Something that's recently been cropping up a lot when it comes to talks about brands and branding is company culture.
You've probably also heard of the expression "quiet quitting". Be it Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn or some other social media platform, people are having massive arguments about this phenomenon.
For those less informed, "quiet quitting" is when your employees only do the bare minimum of their job, and don't go above and beyond. Many business owners see this as a sort of rebellious laziness, while employees, especially Millennials and Gen Z, are praising such behavior because they feel they're doing exactly what they're paid to do, and if the employer wants more, they should compensate more.
However, what if we told you that this problem, at its core, isn't about profits or compensation, but an issue of brands and brand culture? What if we told you that, with a properly established company culture, you can eliminate "quiet quitters" as well as overly demanding management, yet still thrive as a business? All you have to do is read on and find out.
Company culture, as a concept, is a little difficult to explain. Because it doesn't have any hard-and-fast definitions, it's hard to exactly pinpoint the exact meaning of this phrase.
However, what we can say for certain is that company culture is very much real, and that it can very much make or break a company.
As we've said, you're probably familiar with the battle between "quiet quitters" and demanding bosses. You've also probably heard that both sides are slinging the insult "toxic" at each other a lot.
The truth of the matter is that both generations are attuned to different company cultures. The bosses, who are much older than their employees, are used to working in the old market or hierarchy cultures, where the bottom line was vastly valued, and there was a great divide between the employees and their superiors.
On the other hand, Millennials and Gen Z are often much more skilled than their predecessors. Almost all Millennials and Gen Z employees come with university degrees (and student debts), and, as such, they feel like they are much greater assets to their companies, and want to be compensated accordingly.
Newer generations are also more innovative and more eager to leave a lasting impact upon the world with their work, and they value being recognized for their achievement. On the other hand, older generations of employees have a much stronger collective spirit, and they often value the success of their company, as opposed to their own individuality.
So, from this, we can surmise that the company culture is how people feel about their company, and how they feel about the work they do for that company. It is a sense of unity of purpose, something that brings people together within the company, and something that binds them to the brand.
In essence, company culture can be defined as the team spirit of the company. It is a sense of belonging - the employees feel like they're a part of a larger collective all working toward a common goal. It is also the feeling of being recognized by your brand and your coworkers as an important cog in the company machine.
To answer the question we posed in the title of our article, the answer is very simple - very.
Without an established company culture, businesses will often see a massive turnover when it comes to their employees.
Whether because the employees feel like they're not compensated enough, aren't progressing quickly enough, aren't learning enough, aren't feeling a kinship with their coworkers, management or overall brand message, a brand will need to spend a lot of its time and resources hiring and onboarding new people all the time.
Needless to say, this is not something you'd want to face as a business. This means that you'll be dealing with a lot of newbies, and find that you're unable to build up a cadre of more experienced managers that you can rely on to run operations smoothly.
But, your troubles with a cultureless company environment won't just stop at turnover rates. Your company and your brand will also take a hit to their reputation.
The thing is, people talk, and they talk a lot, especially online. Just like if your customer service is bad, and you'll see a lot of people leaving your company to do business with your competitors, so will your workforce suffer because your employees don't feel like they belong at your company, and they'll find employment elsewhere.
On top of that, toxic or non-existent company culture will also impact your sales as well. You must always remember that your employees are your best advocates, because they see your company for what it is from the inside, and if they're not pleased with how you do your business, they will actively advise people to stay away from you, either directly, or by setting an example.
All in all, company culture is pretty much vital for a company. Without it, you'll be unable to create a brand, and unable to grow and compete in your market niche.
Now that we know what company culture is, and how important it is for a brand, let's take a look at some of the steps necessary to build a company culture.
The first step is not so much a step, but a prerequisite - you need to have clearly-cut core values as a company in order to create a company culture.
Essentially, you need some values that you will project upon your employees. As we said, company culture is all about how your employees feel about your company and the work they do, as well as feel like they're part of the team.
Only when you can make sure that your employees are completely in line with your core values can you start thinking about building a company culture. In fact, once your workers have that unifying element, and with a little direction from you, they'll start creating their own company culture all on their own.
Setting goals is a great way to show you're serious about your business, and that you have something you're passionate about.
Of course, we're not talking here about KPIs and the bottom line, but the fundamental reason behind starting your company.
Though it may seem daydreamy and far-fetched, your ultimate goal (even if it's something generic like "make the world a better place") is going to speak to people. Not in any literal sense, but in a deeper, metaphorical one. Your ultimate goal is going to be the thing that speaks to people to come flock to you, and start a journey in the right direction.
If you manage to do this, if you manage to establish a goal that you firmly believe in, then we guarantee that you'll start attracting like-minded people in no time, and create a company culture in a flash.
As we mentioned earlier, if you've got a few unifying elements around your brand, then the people working for you will, essentially, create a company culture almost on their own.
We also mentioned, however, that you should also be involved in that process but nudging and directing your employees subtly, to control which direction that company culture goes in. And you will do this by deferring to your employees.
What we mean by this is that you should take time to get to know them on a more personal level. You already know that they share your values, but you should also know what drives them.
Some may be in it for the money/benefits, some like the opportunity of gaining new knowledge/experiences; whatever it is, you need to also be able to deliver this for them.to keep them further interested and motivated to keep going, and become involved in the process of creating a culture inside your company.
Finally, you don't have to do all of this alone. There are plenty of resources, especially online, that you can use to educate yourself on what are some of the best practices for instigating the creation of a company culture.
Needless to say, the best starting point are light educational articles such as this one to introduce you to the theory and the importance of company culture.
After that, you should defer to experts to see what are some of the best practices when creating a company culture. In that case, click here and get a consultation with some of the best digital branding agencies around about creating a brand with a unifying element that will birth a strong sense of culture in your working place.
All in all, there is no denying that, if you intend to create a brand that will last a long time and conduct its business successfully, you need to start thinking about creating a culture within your company.
As to how you'll do this, it's mostly up to you, but also your employees themselves - with strong values that will bring your workers and your brand together, and a set of best practices, you can create a culture so strong it will last for generations.
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