The “Golden Rule” of treating others how you want to be treated applies as heavily in business as it does in any other aspect of life, especially when it comes to your employees.
Company culture as a work benefit is becoming more important among the Millennial and Gen Z workforce as they get out of school, which means it has to become important to employers looking to stand out in a field of possibilities for job seekers.
The most important thing about company culture is providing an inviting workplace atmosphere for your employees, but second to that, culture provides ample opportunity to increase profits through sales and marketing, both directly and indirectly.
What is Company Culture?
When you define it formally, company culture is a shared set of values or beliefs among all staff. But it presents itself a little differently. Now, when you hear the phrase “company culture,” you probably visualize a bunch of Millennials playing pool and sipping craft beer while they talk about goals, right? Well, some companies may be like that, but that’s not for everyone.
Workplace culture could simply be a shared idea of the importance of work-life balance, for example. If that’s the case, it could present itself as providing lunch on Tuesdays so your employees don’t have to, establishing on-site childcare or gym options, etc. Or, it could simply be allowing flexible hours so if someone needs to come in a little late one day to get a sick kid to the doctor – that’s okay.
Company culture and attitudes present themselves differently among every company and that’s great! Differences in culture and presentations is what differentiates you among your competitors. If you’re thinking “well, I don’t really know what our culture is…” that’s okay, too. We’ll help you get there.
Why Does it Matter?
The bottom line is this: building and nurturing your company’s culture will help you increase sales and profits. Not only will a thriving company culture attract top-performing employees, but the culture of a company also radiates through your sales and marketing staff to your clients. Culture builds brand identity, builds a bond among employees, and establishes common goals throughout the company.
Not convinced yet? Let’s use an example.
- Company A has no established culture. Everyone is expected to be there by 8am, no matter what. Suzie is an employee there, and basically just goes to work to get the job done so she can go home. She has a couple of friends at work, but they never do anything except talk about work and the occasional formality about home life. Company A has a big deadline coming up and her boss doesn’t seem to be around much to offer them guidance. Suzie’s kid is graduating this weekend, too, so she is distracted and can’t really find the motivation to get the work done and doesn’t feel like she can ask her co-workers for help.
- Company B has an established team-first company culture. John is in the exact same situation as Suzie – Company B has a huge deadline, and his kid graduates this weekend. Company B allows employees to work flex time, so John is able to leave by noon on Friday to prepare for graduation so long as everything gets done on time. Because of this John knows he has to work a few extra hours Monday-Thursday, but he’s happy to do so because he enjoys his team and they all work together to get the projects done. He knows he can ask his co-workers for help because they all pitch in when someone else needs it. In fact, John’s boss offered to grab dinner for everyone since a few people were working late this week.
See where we’re going with this? John found it much easier to be motivated to get his work done because Company B’s culture encouraged him to enjoy time at the office, find work-life balance, and still established goals and deadlines.
When your company culture encourages teamwork, motivation, and an enjoyable atmosphere, your employees are far more likely to be motivated to do their job well and efficiently because they end up caring more about the company’s success if they like working there. Additionally, if your employees feel connected to the company and to their co-workers, they’re more likely to continue working for your company longer which results in lower turnover and training costs.
But How Does It Apply to Marketing?
Company culture influences both internal and external marketing. As we mentioned earlier, culture is important to internal marketing because it provides potential applicants with proof of an existing culture and examples of what that means to your company. This allows them to decide for themselves if they’re a good fit and can also be a great talking point for interviews.
A great company culture also draws in those top candidates who may be competitively interviewing; if your culture stands out, they will probably pick you over a competitor. Hiring top candidates in the market will produce better long-term results for your company.
When it comes to external marketing, your sales and marketing staff have to be motivated to sell well, and motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic; culture can impact both. If you have a thriving culture, no matter what it is, as long as it’s positive it will influence employees to act on behalf of the company. If your sales and marketing team(s) have bonded both with each other and the company, they’re more likely to put the company’s values and goals first.
Culture also provides an opportunity for incentive. If you know your team really likes half days on Fridays, set a goal for them – if they hit it, they get a half day. If your team likes beer, offer a happy hour if you hit the sales projections for month, and an extra round if they go over by 5%. Incentives could be anything from an extra day off to a paid vacation to Hawaii – the opportunities are truly unlimited, and all rely on what your team’s culture is and what they respond to best.
Employees who enjoy their workplace will keep your company’s goals and values top-of-mind and speak about your company with appreciation to clients and customers. They will keep your goals in sight so your company succeeds by decreasing costs and increasing sales when possible. Regardless of what kind of culture you have, or what incentives you provide, a team that feels a shared set of values and goals will always perform better for the company.
And, of course, there are ample opportunities to share your company’s culture in a positive way. Highlight your employees in blogs. Post on social media to share team events, volunteer days, or fun things you do as a group. Let people into your world and they will feel like they know you before they’ve even met you. People do business with people, and your culture is what humanizes your company.
Tips for Building Your Culture
If we have you convinced about the benefit of establishing culture and increasing profit, the next step would be evaluating what your culture is and how to nurture it. If you already have an idea of what your culture is, great! If not, the best way to find out is just by observing and interacting with your staff. What kinds of things do they do outside of work? Do they all tend to come in around the same time or leave at the same time? Do they seem more excited about working as a team or on their own?
If you don’t think there is much of a culture at all, you should sit down as a team and discuss the kinds of things your employees would like to see in the office. Anonymous surveys or roundtable discussions are a great way to figure out what kind of culture your employees may currently see, what they want to change about the culture, or want to see in the future.
Once you’ve figured out what kind of culture you have (or want to have), here are some great ways to nurture it:
- Offer flexible hours, or flex-time scheduling
- Invite employee feedback on decisions, incentives, etc.
- Provide benefits like an on-site gym or childcare, additional vacation, etc.
- Plan team-building activities, happy hour events, or lunch-and-learns to promote bonding
- Focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives to promote a diverse staff
- Plan a community service day to give back with your staff, and promote your brand
- Invest in the health and wellness of your employees whether it is providing healthy snacks every day, a monthly morning yoga class, standing desks, etc.
After you’ve established and nurture your company’s culture, you should see an improvement in employee morale and the atmosphere of the office. Not far behind that, sales and profits will hopefully improve along with the culture.
The next step is using that culture to boost your marketing! Get in touch with us to help with the next steps of using your culture to market your company.