What Is Organizational Culture?
Organizational culture is a set of values and/or behaviors that dictate how coworkers treat each other and their customers. Organizational culture is often treated as an afterthought or develops as a byproduct of coworkers that function together over long periods of time. Organizational culture is often neglected or allowed to develop freely, instead of being established as a top tier priority with a purpose. If you are not already focusing on your company’s culture, there’s no time like the present to start.
Types of Organizational Cultures
There are some rather famous company cultures that are interesting studies in how you can motivate or drive your employees. Google is a terrific example of a tech giant that values and implements an organizational culture focused on productive and happy employees. Google takes its time in the hiring process, trying to garner the top talent available for any position. Once hired, the company works hard to foster an environment that will keep their employees happy and thriving. Instead of corporate America, Google resembles more of an adult playground. Complimentary meals, access to exercise equipment and gyms, nap pods, gaming rooms and more allow Google employees to destress and meet their needs while never needing to leave the office. These perks help employees stay happy, healthy and productive. The culture of Google has its roots in achieving fulfilled and innovative staff and the company continually evolves to make this happen. Google’s culture is clear, intentional and dictates subsequent actions to truly implement the company culture.
The ride sharing giant Uber is currently in the midst of a company culture crisis that may have contributed in part to the resignation of founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick. Uber has been hit hard by scandals that include allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate business tactics. Uber’s stated culture includes words like, “super-pumped” and “bold” but the recent scandals shows a culture that may be in freefall (See Here.). Instead of exemplifying these culture buzz words, Uber has allegedly fostered an environment where sexual harassment is routine and less than legal practices are acceptable. This is a strategy that has created a public relations nightmare that the company is still trying to bounce back from. When your top tier employees are not embracing your stated culture, it impacts the entire company. Employees look to their supervisors’ words and actions and can develop an organic culture around them, for better or for worse.
Amazon is another company that has struggled with its organizational culture, at least in the press. In an open letter to shareholders in 1997, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder said, “You can work long, hard or smart, but at Amazon.com you can’t choose two out of three.” (Read More.). This sentence and sentiment describes a very purposeful company culture that resonates with employees. There was an article in the New York Times, (which Amazon founder Jeff Bezos strongly disagreed with), detailing Amazon’s company culture and how it prides itself on being different, not always for the better. Former employees describe training that insists on throwing everything you’ve learned at previous jobs out the window in order to learn Amazon tenets. When the 14 key tenets of Amazon have been learned, the virtual reward given is one that says, “I’m Peculiar”. While Amazon may use that mantra to help emphasize that the company culture is well outside the norm, the results seem to be mixed. Former employees describe high number of hours and time dedicated to work, a high premium on results, and an institutionalized system of coworker criticism. The result has been mixed reviews in the press with tales of dejected employees, low morale and tearful encounters with coworkers regularly. Amazon’s company culture appears to be one that singularly focuses on drive and innovation; without consideration to the nurturing of individual employees.
The consequences of your organizational culture will vary greatly depending on the culture you choose as well as how you implement it. If your culture is innovation and results driven you may see increases in productivity; however you may also find an increase in turnover and employee disputes. If you create an organizational culture that focuses on employee happiness and the ability to get along with everyone, you may see lower levels of turnover as a result. That being said, you may also find employees are less willing to be critical of each other or new ideas, which could hamper innovative progress.
Get Help With Your Organizational Culture
If you don’t already know what your organizational culture is; you need to identify and implement your culture and the structure required to support it. If you are in the process of creating a company, make your organizational culture part of your strategic planning. Your culture will dictate many of your decisions moving forward including: your hiring, your company mission and your management structure. If your company is already established, look at what has developed naturally. What do you love about the organic culture that has formed? What needs to be corrected immediately? ASNOA understands how important it is to create an intentional, organizational culture. When you sign up with us we can help you identify and implement a culture that brings out the best in your employees and your business.