“Company culture shapes every minute of the workday and every decision that is made.” -Taylor Smith, CEO & Cofounder of Blueboard.
What is culture? I consider it the collective mindset and attitude of your employees about what they do, which manifests itself in how they do things—in other words, their actions and behaviors. These behaviors manifest themselves in their interactions with your company, your customers, and other associates or staff.
This mindset—the one your staff brings to work every day—determines how they will take care of your customers, how much effort they will put into their work, and whether or not they will stay with you long-term.
The mindset and attitude of your employees plays a significant role in how they will perform at work. How someone feels about coming to work affects his or her energy levels and cognitive abilities. The impact of a negative culture is tremendous. It can lead to poor customer interactions, high turnover, underperforming staff, and in turn, reduced profits. Depending on the size of your company, the cost could be thousands, millions, or even billions of dollars.
The research is clear across industries: When your employees are more positive, your company is more productive and profitable. According to a Gallup study from 2012, organizations with engaged employees are:
- 10% more customer service-oriented
- 21% more productive
- 22% more profitable
When you consider the numbers, culture is the most important consideration in business today. And as a result, we should reconsider the position and idea that culture is only the responsibility of your human resources team. Culture must be the focus and responsibility of every executive, owner, and manager in your company.
I often hear owners, executives, and managers argue against investing in their staff. Here are a few of the arguments I hear most frequently:
- We need to remain focused on our customers and their experience. After all, we are in the customer experience economy. While customers are important, I would argue that we are in the employee experience economy. The talent war is over—talent won, and as a result, if we do not take care of our best and brightest people, another company will. And if you take care of your employees and they feel good about who they work for and what they do, they will naturally take care of your customers anyway.
- Employees (especially young ones) don’t work hard anyway, so why give them more? The reality is this generation, just like previous generations, have the capacity to work very hard; it’s just that the new generation of workers don’t see the value in investing in a business that doesn’t invest in them.
- The employees will just leave anyway. To this I say: maybe they will, but if you want any chance to keep your best and brightest, you need to provide them a better employee experience than they received in the past.
If you are focused on profits and productivity (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), then you must be willing to deliver a better employee experience to positively impact the mindset and attitude of your people coming to work. Culture is the most important thing in business today, so every owner, executive, and manager must keep it front and center in everything they do.
Remember what author Stephen Covey said: “The main thing is to keep your main thing the main thing.” Make culture your main thing.