How would your company like to attract and retain better employees than your competition can? Employees who are engaged with your customers and are invested in the success of your business? Employees who are advocates for your brand and who collaborate with one another?
It’s hard to imagine any company that wouldn’t like to enjoy these benefits.
A strong company starts with a strong company culture. Culture is core to how the company functions, and every company has a culture. Some choose to build their culture deliberately and thoughtfully while others let it define itself. If you think about it, your culture is a reflection of your company. It’s not something that can be duplicated by your competition or another employer – products, strategies, technology and techniques can all be copied. Your company culture cannot.
With so much riding on culture, it seems foolish (to me at least) to allow your culture to develop without guidance or forethought. It should be based on the mission and brand vision of the organization. What makes the brand unique should be the starting point for how you think about your culture. If innovation is at your core then your culture should be orchestrated to encourage and reward innovation. Likewise, if service is the strength of the brand.
Top executives must be committed to and involved in the development of a culture, and they must believe in its authenticity and value. They set the framework for their employees’ experiences and perceptions, and those employees then carry that forward in the way they conduct themselves. But it’s not only executives that contribute to culture. The employees themselves organically contribute through their own actions within that framework. The way they welcome new employees or invite them to lunch and/or mentor them adds the culture. Given the right framework, a belief in the mission and a desire to contribute to the organization’s success, employees add depth and strength to your culture.
At M/C/C, we’re very focused on the culture and environment that we create and that gets created by the people who work here. It’s unique and absolutely crucial to our business. Core to our brand is looking at clients’ objectives creatively and being unexpected in how we deliver service, programs and results. We’re unconventional, and our clients know they’re being treated differently – in a good way.
We ask our employees to go above and beyond expectations, and a big part of our culture is rewarding them beyond their expectations. That can come in the form of the agency buying lunch one day unannounced or an extra week of time off at the holidays or a supervisor bringing in a gift card for no particular reason. Those are the outward manifestations, but we also encourage employees’ individualism and personality, respect for one another, collaboration and friendships.
The real test of a culture is how employees engage with the company and the brand. In our case, employees are our brand, so we want them to know how much we value them. Take a look at our company culture video for an inside perspective.
Developing your company culture needs to be at the top of the list when thinking about the success of your business and your brand. Be authentic, integrate your vision and brand and be diligent about protecting it. You (and your employees) will be glad you did.