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What is corporate culture?

Some people say it’s what happens when “the manager leaves the room.”

I prefer to think of corporate culture as the side effects of working for your organization.

Have you ever watched a show on TV only to be rudely interrupted by a commercial pitching you some kind of a prescription drug?

I always love when they get to the side effects which include things like: nausea, weight gain, hair loss, bleeding from the eyes, and in some cases death.

Whenever I hear those I think, “who in their looney tooney mind is taking these prescription drugs?!” But then again, most of work for organizations where we experience the same side effects.

Where from prolonged exposure we:

  • Gain weight
  • Loose hair
  • Argue with our spouse
  • Get depressed and angry
  • Bleed from the eyes (come on, we’ve all been to those meetings!)

The side effects of working for your organization don’t have to be bad. They can also include things like growth and development, a deeper sense of purpose and meaning, and improved engagement.

Marc Randolph is the co-founder and first CEO of Netflix, here’s how he thinks about corporate culture.

Employee experience is a combination of three environments that the organization can design: culture, technology, and physical space. Culture is 40% of the overall experience and it’s usually the hardest nut to crack!

But what are the attributes of a great corporate culture? There are ten of them which create what I call a CELEBRATED culture.

The culture of the organization determines how employees are treated, the products or services that are created, the partnerships that are established, and even how employees actually get their jobs done. What’s fascinating about culture, though, is that it exists regardless of whether the organization realizes it or decides to create it.

Corporate culture is like air–it’s around all the employees who work there, the customers feel it, and so do the partners and anyone who interacts with the brand. That’s why it’s so crucial to actually create and design a culture instead of just letting it exist.

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So what does the cultural environment actually look like? There are 10 attributes that organization must focus on to create a CELEBRATED culture:

•    Company is viewed positively. Just like when you bring home a significant other to meet the family for the first time and want to get their approval, employees want to feel good about the company they work for. Employees should be proud to work for an organization because it has a good reputation in the industry and in the community.

•    Everyone feels valued. Employees want to feel valued at work, which covers a lot of categories. It means that their work is appreciated, their presence is noticed, their ideas are listened to, and they are compensated appropriately for the work they put in.

    Legitimate sense of purpose. When employees have a real sense of purpose, they feel connected to the organization and are more likely to put in their best work because they want to, not just because they need to. Employees and employers need to work together to develop a sense of purpose that motivates everyone to do their best.

•    Employees feel like they’re part of a team. Work is a team sport, and the best organizations allow their employees to be on a number of different teams. It could be geographically or within a department or a group of people tasked with solving a certain problem. Teams are dynamic and fluid and much more than can just be put on an organizational chart.

•    Believes in diversity and inclusion. Diverse organizations bring together people from all kinds of backgrounds, religions, races, sexual orientations, and generations and mixes them to work well together. In an inclusive environment, employees are free to be themselves and share their unique points of view.

•    Referrals come from employees. When we find something good, no matter if it’s a restaurant or a movie, we naturally want to share it with others. The same should be true of the workplace–if it’s a good place to work, employees should naturally want to share it with others and refer their classmates, friends, and family to work there as well.

•    Ability to learn new things and given resources to do so and advance. One of the worst feelings for an employee is that they are stuck in their job with nothing new to learn and nowhere to go. Development programs, training, and new technology can encourage employees to learn something new and keep them engaged and moving forward.

•    Treats employees fairly. Sticky situations may arise at work, but the best organizations treat their employees fairly. That means there aren’t biases towards certain ideas or types of people and that putting in real effort gets noticed by people who matter.

•    Executives and managers are coaches and mentors. The days of leaders sitting at the top of the organization and looking down on employees are long gone. Today, executives and managers are on the ground, interacting with employees to encourage them and coach them through their jobs and careers.

•    Dedicated to employee health and wellness. Employees can’t focus at work if they aren’t taking care of their physical and mental health. Forward-thinking organizations realize that wellness is connected to job performance and provide ways for employees to improve their health at work and at home.

By focusing on these elements, organizations can actively create strong cultural environments that represent their values and make their company a great place for employees and customers.

What are the side effects of working for your organization?

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