What is company culture?
Let us first look at the meaning of an organizational culture.
Do we interact formally or informally? How do we greet each other? Is it okay to contradict your supervisor? What are the working hours? All things that relate to culture, for example.
The culture is not immediately visible and is learned. Once this is established, all employees will behave accordingly. Of course, some people within the organization have a greater influence on the organizational culture than others due to their position or knowledge.
Example corporate cultures
We all know of an example of companies that ‘do it right’, that have committed employees and are customer-oriented: Amazon, Coolblue, Netflix, Google, Apple.
If we look at the culture of these companies, it quickly becomes clear that there are many similarities. There is often a strong focus on interpersonal relationships and on celebrating successes and employees have the freedom to decide for themselves how they want to make customers happy. The culture of these organizations is often characterized as follows:
- customer-oriented, honest and open, attentive and surprising;
- open to each other, caring, personal;
- learning and growing is made possible;
- flat organisations, little hierarchy, a lot of individual responsibility.
Exploring and changing organizational culture
Changing a company culture is not easy. Just as customer experience is part of the entire organization, culture also affects all departments and not just the Human Resources department. And because it is not immediately visible and it is in the DNA of employees, changing the culture is not easy.
Culture change requires a real understanding of the current corporate culture. The first step is therefore to investigate, map and make concrete. In this way you know where you stand and points for improvement become clear. It helps to find out what needs to be changed to get closer to your goal.
Mapping corporate culture, how do you approach that?
But how do you do that, map the company culture? Where do you start? It is important to enter into a dialogue with employees. Talk to them. What do employees think of customer focus? Are they listening to each other? How is the hierarchy experienced? In this way you find out what the values and norms are and how people behave.
Contrast that with what you as an organization find important, where you want to go and what the goal is. By comparing this to the values, norms and behavior that your employees experience, a ‘gap’ is created and you identify points for improvement.