Defining Your Company Culture
January 2019 Issue
What is your company culture and how important is it?
Inc. Magazine describes corporate culture as the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature.
In "My Company Rocks! Eight Secrets to a Growth-Driven Culture That Keeps Employees Happy & Engaged," Marissa Levin states corporate culture is a company's greatest competitive weapon. It is an organization's DNA and fingerprint.
Retailer Zappos' corporate philosophy about company culture's importance and reflection of the brand is so strong they host a three-day Culture Training Camp for other companies about how to create a culture where your employees will be excited about coming to work every day.
I know your to-do list is long and that the last thing you feel you have time to think about is the buzz phrase company culture. You may not be worried about evaluating the culture of the company when you have a pile of charts on your desk to review and ensure they are compliant with Medicare policies.
However, your culture is contagious; unhappy employees will do the minimum that's necessary to get by and quit or give up if they don't feel appreciated, while loyal, happy employees will think like owners and treat others like the owner would. Employees' satisfaction in their jobs will transfer to other employees, to clients they speak with, and to vendors. Happy employees feel like they are part of something larger.
Following are questions you can ask yourself when evaluating your culture. There are also multiple online surveys you can use to dig deeper.
• How does your company address a problem? Address it as soon as a problem occurs? Talk about it with management for a month and hope it fixes itself? Pretend it never existed?
• What is your hiring and onboarding process? Are the new employees aware of the companies' values and mission upon employment?
• Do your employees work together and celebrate the wins? Or is each job and task a competition where one employee wants to see others stumble and fail?
• Are good work, milestones, and achievements recognized?
• Are new ideas, improvements, and suggestions encouraged and welcomed? Or do employees seldom share a potential great idea with management?
Once you identify your company culture you will know what work needs to be done.
Following are suggestions to improve your culture.
• Communication and leadership. Leadership needs to be present and lead by example. Do you hold yourself to the same expectations as you hold your employees? Is management available, or are the leaders always out of the office? Do people who try to call you need to leave a voicemail most of the time? Are there clear lines of communication between employees and management? It is imperative to your success that your organization has an effective communication protocol.
• Recognition for a job well done or positive patient feedback. Rewards don't always have to be monetary. At my company we have brag board in each office. If a difficult claim finally gets paid or employees get a nice email from a client, we share it with all the members of our staff to be sure that good work is applauded by all. We also have an internal CBS Rock Star award. This allows employees to nominate other employees to management for a job well done. The employee is recognized in the staff meeting and given a certificate. Employee recognition increases productivity and should be part of your culture.
• Employee growth and opportunities. In 2015, LinkedIn conducted a survey of the top reasons why people left their jobs. Forty-five percent stated they left because they were concerned about the lack of opportunities for advancement. As you want your company to grow and flourish, you should want your employees to do the same. If your employees have the mindset and potential to be better than they are today, be sure to explore that with them.
Bottom line—just because your company has a ping-pong table in the break room doesn't make it a great work environment. Every business has a company culture, so it is important to evaluate it and ensure it's a positive one. Your culture contributes to the success of your business, the success of your employees, and facilitates growth.
Erin Cammarata is president and owner of CBS Medical Billing and Consulting. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.