Where Does Company Culture Come from and How Can You Shape It?

Where Does Company Culture Come from and How Can You Shape It?

Human resources professionals sometimes feel hesitant to introduce a new concept or expectation to staff.  This is often because they expect the knew idea to be challenged by company culture, and therefore to fail before it even gets off the ground. This can evolve into a complicated catch-22 situation. Does the company culture need to change before introducing new expectations? Or will the changes improve company culture? We explore this question below.

The History and Definition of Company Culture

Understanding how the culture of a company developed in the first place is difficult to do without first defining what the term means. While differences exist between organizations, most include at least some aspect of the following:

The mission statement of the company and its larger purpose in the world

Today’s high-level employees are freer to choose a place to work that shares their values due to a shortage of people with the same skills. The higher the influence an employee has in the industry, the greater the likelihood that he or she will choose an employer based on agreement with the company’s stated goals and purpose. Employees without the same level of influence look to people in these key roles for clues on how they too can help the organization achieve its mission statement.

How people informally work within the organization

People create informal ways of working because it is more efficient for them. For example, the expectation might be to write up an IT ticket for any problem with a computer or printer. When employees know from experience this may take too long and affect their efficiency, they will come up with informal workarounds such as asking a co-worker with good repair skills to look at the problem for them.

Organizational values and individual values of each employee

While it’s common for businesses to have formal core values, the people who make up the company may not abide by them in reality. When people at the top of the organizational chart show obvious conflict between written core values and actual behavior, other employees notice and emulate it. This can have disastrous consequences for the entire organization. 

The collective personal values of everyone in the organization also shapes company culture for better or worse. This is just one reason why human resources representatives need to look beyond technical skills and consider cultural fit when extending a job offer.

Tools and processes the organization uses to produce its best work

An organization also must use their practices and tools in a way that matches their words to have the desired impact on company culture. A good example is a company that claims to want collaboration between workers at all levels, yet offering greater reward for individual contribution. This sends a message that can make employees feel confused about what actions will be rewarded despite what written processes indicate.

How to Effect Cultural Change

Evaluating the factors outlined above is an excellent place to start adjusting company culture. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. If you’re facing this challenge at your company and feel like you don’t even know where to start, Palmetto Payroll is here to help. We offer outsourced human resources and several other services that can get your organization to its ideal in less time. Please don’t hesitate to contact us  at 803-252-3083 with additional questions or to schedule a consultation.