Posts Tagged ‘company culture’

Organizational Culture: In Theory and Practice

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Articles about how your company culture and talent will be the key factors in your organization’s success, or lack thereof, seem to be everywhere.  Some of these articles highlight specific focus areas for building a culture, and others include high-level theories without application.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Diane Adams and Richard Byrd from Allscripts discuss their corporate culture at a Raleigh Chamber of Commerce program.  Diane, who is the executive vice president of culture and talent, and Richard, who is the vice president of internal communications/culture, shared both a high-level theoretical approach and more specific details about how it is applied in practice.

From 20,000 feet, the key takeaways from the presentation were:

Culture is Intentional

It’s important that you have a destination in mind and take ownership of your company culture.  Your culture should then drive measurable behaviors.

Culture First

You can’t afford to lose precious time waiting to get to your culture.  You must start now if you haven’t already.

It’s More Than Great People

You must continue to work deliberately on your culture. Hiring for cultural fit is just the start.

Inside=Outside

When your organization has a strong, positive culture with engaged employees your customers will have a great experience and your business will see the results.

Diane and Richard pointed to four key areas of focus at the application level when it comes to organizational culture:

Empowerment

Let your team members/employees own their job. When people own something, they usually treat it much differently and will go the extra mile to make it better. It’s also important to help them see how they impact the business results.

Communications

Without consistent, repetitive communication, culture is just some words put to paper.  Make sure the lines are open to two-way communication and be aware that the words you use matter.

Respect/Civility

How people treat each other is a big piece of culture.  Team members should interact in a positive manner toward each other, even when in disagreement.

Feedback/Development

Top talent wants to be in an environment where they are learning, challenged and feel like they are continuing to grow.  Recognition is also important for all employees.

Having read many of the articles and heard numerous speakers discuss culture, I think there are two clear points to be taken from the chorus:

1 – You need to focus on culture now.  If you put it off you will be looking back in six months and realize that your culture has taken on a life of its own—one that you may not like.

2 – One size does not fit all.  It’s up to you to find those things that make your organization special and to highlight them, while also determining the aspirational goals for your culture and how you are going to work toward getting there.  Sure, there may be some broad topic areas that need to be included, but the specifics are up to you.

Is your company culture what you want it to be?  What are you doing to get it there?

Photo Source: USACE- Sacremento District

How Company Culture Affects Business Success

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Body language expert Julie-Ann Amos says that there are several broad categories of business cultures, including industrial, conservative, casual and academic. Within these broad categories exist many different business culture variations. She points out that if your manner of dress, attitude and body language is “out of sync with expectations in your business culture, you will likely be perceived as less capable, less qualified, and maybe even less trustworthy in some cases.” http://www.bodylanguageexpert.co.uk/BusinessAndBodyLanguage.html

It is important to understand your organization’s culture and how to fit in with the setting. As an employee, your productivity, satisfaction and level of success within your organization is often linked with how well you function within the business culture.

In some organizations, success is achieved in groups, decisions are made by committees and responsibilities are shared. In other organizations, however, success is centered on an individual endeavor that contributes to the business as a whole, and people are encouraged to be “stars,” or “leaders of the pack.” Self-sufficient and independent individuals thrive in such an environment. If success is considered a team effort within your organization, you do not want to be perceived as overly independent or a loner, and you may need to adjust your attitudes and behavior accordingly.

Productivity in your organization may be connected with speediness in project completion, or with creativity, accuracy, customer satisfaction, sales or any number of other factors. Know the performance norms at your place of business, and work at surpassing them.

If you are a manager or owner, be sure to justly compensate your top performing and most productive employees. If the employees whose productivity is below par are allowed to continue their bad habits and are compensated the same as everyone else, it can create a negative company culture that can be costly.

High employee satisfaction leads to high company productivity, because satisfaction is linked with retention, recruitment and training costs, as well as individual employee productivity. On the other hand, a culture where employees are unhappy and fearful can lead to the hiding of mistakes, the withholding of new ideas, poor morale and low productivity.

Your company culture directly affects its success as well as its customer and employee satisfaction, for better or worse. Take the time to foster a successful culture at your place of business.

For additional information, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Image Source: Mykl Roventine: Out & About

Components of a Successful Interview

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

The interview process – it’s what some refer to as the “make it or break it” moment of careers. The face-to-face time with potential employers is the one opportunity job seekers have to sell themselves, leave a lasting impression and give reason to why they are most fitting for the job at hand.

With most interviews, employers tend to ask the same question across all industries:  What questions, if any, do you have for us?

Don’t miss this opportunity. This is the last chance before the selection process to stand out among the competition. By not asking a question, or asking the wrong question, you could possibly close the doors altogether. Consider the following as you prepare for your next interview.

Responsibilities – You have seen the job description and are aware of the basic skills and responsibilities required for the current position. Take time during the interview to decipher the day-to-day expectations and uncover what is of most importance. Out of all the roles this position fulfills, what makes it vital to the long-term health of the company?

Management – To perform well, employees must comprehend the type of leadership the organization employs. Discuss the management styles within the given department and consider how they match with the kind of communication you work best under. Employers will respect your desire for clear communication and working under a team-oriented mindset.

Culture – A majority of interview discussions are centered on the required tasks and functions of a position, but take the opportunity to redirect the close of conversation toward corporate culture. People most often remain loyal to an organization because of its culture, and employers will be pleasantly surprised to know that you value the work environment just as much as the job you fulfill.

Vertical growth – Most people aren’t satisfied with performing the same job for the rest of their career. If your personality is one that is focused on growth, it’s important to inquire about the internal advancement process. Are there any formal processes in place and is internal advancement a common occurrence within the organization? Discussing advancement doesn’t mean you won’t be focused on the current position, but shows employers that you desire challenge, additional responsibility and a long-term relationship within the organization.

For additional information, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: TenSafeFrogs