Based on a survey conducted by Deloitte, 87% of people view company culture as something important, yet only 19% of them believe they have the right one. With there being such a large gap between belief and practice, businesses need to evaluate whether their company’s culture is the most beneficial for the team. Why is company culture significant, you ask? Because the results of effective implementation can be deeply impactful to the success of your company.
Research shows that in order to have better performance, productivity and profits, a strong company culture is essential. This is because culture plays such a large role in whether the work environment is happy and suitable for the team. It’s understandable that employees can’t thrive without shared objectives, motivations and interests. Culture not only provides direction for the group, but inspiration to do truly great work.
If you’re wondering what should inform or influence culture, look to the organization's core values. You’ll find that culture is often strongly tied to the core values of any successful enterprise, big or small. These values ultimately provide a strong sense of identity and purpose for the collective members of a group. So, here’s the takeaway: Your company will be most fruitful with well-defined core values to guide the pack. Check out this list of companies that are doing just that.
Similarly, at Crema you’ll find a strong correlation between the clearly defined core values and well-established culture of the company. The people at Crema live out their mission vision and allow it to guide their culture organically. The following values are deeply baked into all aspects of the organization.
Crema core values
Collaboration: Collaboration is the idea that a team’s individual strengths are even stronger in combination. The approach is designed to allow the diverse skills and perspectives of one to complement another. After all, a truly great product experience is only as good as the team that creates it.
Generosity: This basic view of work is that it’s an act of service for the well-being of others. It comes down to a collective desire to build something great, do something bigger and serve someone other than yourself.
Trust: A crucial value of good business is to earn the trust of clients, vendors and employees. The clients need to trust the company to lead them to the best possible outcomes for their business. Trust also needs to radiate among the team members internally, so that they remain accountable to one another and lead one another.
Constant Improvement: Constant Improvement describes an environment which promotes continuous learning. This means the members of the team are constantly striving to improve themselves, their product experiences and organization. Continuous learning is key to remaining at the forefront of any industry and providing the best possible service to clients.
Results-based: The results value reflects a belief that time spent is not an accurate measure of success. What’s accomplished is what’s most important. A results-based culture both increases the organization’s performance and cultivates an environment for people to manage all the demands in their lives.
Making it work for the team
All of these values work together to create a strong foundation to guide culture. Crema CEO and Co-Founder George Brooks explains how the values define the organization’s environment.
“It’s an environment that is collaborative and has a high sense of trust and autonomy between the team members. It’s creative. We view everyone here as being creative - so we expect that everybody is always solving problems. Our team is humbly confident. They’re confident that they can solve even the largest business problems, but stay humble enough that they know they have a lot to learn. I think a big part of who we are is a product of the environment we choose to create.”
The people at Crema are living out the values and pushing towards the mission. It’s apparent from the work atmosphere that their stated goals are actually put into practice on an individual level. This is why culture at Crema thrives; Because culture is heavily influenced by the people who work there.
This means that everyone has to be on board. If you have one person who is not contributing to the mission, it can spread quickly. It’s the responsibility of leadership to track any behavior that goes against the company’s core values and try to fix the problem. This could, unfortunately, mean having to let go of a talented individual if they’re harmful to culture that makes the company flourish.
How to change company culture
You may be reflecting on your own company and wondering how to develop a culture that works. While it’s going to take a slightly different approach for each enterprise dependent on their needs, the following framework is a great place to start. Anyone hoping to change their culture to better align with the company and/or team should consider the following steps.
Steps for changing company culture:
- Awareness - Before anything else, the team needs to acknowledge a desire or need for change. It may become apparent through conversation in the office or a company review that change is needed. Once awareness has been brought to leadership, true change can begin.
- Direction - The leadership team can analyze the current culture in place and try to decide what is and isn’t working. Once these have been identified, the team can decide which direction to start moving in. Remember that while change is instigated by leadership, it should ultimately be a movement made by all of the people that make up your team.
- Implementation - Changing culture takes time. It won’t happen overnight. There may be some friction along the way; But if everyone were completely comfortable, it would mean that little to no growth had actually taken place. To keep your team motivated, continually highlight the importance of the company’s mission vision and/or core values. In order for things to work, the behavior of leadership must also be aligned with the new principles.
- Adjustment - More often than not, you’ll find that the plan was not perfect. Certain aspects of the change may not be suitable for the people or goals of the company. If the changed behavior does not yield the desired results, simply try again. Remember that culture is not static, therefore it should evolve and adapt.
The most important component of the plan is adjustment. Without a doubt, improvements and modifications will have to be made overtime to make sure the model still makes sense for the company. In order to keep the culture relevant, the posture of the company should remain open to continual change. Crema Co-Founder and COO Dan Linhart describes how culture transforms organically.
“The great part about culture is that it is a living, breathing organism. It needs to be fed regularly (time, money, training, intentional thought) in order to keep going; to remain active. And, like all living things, culture needs to adapt and change from time to time in order to best live within its surroundings.”
With the right leadership in support of the movement and a motivated team behind them, tremendous change is possible. While the process won’t be easy, the results of successful change is absolutely worth the potentially challenging journey. For a few more pointers on how to transform company culture, and further - how to make it stick, check out this article.