By: Andie Biederman
How would you define company culture? I asked this question to some of my colleagues to see if their thoughts we similar to mine, since we’re clearly drawn to the same type of culture, and here’s an example of what they said:
“a combination of a company's values, vision and beliefs”
“the vibe you get when you walk in the door and spend time with the people that work there”
“the ability to build a positive atmosphere where people feel engaged, inspired and excited to work”
“good vibes between the people you work with, which creates an environment that fuels creativity and collaboration”
The answer to my own question communicated the same message as those above (great minds think alike, right?): I think culture is the heart of a company and defines who that company is at its core. It’s an essential part of building an environment that encourages collaboration because at the end of the day, it’s a company’s employees who drive its culture… a common theme I’ve seen in the several articles I’ve read on this subject. Company culture starts at the top, but as Greg Benser, founder and CEO of CultureIQ, said in a recent article in Entrepreneur, “that doesn’t mean that the CEO is solely responsible for developing a great company culture. Instead, all employees should be encouraged to contribute to the culture on a regular basis... Employees should be empowered to take ownership of the culture and to grow and develop the culture together, so that it becomes of the people and for the people”. Giving employees a say goes a long way (I’m a poet, I know).
So why has company culture become increasingly important over the last few years? You can thank millenials for that (you’re welcome), who officially surpassed Gen Xers as the largest generation in U.S. labor force. Changing times have brought changing priorities when it comes to looking for the right career, and the job-seeking set seem to be wanting more than just a nice salary and good benefits. There has to be an alignment between a person’s values and those of a company, because that’s when people find meaning in the work they’re doing. I can’t speak for everyone but from my experience in the professional world the conversations I’ve had with my peers, culture and a sense of community weigh heavily on the job selection process.
Let’s face it, having a strong company culture not only drives business success, it’s what makes employees wake up and drive to work every morning with a burning desire to produce creative, inspiring and meaningful work they’re proud of. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why company culture is a clear “must-have” for the makings of a successful and spirited place of work. So kudos to those companies, like mine (and this one), who have figured this out and continue to make company culture a top priority each and every day.