5 Fundamental Principles of a Company Culture


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, January 16, 2017

In any place of business, a great company culture should be the cornerstone on which you build to help your employees and customers thrive.

Article 3 Minutes
5 Fundamental Principles of a Company Culture

After all, the workplace should not be something that employees dread – it should be a place where they thrive. And, although the work may be demanding, the culture should not add to this stress, but alleviate it.

Global giants such as Google and Adobe have revolutionized company culture, and it is now expected that an organization substantiates a culture in which their employees, and therefore business, will flourish.

Jim Stengel investigates the success of the world’s fifty top businesses in his book, “Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit.” He comes to the conclusion that the businesses who maintain a focus on developing an office culture, and place emphasis on improving their wellbeing of the employees, had a growth rate three times faster than their competitors.

There are five main fundamental principles that you should take into account when initiating the development of an office culture. What works well for one company may not work so well for another, therefore the culture needs to be tailored towards business objectives and principles. Consequently, the following factors should be considered:

1. Working together to reach company goals

Fast Company points out that, “In a nation where 70% of employees feel disengaged at work, according to a recent Gallup poll, companies can’t escape the reality that a dissatisfied team translates into worse financial performance.” They suggest integrating three principles into the company culture to prevent employee discontent;

  1. Compassionate communication between the manager and their team.
  2. Thriving collaboration between employees, working together to satisfy the company’s ‘mission’.
  3. Positive deviance, allowing employees to be creative and come up with their own strategies that may help propel business forward through innovation.

2. Celebrate success and champion innovation

According to Forbes; “By emphasizing the importance of an employee’s role and its overall impact on the success of the company, not only will your employees enjoy seeing their hard work translated into tangible results, but your company will function more efficiently because of it.” These successes should be talked about and celebrated; hard-work should not go unnoticed. When employees hit targets, give them recognition and commemorate their dedication. This will encourage people to excel and achieve more demanding goals.

3. Get it right from the start

In an interview with Jim Hart, CEO of Senn Delaney, he expresses how, “Leaders need to have a clear, compelling purpose for themselves and their organization, coupled with a strong business rationale to inspire a thriving organizational culture.” Communication of company culture and purpose should be passed on during the on-boarding process, and existing employees and management should be able to, with ease, relay company objectives and ethos.

4. Create an affable working environment

Tailor your workplace incentive schemes around the employees within your organization. The most impactful encouragements are not always monetary. Make the employee want to work hard for you and the company by incentivizing and creating an environment where workers feel safe and comfortable. Take inspiration from the aforementioned global giants who have created a hub of creativity and innovation, by investing in the workers, and their personal goals and objectives.

5. Communication and engagement

Good communication is key to teambuilding within a company. If employees feel as though they are part of a team, where their work and time is valued by others and those in authority, this will create a greater sense of wellbeing. Workers output will be optimized if they feel trusted, supported and are consistently learning.

Management should facilitate communication when necessary, and can encourage that through transparency; allowing employees access to relevant information that might sit outside of their current silo and holding an open door policy. Peer to peer mentoring is also beneficial.

The most successful company cultures are not always those that have developed through substantial investments, but those that allow employees to feel valued, safe, and part of a larger common goal. Employers should assess whether prospective workers will fit into the office culture at interview stage, as the ability for someone to personally integrate into an established team and culture is more often than not as vital as the skills they bring.

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