When it comes to creating a work environment that employees actually want to be a part of, the single most important element is a company’s culture. Company culture is defined as a set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterize an organization. Your culture is unique; think of it as your organization’s DNA, made up of all the elements and ideals that define your company and set your workplace apart from any other.
Generally speaking, there are nine categories of organizational cultures that companies typically fall into:
These companies treat “Nineteen Eighty-Four” like an employee relations manual, and employees are definitely aware that “Big Employer” is always watching their every movement. These are not environments that foster creativity, and have rigid and regularly enforced discipline procedures. This no-nonsense approach to employee management can often drive results, but has a terrible effect on employee engagement.
Companies that are process-driven are havens for analytical thinkers who enjoy having a well-thought-out and documented way to do things. As opposed to companies with normative cultures, innovation is highly encouraged, as company leadership sees it as the key to improving efficiency within the organization. When it comes to performance management, these companies take a more hands-off approach, mainly stepping in when there’s a problem.
These kinds of companies take a head-on, straightforward approach to running their business, and live by the saying “the customer is always right.” Company leadership believes in doing whatever it takes to meet and exceed their customers’ expectations.
This company culture is characterized by its “status quo” attitude: very cut and dry, with a strict adherence to established rules and regulations. Company leadership doesn’t place a high value on collaboration, and employees generally stick to their siloed job duties.
These companies are all about the bottom line. Company leadership isn’t sheepish about culling employees who aren’t up to snuff with company standards, which often contributes to high rates of employee turnover within the organization. Employees who excel at their jobs and aren’t prone to errors are safe in these kinds of companies, but even the best employees constantly fear getting the axe from their employer.
These companies would definitely be seen as the “in-crowd,” insomuch as they tend to be highly sought-after employers. Their incredibly lengthy and intense hiring process acts similar to a club bouncer, and makes employees feel like they’ve finally “made it.”
Most common amongst startups and in the tech industry, these kinds of companies make a habit of gambling big on new initiatives or ideas. Sometimes these bets pay off – sometimes they don’t. The regular uncertainty that comes with these workplaces make them a terrible place for the faint of heart, but rather give risk-takers and entrepreneurial thinkers the sort of environment they can really thrive in.
Companies that have “baseball” cultures are all about teamwork and doing whatever they can to help an employee get a “win” for the company. Company leadership values creating a “family” environment by planning multiple group outings and social events, as well as offering lots and lots of perks for employees to take advantage of: free snacks, long lunches, game rooms – nothing is too good or too much for their prized employees.
This particular type of company is full of highly skilled, studious and multi-talented employees. Company leadership stresses the need for continuous and ongoing training (including cross-training) and personal development so that the business is always at the forefront of the latest developments and advances.
Can you really choose to make your company’s culture what you want it to be? Absolutely, but it can’t be just a pronouncement. Your culture has to emanate from your core values and your leaders have to model those values. If you do decide to make a concerted effort to change your company culture, you will be rewarded with engaged employees who reflect your culture and values because it’s simply how they do things.