Guide: Business Culture

By Indeed Editorial Team

March 26, 2021

The culture of a business develops over time as management and employees determine the values of their company. Many companies aim to have a culture that attracts the most qualified candidates, while prospective employees may look for a workplace that supports their personal values. Each company's business culture is unique to its attitudes and actions.

In this article, we will explain the importance of business culture to both employers and employees and provide tips on promoting a positive business culture in your workplace.

What is business culture?

Business culture is the combination of values, behaviors and goals within a workplace. Culture is influenced by employees and employers as well as clients or business partners. A company's business culture includes a variety of elements, ranging from official policies to casual interactions between coworkers. Some companies promote a relaxed environment to attract creative employees, while others may need professionalism and structure to accomplish their goals.

Why is business culture important?

Business culture is important because it provides a sense of community among employees and upholds professional values. Culture can determine a company's ability to communicate internally, overcome obstacles and attract quality talent. During the hiring process, employers often consider how well an applicant will get along with coworkers and perform within their company culture. Some of the benefits of a strong business culture include:

  • Engagement

  • Productivity

  • Employee retention

  • Positive reputation

Engagement

Company culture can directly influence how engaged people are in their work. When employees enjoy the culture of their workplace they are likely to put more effort and care into their responsibilities. A strong company culture will have clear values that can motivate employees to succeed. It can also provide a clear connection between the individual duties of each employee and the company's mission.

Related: The Key To Employee Satisfaction and How To Achieve It

Productivity

Employee productivity can be directly related to company culture. People who enjoy the atmosphere at their job are likely to produce better quality work. Many organizations offer paid time off and other benefits, allowing employees opportunities to relax so that they can be more productive when they are working. Different people require different environments to be their most productive, so it is important to understand how your work style compares to company culture.

Employee retention

Many companies work to make their culture as welcoming as possible in order to hire and keep the best candidates for a position. When a company offers generous benefits and a positive workplace environment, talented applicants are likely to apply. Company culture can also encourage current employees to continue their careers within their organization instead of considering other job opportunities.

Read more: Q&A: What Are Employee Retention Rates?

Positive reputation

Companies with strong values who are active in their community often develop a good reputation that can create new business opportunities and bring in customers. Many consumers appreciate when a company shows integrity and values its employees by investing in workplace culture. A positive reputation can also encourage talented people to bring their skills to the company.

What are the elements of business culture?

Business culture includes a wide variety of elements that influence business practices and workplace behaviors. Businesses often aim to have a clearly-defined culture in order to attract candidates that would thrive in their specific environment. Employees and employers both benefit from understanding the most important elements of a workplace culture within their organization. Some of the most common elements of business culture are:

  • Values

  • Mission

  • Policies

  • Environment

  • Employee behaviors

Values

Values are the primary beliefs of a company that help shape the mindset and behavior of employees. Companies choose their values based on the type of work they do and the needs of their employees. When looking for a new job, consider looking for a company that shares your values to improve your experience in the workplace. Some examples of company values are:

  • Respect

  • Honesty

  • Dedication

  • Creativity

  • Reliability

Mission

A company's mission summarizes the purpose and goals of the business and explains the shared motivation of its employees. The mission or vision of a business directly influences culture by encouraging all employees to work towards a common goal. Employees who believe in their company's mission are likely to invest in the company's growth and be more committed to their work.

Read more: How To Create a Good Mission Statement (With Tips and Examples)

Policies

Company policy includes the rules, regulations and benefits of employment. Policy influences culture by investing in the happiness of employees, rewarding successes and providing opportunities for growth. Company policy can enrich an employee's experience working at a company and attract more qualified candidates. Examples of policy that influence company culture include:

  • Dress code

  • Paid time off

  • Evaluation procedures

  • Health benefits

  • Flexible work schedules

Environment

The location and office design of a workplace can also contribute to company culture. A company that values regular collaboration might choose an open office design while a business with many independent workers may choose a location with private offices. Environment also includes perks such as high-quality equipment, a well-stocked break room or a company gym. Some companies allow their employees to work remotely in order to provide them with the ability to customize their environment.

Employee behaviors

The actions and behaviors of employees are an important aspect of company culture. The way that people complete their work and communicate with one another in the office can influence their ability to succeed. Employee behaviors that influence culture can include team-building events, email etiquette, sharing appreciation with others and having a positive attitude with clients.

Business culture tips

Although many companies have a well-established business culture, it can change over time depending on the needs of the business and its employees. Looking for ways to improve your company culture can help increase your job satisfaction and create a strong team of colleagues. Here are some tips on how to improve business culture in your workplace as an employee or as a manager:

  • Set priorities. Consider your ideal workplace culture and which elements are most important to you. Decide on what actions you can take to support your core values.

  • Model behavior. By modeling the type of behavior you would like to see in the workplace, you can encourage your coworkers to support the company culture. Consider what steps you can take each day to create a positive environment.

  • Ask for feedback. Ask your colleagues what their values are and how they would like to see the company culture improve. Use feedback from others to create a realistic strategy for improving culture.

  • Measure changes. Take note of the steps you take toward improving company culture and which are most successful. Measuring any changes in company culture can help you make small adjustments over time.

Browse more articles