For many entrepreneurs, when they hear the words “company culture” it seems intangible, immeasurable and out of reach. More importantly, countless small business owners can attest to thinking, “Why is my company culture so important? Isn’t it just industry jargon and lip service?”
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As David Hassell, CEO of the employee engagement company 15Five explains, “There’s a myth out there that company culture is a waste of time. That culture means ‘touchy feely’ dimensions of work and, let’s face it, if that’s what you’re focused on, you’re probably under-performing. Sound right? Wrong. Even if you think you have a great culture, but your company is not reaching its highest potential, you’ll have to think again. Great culture and high performance go hand-in-hand.”
Great Company Culture and High Performance
By definition, company culture is a set of shared core values and practices. Why is it so important? As Stan Slap, president of the international consulting company Slap explains, “You can’t sell it outside if you can’t sell it inside.” Simply put, a good company culture drives long-term business results – it makes dollars and sense.
Corporate Culture and Performance author, John Kotter has observed through extensive research that, “corporate culture can contribute meaningfully to financial results, and many people do not give this fact enough attention.”
Kotter and Heskett research has found that “companies with cultures that emphasize all the key manager constituencies (customers, stakeholders, employees) outperform by a huge margin companies that do not have those cultural traits.” The study illustrated that during an 11-year period the former group achieved a 682% revenue increase while the latter only experienced a 166% uptick.
Examples of Great Company Culture
When you think of great company culture which companies come to mind? Consider Zappos.com, an e-commerce juggernaut, led by Tony Hsieh and backed by his vision to Deliver Happiness.
Search engine giant Google often receives high marks for their unique company culture. In fact, “Google has people [whose] sole job is to keep employees happy and maintain productivity,” according to KISSmetrics writer Zack Bulygo.