Last week we discussed how to discover your own corporate culture - so what did you find? While no two company cultures are exactly alike, their characteristics will probably fall into one of these categories. Each comes with its own pros and cons, and degree of suitability for your company.
In newer companies, it’s possible that a formal culture hasn’t been established yet. This can also be true if the company head has great technical skill, but limited leadership skills. If your company is just starting out and everyone is already working closely together, you may not need to state your culture explicitly. However, if your business grows large enough that employees are being located away from headquarters, having a company culture will help keep cohesion between sites. Either way, company culture is never a bad thing to have - just pick the one that suits your business the best.
Conventional corporate culture, or hierarchy culture, has established roles and procedures. By following the “tried and true” ways, companies with this culture cut down on risk and cost. Leaders in these companies monitor and enforce these processes. This works well for businesses that are heavily concerned with safety, like trucking fleets or hospitals. This culture won’t work well if you want your employees to experiment and innovate. Other pitfalls may arise if employees don’t see the company’s larger goal, feel micromanaged, or otherwise not trusted to perform their job correctly. So if this sounds like your company, watch out for these snags or risk breeding resentment and lack of passion.
Most commonly found in newer companies, horizontal cultures have little need for titles. There is a strong collaborative element as the company adapts to customer reactions and market changes. This all-for-one mentality creates a true sense of teamwork and a common goal. Employees at these companies do “a little bit of everything” and the focus is often on giving the customer the best possible product or service. The possible weakness of horizontal cultures is a lack of focus and accountability, so it’s important to communicate clear goals and individual responsibilities.
Similar to horizontal culture, employee focused culture has a strong team mentality, but puts a heavy focus on employee engagement. These companies host frequent outings, value employee feedback, and have the flexibility to accommodate their personal lives. Oftentimes, candidates are hired based on their potential and encouraged to develop their skills within the company. Employees in these companies are given the autonomy to decide what is best for them. This model is more difficult to maintain in larger companies and runs the risk of investing in employees only to have them leave the company.
Also known as elite culture, companies with this mindset are constantly pushing the envelope. They hire employees who are the best at what they do - not necessarily because they’re a good personality fit. According to the Enplug Blog, these companies are “out to change the world by untested means” and “need employees to not merely keep up, but lead the way.” This heavy emphasis on performance and innovation creates an atmosphere of talented people working hard and constantly improving processes. The pitfalls of this culture lie in its intensity; employees may get overly competitive with each other and feel like any small failure is unacceptable. It’s important in these situations to help employees feel healthy, recognized for their achievements, and part of a team.
No matter which culture (or combination of cultures) your business has, it always helps to recognize your company’s tendencies and possible pitfalls. Arguments can be made about which culture is the best, but each serves a purpose and suits a certain business model. As stated in previous blogs, your company culture is important, and deserves the right fit.
By Aubrey Dion
Aubrey Dion is proud to be back working for the family business she grew up in. Over the years, she has performed a wide variety of jobs in both the office and factory, becoming a true "jack of all trades." Aubrey credits her quick learning ability to her strong theatre background, where memorization and attention to detail are vital. Working in the marketing department allows her to stay creative and work on exciting new projects for the company.