Why Company Culture Matters

‘Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays!’

I’m all about movie quotes. Anytime I get a chance to use one in any occasion, at any time, I’m not going to miss an opportunity.

So when I thought about this article about company culture, there was no place to look other than the movie “Office Space.” But the above quote is more than just a funny and catchy way to lead into the article.

If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, first of all, shame on you. Stop reading and go watch it … I’ll wait.

Ok, so now that we are on the same page, the movie follows the journey of an office staff and their encounters with their boss, the consultants evaluating the performance of the company and the myriad of personalities thrown together to function cohesively. And NONE of them are happy.

When they go to lunch on a Monday, they encounter a server at a restaurant who is energetic, excited and ready for his chance to make a difference, both for the customers and his employer. While the server is likely making less than the grumpy business professionals he is serving, the dichotomy behind their attitudes is glaring. Their differences can be traced back to one simple word: culture.

Every business focuses on a product, service or intellectual property to survive. The team they assemble is there to perform tasks that fit their skill set and expertise, but the real reason companies survive and thrive has nothing to do with their balance sheet, cost of goods sold, product offerings or sales for that matter. The true measure of a company’s success and growth is found in the culture it creates.

While it is not a defined asset for a company, culture is real. While there are some who feel that the whole idea behind talking about this trendy buzzword is just a bunch of mushy, self-congratulating and millennial catering, they’re probably the same ones looking at why their business isn’t growing or growing as fast as some other companies that have a more open mind.

Create a Culture That Has Employees at the Center

A culture is not created by an office space or by just saying who you are. It is something that engages people in your office on a much deeper level. According to a study done by Gallup in 2017, companies with highly engaged employees who embrace a company culture show 21% greater profitability than those who do not include their employees in an inclusive culture.

Providing clear expectations and tools to do their best work is vital to success. Companies that have employee engagement at the center of their business strategy find success faster and greater than those who keep things secretive.

A great example of a company who embraces this approach is Burgan Real Estate. While life is better with Burgan, they get this way because of the role their Burgan Bunch agents play in moving the company forward.

The 40-plus-year-old company has a Burgan Leadership Board consisting of agents who apply to be a part of this group. They are not only the top performing agents, but they have also been at the locally owned and operated company for more than a year and meet certain other requirements.

These team members have direct input into policy and procedure change, implementation of new technologies and help make overall decisions on behalf of all agents. As the fastest growing real estate brand in the area, their impact not only has helped the growth of the company, but has created a culture that is as strong as their reputation as Realtors.
Embracing employees and having them at the center of your culture not only impacts success, but companies experience less absenteeism and less turnover.

Having a culture that engages with employees with dinners, events together, team-building exercises or just simple individual meetings asking for input and seeing them put into action will have people looking forward to Mondays instead of the weekend.

Empathy Starts at the Top

Empathy is an essential part of a culture success as it helps and identifies one’s own emotions as well as being mindful of others. For the millennial generation, working at a company that has more inward facing values is not only more appealing, but they would take a lesser salary if they knew their involvement with a company as a team member is actually providing a positive impact for the community and society in other ways.

But you just can’t say your empathetic. In a study by Forbes this year, 92% of CEOs feel their organization is empathetic, but only half of their employees identify their CEO as being empathetic.

Creating empathy starts at the top. Companies like The Muransky Companies and Greenwood Chevrolet Inc. consistently embrace of a culture of treating people the right way and being involved with the community through nonprofits like the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. The creates a culture where people feel better about who they are and what they are doing, not just about how well the company is doing.

Good Business Is Done by Good People

We have a saying at 898 Marketing that in order to be a good business person, you must be a good person first. If you are creating the best version of the people in your company, you will get the best out of them in their responsibility to your company and clients.

It is the reason we have goals for our team members set up to follow our company name. Each team member sets 8 professional goals, 9 community goals and 8 personal goals to accomplish during the year. Those goals are not only tied to compensation, but to their own growth and development.
While the professional goals help our clients, and the community goals help give back to the area we love and live in, the personal goals are the ones I focus on first.

Whether it is fitness related, financial security or dreams of an elaborate vacation, these personal goals are important to them and our company. By achieving them, they are growing themselves as individuals in an environment that respects them as individuals and people first.

By accomplishing those personal goals, I know they will be much happier when they arrive and leave every day and, in turn, it will make them much more effective at satisfying the needs of our clients and our community. In order to get the best version of what we have to offer our clients, we have to make sure we are getting the best version of our team members everyday.
Culture is not something that is easy to create. It takes a strategy, a commitment and patience to know that it won’t happen overnight. No matter how many motivational quotes you have posted in your office, the culture you create starts with your people.

It starts with providing them an environment they enjoy being in and growing with. Most importantly, it is the one thing that ensures everyone in your company feels empowered to be and become the best they can be. When done right, every day will feel like a Friday.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.