When it comes to company culture, it helps to think about the whole thing along the lines of an old-school ‘rap’. Remember when you were in grade school and there were certain kids your parents didn’t want you to hang out with because they had a reputation for getting up to sketchy stuff? They had a rap. In business terms, these would be your Steinhoffs, VBS Banks and ANN7s.
Companies like Microsoft, Vodacom Group Limited, Accenture (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd and the rest of the businesses that have been named as Africa's Top Employers for 2020 by the Top Employers Institute - these would be the healthy, wholesome head girls and boys who ran track, played netball and cricket, sang in the school choir, did almost all of their homework and still managed to have a big circle of friends and an active social life. Romcoms may love to hate them, but these shiny pions of the community go on to do big things.
When we grow up and we start to police ourselves, it quickly becomes evident why our parents did not want us slinking around with shady characters - there are no happy endings to be found around dodgy corners, and this notion rings true in the workplace as well.
As employees, we know that hitching your wagon to a business that’s known for promoting a great company culture is a far better idea than settling for a position at an enterprise with a haphazard or uncouth organisational culture.
As such, it only makes sense that strong cultures breed competitive advantage. Here’s why we say so:
The best companies get the best talent
It's as simple as that. Due to the advent of the internet and the era of connectivity, jobseekers are able to find out more about the companies they choose to apply for.
Glassdoor, for instance, is a website where current and former employees anonymously review companies. It also allows users to anonymously submit and view salaries as well as search and apply for jobs on its platform.
This is a total gamechanger.
However, even if a candidate does not feel the need to take a good long online snoop before applying for a job at your company, they can still tell whether your employees are happy when they walk in.
Healthy company cultures breed a kind of happy bustle that cannot be bought or coerced, and that shows from the moment any person (client or potential employee) crosses your threshold.
Culture tells your employees what's possible
There are certain plants, e.g. the super trendy Delicious Monster, that only grow as large as their containers allow them to go. While this set-up is great for indoor greenery, it truly sucks for humans.
Your company culture defines what is possible at your business.
If you foster a culture of innovation and ingenuity your workforce are far more likely to push the envelope and dream up brave new ideas than if they were curtailed by a culture of fear of failure, or a legacy of ‘this is how we’ve always done it’.
Cohesive teams are more productive
One of the major benefits of a positive organisational culture are tight-knit teams. In environments where employees aren’t pitted against one another in non-stop competition, but instead encouraged to grow alongside one another and work together as a team to drive the future of the business, management and workforce are unified in a powerhouse of sound decision-making and future-proof growth.
In short, when your company culture allows your employees to feel like they’re part of a team, they become more concerned for the success of the entire business, rather than shooting for personal accomplishments.
Customers can sense a vibe
And even those who can't, can use the internet to look up the companies with which they choose to do business. On the most basic of levels, happy, well-equipped, fully engaged employees are able to give better customer service.
These are the fine folks who go out of their way to create solutions and offer client support that drives repeat business and drums up excellent word of mouth.
But it also goes beyond that - conscious consumers want to know that they’re spending their money with businesses that treat their employees fairly. This is why you’ll find that smaller South African businesses like Growing Paper and Spaza Store do so well - they’re so good to their employees that you walk away feeling good about yourself when you support them. That’s a vibe that no amount of marketing can buy.
Almost sounds too good to be true, does it not?
We are happy to report that these benefits are just the little ears of the proverbial hippopotamus - there is so much more. Keep an eye on the blog for more insider perspectives on everything from mission statements and healthy work environments to employee engagement and talent retention.
In the meantime, if you want to take some real steps towards bringing your valued employees into the fold, we invite you to download our eBook.
It's a comprehensive 10-step guide to building your very own employee recognition program from scratch. Simply click the download button below to get your copy 👇.