Company culture has frequently been identified as the cornerstone to business success– especially in an era where millennials don’t just expect it, but demand it as part of their criteria when looking for work.
Strategy, planning, management are all important but with all the will in the world – the best plans and strategy will not be effectively carried out by a business suffering from a poor culture whereas a business with a winning culture would still probably survive, even where the strategy is not quite as strong.
While many business leaders claim to understand the importance of creating a first-class company culture, few actually invest the time to understand and embrace what that culture is and what it represents, therefore often come up short when trying to develop and harness it.
“You don’t fix a poor company culture by getting a table tennis table in the office. It will help, but it should be accentuating an already excellent culture. Not taping over the seams of a company falling apart”. Tom Wish, “9 Signs your company has a bad culture”
Company culture should be the heart of a business and should define for its Directors, employees and everybody else how the organisation does business, how the organisation interacts with each other and how the team interacts with the outside world, specifically with customers and business partners.
So many recruitment companies still find it difficult to step away from the boiler room mentality where identikit sales robots are governed by big brother style, KPI driven dictators, whose primary objective is to make money and lots of it (we know because we interview their staff). In a feeble attempt to disguise this, recruitment business owners offer weekends away, order pool tables and give everyone a beer on a Friday (so edgy!) –the classic gimmicky solution to offering a supposedly “award-winning” culture. 10 minutes of playing pool, playing Fifa or eating a banana from the free fruit bowl doesn’t mask 12 hours of working in toxic conditions.
“employees don’t want to work at companies because they can play video games on their lunch break. Employees choose companies – and stay with them – because they’re part of a thriving community that feels like home”. Mari Silipo, “6 Ways to dramatically improve company culture”
Strip it back to basics and ask yourself honestly – if you took away all the Hollywood benefits and perks of your business – would your staff still be happy? If you have any concerns over your answer – you can probably assume your employees careers are going to expire as quickly as the “award-winning culture” trophy sitting on your shelf as people see through the smokescreen and yearn for something more.