Throughout virtually every industry, companies regularly tout the merits of a strong company culture. While it's true that the presence of a flourishing culture is a common facet of many successful businesses, precisely what that label entails is somewhat abstract.
Without context, the term “culture” can seem a bit generic. But those who work amidst that dynamic undoubtedly understand that a positive workplace vibe can strengthen the daily performance of team members and increase the efficiency of the company as a whole. According to Gallup, companies with above-average levels of employee engagement enjoy 147 percent more earnings per share.
On the surface, a strong company culture refers to a happy workplace where the employees like one another and little disconnect can be found between departments. But it's a lot more than that, and it's built over time. Various methods can be utilized to enhance company culture – offsite team-builder events, fostering team collaboration in the workplace, empowering and trusting team members, incentives, etc. – and if a company is able to achieve it, the benefits are widespread.
There are people who love their job and those who go to work to collect a paycheck. Those working alongside a healthy, thriving company culture generally fall into the former category. The workday is much more brisk and fulfilling when you're happy, and equally importantly, around happy people. A negative company culture can drain the life from employees while an upbeat vibe creates higher-performing associates. Fortune regularly ranks the 100 best companies to work for and has discovered that many on the list insist their greatest tool is culture.
Those going through the motions like the disgruntled employees in Office Space aren't likely to add anything of value beyond their job description. Happy and empowered team members, on the other hand, are eager for new challenges and push the boundaries. This is often when the most innovative ideas are unearthed, even if some only reach the brainstorming stage. Those who understand that they are trusted by to consider outside-the-box solutions often become the strongest innovators. Just make sure you give them the resources to do so.
“Outfitting your team with the wrong equipment will lead to disaster,” writes Chris Cancialosi in Forbes Magazine. “You can't ask your team to get to the moon with a roll of duct tape and a spatula; it will only hold your team back from accomplishing your overarching goals.
It's difficult to develop cohesion at any company that features constant turnover. And companies that experience a large volume of turnover typically don't possess an enviable company culture. It's no secret that companies able to retain their team members put themselves in prime position for success. When the team feels more like a family and genuinely cares for one another, odds are it will perform better than a subset of random, disjointed employees.
“Years of research show a direct connection between companies' cultures and business success,” Ultimate Software Chief People Officer Vivian Maza told Forbes Magazine. “But one way to measure ROI on a smaller scale is through your employee retention rate. Are you not only attracting but also keeping the best people long-term?”
The attributes of a strong company culture are numerous for team members, but they also create large-scale benefits for the company. Costs of hiring new employees are reduced if the existing team largely remains in place. And the collaboration and innovation yielded by empowered team members has the potential to equate to significant revenue growth.
While it is something of an intangible concept, strong culture is often the hidden gem for many successful companies.