The interwebs are full of some pretty amazing, inspiring quotes covering just about anything. A couple of days ago, this quote— pertaining to company culture— stuck out among the rest:
“Engaging the hearts, minds, and hands of talent is the most sustainable source of competitive advantage.” — Greg Harris, Quantum Workplace
When you’re growing a company, something that may seem as simple as a company culture truly has the potential to make or break you. It may not always be a quick process, but no one wants to work for a place where they loathe coming in to the office every day.
But what exactly is company culture? Well, if you look it up in the good ol’ Merriam-Webster dictionary, there are a number of definitions. The most applicable for our discussion here:
“…a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business).”
In short your company culture is what you're made of. It’s what makes you who you are as an organization, the personality behind the products and technology. It’s driven by both company leaders and employees themselves. It's your voice, how you interact with others and how you interact internally among yourselves.
When you’re a startup, or any company for that matter, your goal is to find A-players— talented, skilled, passionate employees who believe in your mission and values. But these types of employees are sought after— and can pretty much work how, when and where they want. And one of the top factors this type of talent looks at when making a decision about who they’ll be working with (besides compensation, of course) is the company culture itself.
Both you and your employees want your company to be more than just a job. This is a tenant that top talent lives and breathes by. They want to come into work, believe in its cause, be inspired by its mission, and to help make the company as great as it can be. These are the types of employees who are motivated (and will help motivate) because they not only believe in the product(s), but are also invested in the people and values behind them.
When you don’t have a great culture (or have one that you’ve let deteriorate) a number of things can occur, each having a negative impact on revenue and, in turn, your ability to scale as a business:
- Higher Turnover: Talented leaders are not going to stay in an organization where they feel like they can't make a difference. Most of these employees have a great desire to make an impact, to grow right along with the company, and to use their talents and know-how to ensure that they succeed (along with others). Having a sub-par culture can lend to employees seeking out opportunities from other organizations with values and attitudes more closely aligned with their own.
- Poor Reputation: When job hunting, top talent does research. We're in the era of Glassdoor and LinkedIn, and believe it, reputation matters. It's a small world and, especially when anyone has access to the type of anonymity the web offers, people discuss their workplace experiences freely. Especially on sites like Glassdoor, where you can rate your job role, list any recommendations for management and tell others about your overall job satisfaction, being known as a place with a horrible culture can be detrimental to your recruiting efforts.
- Decreased Workplace Satisfaction: Employees who are dissatisfied with where they work will never give you their best for long. Again, you don't want employees that are simply interested in collecting paychecks. You want people who are dedicated, driven, want to discuss ideas and want to make an impact. By ensuring that they're happy coming to work, challenged, feel like they're part of a team and comfortable sharing their voice, you not only help to retain top talent, you help to ensure that people are coming to work and putting in more than the bare minimum.
By creating and maintaining a strong company culture, you're investing in your employees, as well as your company future. You're making an effort to draw in people who have the same values as you do, and who want to drive your cause forward. Without these types of like-minded people, and employees who truly care about what they're doing, scaling is damn near impossible. So pay attention to your culture, ensure that it thrives and let it help to positively impact your overall growth and help you reach your goals.