“Culture is how organisations ‘do things’ ” – Robert Katanga. Today it’s used to attract candidates and build an employer brand.
We place huge weight behind our career moves based on things like work environment, the people as well as career development and salary.
Companies strive to get this right – some throw huge resources behind it, you may even see a ‘Chief Culture Officer’ in place (usually a sign that the culture is so bad they’ve had to employ someone to try to sort it out).
So what is Company Culture?
I recently attended an event on this very subject – Culturevist. People there from a wide range of professions – Lawyers, Recruiters, Customer Success, Marketing, Communications etc. All gathered together discussing culture in the workplace– success stories, failures, people seeking help. People there because they care about the environment they work in.
This, for me, shows that culture represents the values and behaviours of employees that make up a company. As an employer can you really answer questions like – Are you an employer/part of a company that really does care about employees? Do you just want them to perform well at work or go that step further and really get behind a positive ‘work-life’ balance?
All or Nothing?
What did Culturevist teach me about Company Culture?
- It’s a collective effort– a movement driven from the top downwards. Driving culture from the bottom up is admirable but the will of employees can count for little if those at the top don’t truly believe in it.
- You can’t just create a culture– you have to show a process towards making it work.
- How? –Being transparent, listening and then acting on what you’ve heard. Having an identity, values and living and breathing them!
- Develop it – Through listening to your employees you identify issues earlier and take necessary action
We want to believe in a company, its products and its people. Essentially we want to be part of a story where we can make a difference.
Working in an environment that allows you to do this is the first step. Great benefits may help in attracting you but they won’t buy long-term loyalty. It’s the sense of control and community that we all crave. Make someone feel part of a team and in control of their own destiny and you’ll find that you’ll have an engaged, inspired and happy workforce.
….but before you get too comfortable. This is an ‘All or Nothing’ game and one that needs to be continually worked at. Companies evolve and so will your culture.
A while back, if you’d have asked me what are the most important features that a company would want I would have produced a list along the lines of ‘technical skills, communication, teamwork…’ I quickly realised that beneath this lays one major attribute that can increase or decrease all of the others – self-awareness. This is a key feature of how I recruit and one that can really play a big part in boosting not only your performance but also your career.
Self-awareness is the ‘Conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires’. Now how do motives, desires, feelings and character relate to boosting your performance and career? Behind each high performer there will be a method of working, a way that that the individual has found to be successful. Some will be conventional like following a set process, whilst others will be less so. Now why am I rambling on about is this I hear you ask? This is so blatantly obvious!
…Well please take a step back for a second. A moment to consider what has allowed you to develop your career. Many of you will answer ‘I worked really hard’ or ‘I gave myself a target and reached it’. These are fine but the question you need to be asking is how and why? Questioning your methods allows you to look deeper into your performance. There will always be ways you can improve and you won’t find out the honest answer until you delve deeper.
How do we increase self-awareness? Can it be done?
Some will argue that you are either self-aware or your not. I disagree. It’s not as simple as that. I believe that a higher level of self-awareness can be achieved through continually looking back retrospectively on your performance and considering what factors made you successful or not. This seems simple but how many of you do this? I’m not talking about quarterly on annual reviews. These are specific instances, conversations, tasks. The key is in the detail. 10 minutes during the day or on the journey home…review, analyse the results, jot down some ideas and alternatives.
But surely this can only take you so far?
Correct. To be truly successful you need to combine the getting the job done, hard work, relationship building, adaptability and a slice of good fortune. Combine these and you will do a great job. Understand why they are important, what you have learnt in the process and how you can evolve going forwards and you, my friend, could be a superstar!