Developing Your Culture

What is Business Culture

One of the most important elements to having a successful business is business culture.   Generally guided by “core values”, a business culture directs how the business operates, not just what it does.  Core values at work in business creates the environment clients and employees interact with. Creating a healthy environment in business is critical to having a successful business that is fully enjoyed.

How does a healthy business culture affect a company’s revenue, profits, and bottom line?

  • Average employee turnover can cost 4-6 times an employee’s salary.
  • Develops and establishes a reputation as an industry leader that values people.
  • Profits increase as employees find happiness working, decreasing wasted time.
  • Reduces cost of training as your employees remain at your company longer.
  • Client retention improves and referral business increases.

Often business cultures are never addressed or addressed in reaction to crisis.  Most of the time people notice that there is something wrong when:

  • Customer complaints come in.
  • Vendors don’t seem to want to work with the company.
  • Employees resign (or even walk out).
  • Negative rumors about the business are reported.

If these things happen often it will negatively impact the bottom line of your business.  In order to change the effects of an unhealthy business culture, you have to be proactive.  As Stephen Covey states in his famous book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end in mind.”

Developing a Healthy Business Culture

Every business has its own unique service or product that sets it apart from the competition.  Consequently owners define what sets a business apart upfront.  The hard thing for owners and managers to define is what people feel when they work with the company.  Thinking through the lens of employees and clients will help create an environment that people are excited to work with.

Key questions to develop a healthy business culture:

  • What are the non-negotiable core values that drive our business?
  • What specific elements of these core values are most important for employees?
  • When the core values are implemented well, how does that make clients and employees feel?
  • What parts of our core values are focused on our client’s experience?
  • What mindsets are needed to give employees and clients the best experience possible?

Once these are answered and you have some values and mindsets to work with, define them clearly.  As you define values and mindsets, you should look at the processes and structures.  Does the daily activity and processes create healthy experiences and line up with the culture you want to develop?

Therefore, we will look at how to develop systems that support a healthy culture in another blog post soon.

Other sites to help you establish your business culture.

Harvard Business Review Article