Corporate culture refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize staff members of a company and define its nature. Corporate culture is rooted in a companies goals, strategies, structure, and approaches to staff, customers, investors, and the greater community.
Our favorite example of a clan culture is Zappos, in the book Delivering Happiness Tony Hseih explains his experience at a rave and the level of love and acceptance that he so enjoyed that he took this back to the office and started their business on the foundation of culture, a culture that starts with customer service. Zappos have amazing and interesting facts about the company and how it runs. Staff want to work as Zappos and they are very particular in who they hire based on the culture of the company. Someone once asked Tony why all the people in his office are so happy, he replied “We only hire happy people”
The company culture speaks to delivering the utmost in customer service to the extent that they have had a 4 hour long call tending to a customers whims. The audio book “Delivering Happiness” includes a few of their unusual calls and are most entertaining.
The Zappos core values are
- Deliver WOW Through Service
- Embrace and Drive Change
- Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
- Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
- Pursue Growth and Learning
- Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More With Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
- Be Humble
Be adding to these values all the time and hearing their staff they constantly change, evolve and grow as a company family. When you hear the staff talk about the company they each resonate with one or two of the core values and grow on that.
How do you put culture into practice?
Decide what culture type fits your company best.
Start with a clear set of values that filters down through all levels of staff. Once you have this and have a clear idea of the mentality that you want to grow in your office you will see the action filter into customer service and how staff treat each other.
Reiterate your message with staff on a regular basis, weekly, fortnightly or monthly meetings that speak to reminding staff of the company culture and applying these values into daily work as it becomes a habit that gets naturally trained and then shared automatically to new comers to the company.
How does culture affect the company?
Whether a company has chosen a culture or not, culture exists. It is visible from the way the staff respond to situations, to decision making and how they deal with customers. A company with a strong culture that fits the surroundings and environment of the culture with the flexibility to change and grow will see the best results.
Because company culture promotes a feeling of togetherness and “in the know” staff will perform better based on the economic future of the company and where they see themselves going within the company as a whole. Staff who have the security of knowing that they can improve themselves in a company that supports a greater purpose are more likely to work harder and show greater commitment to the company.
“Take care of your staff and your staff will take care of your customers” – Richard Branson. Virgin founder says it best, at the end of the day any experience, positive or negative comes down to the people who deal with your customers.