The surprising reason company culture is so important


This buzzword is tossed around like salary or sick days– it has become so prominent in the modern workforce that we often take it for granted.

But building an authentic company culture requires more than an office keg and a few ping-pong tables.

It gives employees a chance to be heard.

It emphasizes the team over individuals.

It cultivates a shared sense of emotional connection between people and goals.

This isn’t something that happens in a day. Company culture requires real investment and effort.

What is company culture?

Whether you proactively build out a company culture or not- every organization has one.

According to John Keyser, Founder & CEO of Common Sense Leadership, “Corporate culture, in essence, is the spirit of our people. It’s morale. And it matters greatly. Truth is, it determines how well our company does over time. If our culture is not good, we may have a good year or two, but we’ll be struggling and will not enjoy good results on a consistent basis.”

This is one of the better definitions I have come across as it acknowledges that culture now plays into the long-term success of a business.

It’s almost impossible to look for a job nowadays without considering how committed an organization is to their culture.

When I graduated from college in 2017, nearly every company I applied for said something along the lines of “We have a work hard, play hard mentality!” or “We take company culture very seriously!”.

Then I would walk around their office or read reviews online and the promised “culture” didn’t feel authentic. Sure, a relaxation room or snacks in the office are a nice touch. But they don’t tell the story of what a company believes in or how they operate as a cohesive group.

I never really cared about the novelties.

I wanted to work on a team where my contributions actually mattered. I wanted more than just a paycheck, but an actual dedication to career growth and development.

Any organization can make these promises.

The ones that keep them are consistently revered as top workplaces while their dedication to culture keeps employees engaged and motivated.

Here’s why company culture is so important

A Columbia University study discovered that the likelihood of turnover at companies with rich cultures is only 13.9%. At companies with poor culture? It’s much closer to 50%.

These findings coincide with research conducted by Deloitte, which found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct corporate culture is important to a business’s success.

Culture can’t just be talked about or promoted on social media. Leaders need to understand that the core beliefs embedded into the foundation of their culture distinctly correlate to strong business performance. Intangible elements of an office such as employee recognition and candid communication are almost as important to many individuals as tangible elements like compensation.

Keep in mind that negative feelings in an office can spread quickly, especially considering a lot of people spend more time at their desk with co-workers than they do with their own families. And today’s workers admittedly feel an increased level of stress, burnout, and lack of engagement.

The bottom line is that happy, comfortable employees will be more passionate about their work.

Companies that place an emphasis on nurturing relationships and empowering their people fuel a higher commitment to collective goals.

So, if you want to build an amazing company culture…

Define your culture.

What is your mission? Do you prefer to build an email heavy team or do in-person one-on-one’s work better? Do you emphasize giving back to the local community, professional development, and innovation?

Really, you should try and answer this question: why should anyone want to join your team?

Give every employee a voice.

Often, unhappy employees feel they are disrespected and that hard work goes unnoticed.

Pay attention to the disconnect between what employees want from their culture and what the organization delivers.

Emphasize employee wellness.

You should want your employees to feel energized from both a physical and mental standpoint.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle outside of the office will lend to a healthy attitude inside the office.

Foster workplace relationships.

Interaction is key to positive company culture.

Do your employees sit in their cubicle all day every day, or are they provided with opportunities to collaborate and grow their social interactions?

Create achievable expectations.

People want to know that their work is being valued. Without corporate goals in place, it can feel like time is being wasted and that everyone is simply working for a paycheck.

Empower everyone from the top down.

While it sounds rather simple, I think Richard Branson said it best: “There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.”

Culture starts with your part-time warehousing intern who stacks boxes and ends with your CEO.

Strive to build employees who are proud to work for your company and happily embody the values you want to promote.

At the end of the day, a happier workforce is often a more successful workforce.