Business culture, also known as corporate culture, is the identity of a company. Your way of thinking, feeling and acting in the day.
It’s what makes some companies receive hundreds of resumes to work on them and others unattractive. But its power goes far beyond attracting and retaining talent. Having a company culture aligned with the company’s strategic objectives can have a big impact on the bottom line.
But what exactly is company culture? Can it be measured? What can be done to transform it? We tell you everything in a practical, simple way and with many examples in this article.
What is Business Culture [Examples]
Business culture is the values, ways of working, codes, structures and relationships of a company.
It is the set of daily habits that make it up and involves “grounding” the strategy of a company. Let’s take an example:
- Imagine a traditional company in which the highest ranking managers have offices of 20 m2 on the highest floor of the building.
- Those who depend hierarchically on them have offices of 10 m2, without a door in the plant where most of the employees work.
- And finally, the rest of the workers are placed in small cubicles.
In short, a company with the typical hierarchical arrangement that we have known for much of the twentieth century. Well, the distribution of the workspace in this type of company is a symbol of status and power, which transmits part of the business culture: hierarchical values, control, chain of command and bureaucracy.
At the opposite extreme we can have Google’s famous 80/20 rule, which proposes that its technical workers can dedicate 80% of their time to the assigned tasks, and the remaining 20% to any project they choose and are passionate about, as long as it can also benefit the company.
This is just one example of how Google business culture sends a clear message to your employees: we trust you, we are committed to innovation, you have creative freedom, flexibility and the greatest options for professional growth.
And it is that the culture of a company consists of reflecting its values in every small daily action: the dress code, flexible hours, celebrations, communication, configuration of spaces or the incentive system.
Your way of thinking, feeling and acting on a day-to-day basis.
The four elements of corporate culture
It is the set of intentions that moves the company and its professionals. Its true raison d’être.
For example, in BeUp We transform mindsets for the company of the future, while Spotify’s mission is give people access to all the music they want, anytime – completely legally and accessible.
It is the ability to reinvent oneself in the face of changes in the environment. Sticking to an immutable company culture can cause the company to remain stuck in the past.
The world and society are constantly changing. And within the company it is no different: mergers, opening to new markets or changes in the management team. Company culture must be flexible and evolve over time.
Here we talk about the shared values on which the company is built. They are those who guide day-to-day actions and those who allow agreements to be reached when there are divergent opinions.
An example is the Ikea values:
- Caring for people and planet
- Cost awareness
- Renovation and improvement
- Different with a sense
- Assume and delegate responsibilities
- Lead by example
It is the authority, initiative and ability of professionals to direct their own work. All workers must know the values of the company and keep them in mind at all times.
We do not mean tattoo your company logo for a salary increase, but to understand and share the values with the team.
Whenever possible, an initial face-to-face meeting is recommended. before starting a project.
Understanding a person’s personality, needs and way of communicating is much easier in a face-to-face meeting, and will help you create a frame of reference about the new person on your team. So try to schedule a face-to-face day in your onboarding processes. Even if you have to travel kilometers, we assure you that it will be worth it.
An extra tip? Encourage face-to-face meetings on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis, depending on the company’s possibilities. Sharing a coffee and knowing that your teammates are more than just “a head on screen” will elevate team cohesion to the stars.
Business Culture Problems
According to our own experience, we can say that there are two major problems in the business culture of most organizations.
The main one is that in many companies no conscious exercise has been performed to build a Business Culture, but this has been formed according to the attitudes and personal values of the professionals who have been occupying the managerial positions.
The second is that there is not always a tradition within the business world of measuring culture. It is known that it is important, the necessary problems and changes are intuited, but how to evaluate the culture accurately?
The methods and tools to measure business culture are largely unknown. And it is not an easy task. In BeUp, for example, we use Richard Barrett’s CTT (Cultural Transformation Tool) that allows us to:
- Know the values, beliefs, motives and behaviors of people (individual motivation profile).
- The perception that the group has of the current business culture.
- The culture the group would like to have.
- The fit between people’s motivations and the perceived culture in the organization, starting from seven levels.
- The gap between the perception of current culture and the desired one.
- The entropy of the system: the energy that is lost by the existence of cultural inhibitors.
How to transform the Business Culture
There are many ways, but we are going to tell you how we do it in the first person.
- We diagnose the current business culture through the CTT tool (Culture Transformation Tool) that we have just explained. The first step is always to measure.
- We define the new target culture, Organizing workshops with managers in which to find initiatives that articulate business objectives in company values.
- We get down to work on theimplantation of the target business culture: from policy review, to creation of collaborative platforms and training workshops. We cascaded down culture throughout the company.
- We make a tracking of the process of cultural transformation, to detect the first sensations, results and possible deviations.
- Pasado un periodo, volvemos a medir los indicadores iniciales para valorar los resultados de la implantación.
At BeUp we help you transform your company's culture
Transforming business culture doesn’t mean putting a ping-pong table, fresh fruit bowls or inspirational messages on the walls.
It is a deep, delicate and highly strategic process with an absolute impact on the company’s results.
That’s why at BeUp we have been successfully implementing for 15 years cultural transformation programmes in large Spanish companies such as Orange Bank, HAVAS, Cetelem or Amadeus.
Do you want us to help your company too? Write to us and we will tell you how.