Company Culture: 7 Ways to Incorporate It With Your Business Structure

July 19, 2013 - 9 minute read - Posted by

I have recently been writing blog posts on the importance of company’s culture and core values. Companies are being proactive at creating a positive corporate culture among their employees as they are seeing the benefits of having a strong company’s culture. First, you experience a higher employee engagement and a lower rate of return. Secondly, a strong and healthy culture becomes part of your marketing brand. It helps you attract high performers to apply for positions in your company. Many people get confused when they think about corporate culture. They think about a fun workplace with different perks ranging from yoga rooms to road trips. These are definitely perquisites for your employees but it is not the foundation of your culture. More important is that your company’s culture is embedded in how you run your business. Here are 7 ways a business can incorporate their culture into their business structure.

1. A flat organizational structure

I have been an advocate of getting rid of layers of management. Although it may work for bigger and more established companies, a flatter organizational structure gives your employees a sense of ownership in your organization. Employees’ ideas and feedback are being communicated much faster due to less red tape. Your organization will be quicker to accommodate unexpected changes affecting your company since communication will be more effective throughout the organization.

2. No more job descriptions

Gen Y employees are looking for more challenges as they stay in an organization. A structured, detailed job description may restrict them from being creative and trying new things out. More companies are providing only an outline of what the position will entail without going into the breakdown of the duties. Other companies are coming up with broader job titles so that the employees do not feel like they are stuck in one position. My job description at 7Geese was all over the place. I have to admit that it scared me a little not knowing for sure what I am supposed to be doing. I now work on my own projects most of the time. Whenever my team needs something from me, I have the flexibility to prioritize what I am doing to cater to the business’s most immediate needs. I am proud to be hired, not to fill a job description, but to be a valuable asset to the company by delivering value wherever I can.

3. Cross-Functional teams

Invite anyone in the organization regardless of their departments to join forces together on projects. It is important for you to establish a clear line of sight for your employees. You want to make sure that each employee knows what the organizational objectives are, how the teams are contributing to the bigger picture, and how they, as employees, can be involved. Communicate with your employees about the upcoming projects and allow them to join the projects that interest them the most. Your employees will be more engaged in their work as they are part of a project that they want to be in.

4. Self-Management vs Managers

I believe that the future of work will be self-managed teams. Often, when organic teams are formed, a natural leader will emerge for the project. That leader does not necessarily have to be a manager. The role of a “team lead” is not the traditional managerial one. The person is more seen as the clearinghouse of information. They are the ones that are aware of all the details regarding the project. They are also the main person to contact if you want a progress of the project.  Self-management is about giving the power to your employees. Your job is to provide them guidelines on how you want your business to be run. Ensure that your employees are making decisions with your company’s core values in mind. Self-management is like giving the key to your business to your employees. They start to think like a CEO and embrace your culture to deliver the results.

5. Be an error-embracing company

The freedom to fail is an important trait in any company. If you decide to adopt a self-management principle for your organization, you also need to allow your employees to learn from their mistakes. It is also a great opportunity for you to see who have a strong sense of accountability. You will encounter many employees who will blame the failure of their projects on external factors. The ones you want to keep in your organization are the ones that admit to the failure, know what they did wrong, understand how they can avoid the same mistakes, and ready to take on a new project or repair the old one. Your employees are the ones living the culture. Keep the ones who embrace it, and let the others go.

6. Hire people based on your culture

Your people are your most important asset. When it comes to culture, they are the ones who embody it and share the company’s norms to the new hires. Hire people that are compatible with your core values and your existing crew. Core values cannot be taught to others who do not believe in them. Prioritize what you are looking for in each of your employees. There are highly technical positions where you need to hire people based on their expertise. Make sure that if they do not completely agree with your core values, they should at least respect them.

7. Be true to yourself

I have worked at different companies where they did not deliver on the culture they praised during the interview process. There is simply a misalignment between what they think their culture is and how they actually experience it. Sometimes, companies do not want to go through the process of defining their core values. They select from a list of general values or research what their competitors’ values are. Your employees will not believe in these values if you, yourself, do not. A strong culture with the right people will ensure that your culture is being experienced the same way across locations. Your unique culture is also what brings your customers back as your culture becomes your marketing brand.

Creating a strong and positive culture is not an easy task. You need to find out what you truly value as a business and find the right people who will embrace your vision. Do not get trapped into creating something fun and exciting only for the sake of hiring prospective employees. Your employees will value you more if you stay true to yourself and offer them a culture that is genuine.

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