Whether you are an employer, an employee or a customer, you know the value of company culture. It is the “glue,” that intangible “feel” of a company that is one of the most important, if not THE most important, assets that drives a company’s success.
A company’s culture is the only truly exclusive identifier. Products, strategies and techniques can be replicated. But an organization’s personality is entirely unique. People will want to work for you, with you and buy from you because of what you believe in and stand for, rather than solely on your products alone.
Companies must recognize that building an engaging, unique company culture is crucial to success. Why? Because company culture pays off with your customers, your employees and your long-term profits. If you don’t believe it, just look at Dallas’ own Southwest Airlines:
- Southwest continues to convert its intangible culture into tangible benefits, including market share growth.
- Between 1991 and 1993, Southwest increased market share in California from 26% to 45%, achieving a flying cost of 7.1 cents/mile compared to 10 cents/mile for other major airlines.
- To do this, Southwest used only 81 employees per aircraft compared to more than 150 by their competitors, and handled 2,443 passengers per employee compared to only 800-900 by their competitors.
How did they do this? Herb Kelleher invested relentlessly in his company’s culture and protected it like a fortress. At the center of their culture is people. Caring for people, employees and customers, genuinely. Success was the outcome of caring, not the reason for it.
Culture matters. What do you do now?
If you don’t know your culture, odds are your employees don’t either. Develop a culture deck – short phrases and images that define the soul of your business.
Not every culture fits every employee and shouldn’t. When you know what your culture is, use it when interviewing and hold culture fit more important than skills and experience when making a hiring decision.
- The Talent Board (a research group that studies the job candidate experience) found that 41% of all candidates search for information about a company culture before they apply.
- 95% of employees say that culture is more important than compensation.
Leadership needs to live it. Model it. No exceptions. Just like Herb did. Lead by example.
Applaud those who live your culture. Value examples of your culture and share those. Culture is self-fulfilling, if you continue to live it, it continues to occur.
Culture lets you focus on your purpose. People are not intrinsically motivated by profit or market share, they are motivated by purpose and values. It is your culture that brings your team to work every day.
Make it worth it. Culture is one of your most powerful tools for business success.