Laura Stevens
5 key questions that will identify your company’s values.
How does your company do business? What’s it like to work there? These are just some of the elements of company culture—a term that has been around for quite some time, but has only become more relevant in recent years. With the advent of technology, we now have access to more information than ever on the inner workings of businesses and how they operate, resulting in a much greater focus on transparency and accountability. For millennials in particular, a company’s values and ethics are important aspects to consider when looking at potential employers. But what exactly is company culture?
Let’s define it. Just as culture refers to the behaviors, values and beliefs of a particular group, company culture is the collective behaviors, values and beliefs shared by the employees of a business or organization. It is set forth by organizational leadership and applies to business and employee relationships, how the company is run, and how the brand is communicated and perceived.
A closer look. Consider the following questions. If you draw a blank on one or more, some cultural introspection may be in order.
1. Does your leadership live by its values? It’s one thing to have the company values published on your website for the world to see, but actually living by them is where true commitment comes in. When leadership puts its values into daily practice, employees will follow.
2. How are major decisions made? For decisions that affect employees, some companies will engage staff with surveys, open discussions, etc. Others may restrict the decision-making process to upper management. In the long run, how decisions are made can influence morale, loyalty and even productivity.
3. How is your organization’s story told? The narrative of a company’s history—who the founders were, how their vision has evolved or remained intact, and how that story is conveyed—all set the tone for company values, beliefs and behaviors.
4. What’s the layout of your work space like? Open areas can be conducive to collaboration, while a compartmentalized structure allows for more privacy and concentration. The physical layout of your work space can influence attitudes, interaction and how well everyone works together.
5. Does your company invest in employee growth and development? Check out the following statistic from ExecuSearch. Worth looking into:
Laura Stevens is a marketing communications writer and content strategist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin.
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