Why is Company Culture Important?
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
The same can be true of a company. Every company has its own challenges and yet each has the ability to turn things around by rallying employees. Why then do so many companies struggle when it comes to building a cultural identity? It’s a question that has led companies to call on us for help. And it’s an awesome responsibility.
GDC is known for its strong company culture. We’ve spent 20 years nurturing and building it. Has it always been easy? No. Has it always been an enduring presence? No – and yes! We’ll admit there were times that we let it falter. The keyword here is “we.” As GDCers, our company is built on the foundation that we are each responsible for upholding the culture we have built. If it fails, the blame lies with us. But, when it succeeds, it’s a success we all revel in. Like a pyre of wood, our culture needs only a spark to light up into an inferno and each GDCer holds a match.
What is company culture? Many people think it’s flex time, bring your dog to work days, casual Fridays, wear your jeans to work days, national day of celebrations. And yes, while all of these are nice, this is not culture. They are perks. Or as we like to say at GDC, it’s fun with a purpose. The purpose is to host activities that build a stronger internal team by enhancing our personal relationships. After all, the team that plays well together works just as hard together. But, attempt to build your culture on activities such as these, and like the proverbial house of cards, it will fall.
So what is company culture? Borrowing from Inc., it refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature.
Why then is company culture so important? And why should you invest in it?
It differentiates you from your competitors
The clients we work with often cite our company culture as one of the many reasons they chose to work with us. Applying this same thinking, we choose to work only with those clients whose values, attitudes and standards mirror our own. Having these shared traits ensures we build a client relationship based on mutual respect that is made to last enabling us to accomplish great things together.
Helps you attract and retain talent
If you have great company culture, you’ll have people line up wanting to join your company. And your employees, if given the opportunity to leave, won’t want to. When you lose an employee, not only does company morale take a hit but it also costs you money and time as you look to hire and train a replacement. The answer: rely on your culture to build in the respect your employees want and deserve. Do this and you won’t lose them.
You’ll delight your customers
A sign of a strong company culture is happy employees. This translates to their enthusiasm spilling over into their relationship with your customers. A happy employee will overcome any obstacle to get the job done, delighting customers in the process and resulting in a healthy bottom line for your company.
Makes your company perform better in the future
Happy employees are productive employees. They’re focused and willing to put in the hours needed to take on more because they know their every action impacts not only their fellow employees but also the financial success of your company. A strong culture also produces employees who are better leaders. Why? Because they have been empowered to solve issues as they arise, immediately heading off potential problems. They don’t wait around to be told what to do. They jump into action.
We are always happy to share the lessons we have learned in how to build and nurture company culture, calling upon our own experience and how we have helped other companies shape theirs. And if you want to see the how a strong company culture, lives, breathes and feels, we invite you to stop into GDC anytime for a visit.