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Corporate culture is undoubtedly a hot topic at the moment. Whether it’s research telling us that a company’s culture is more important to employees than salary levels, or Uber hitting the headlines for its “troubled” (read sexist and divisive) culture, company ethos is fast becoming a business imperative.

Corporate culture is determined by a myriad of factors. Gone are the days that a ping pong table in the office and the occasional team night out signalled a great place to work. Employees are adept at looking beyond the fun desk décor and back-slapping boss in their search for a business’s core values and evidence of collective conscience. Culture isn’t just an employee issue either: shareholders and investors are increasingly seeking reassurances that a business lives and breathes certain values and corporate ethics are driving consumer choice too. When it comes to profitability and growth, company culture is a vital part of the recipe for success.

Fostering a positive and productive culture can appear complex, but it is possible to break it down into a fairly simple set of principles. The biggest challenge comes in sustaining the imperative as a company’s culture is a constantly evolving beast which requires ongoing care and attention. Left to its own devices it can quickly turn feral, but with careful nurturing it will flourish for the long term.

Internal communications

Fostering good internal communication is vital for creating a positive corporate culture. People like to be listened to and feel that they are being heard. Creating an atmosphere where all employees feel able to speak up about anything and – more importantly – where they know that their views will be listened to and, if necessary, acted upon, is vital.

The size and structure of your business will partly determine the most effective way to open up channels of communication. It may be that a brief weekly meeting to convey key pieces of news works best or, for companies with multiple sites or lots of remote workers, a tech-based solution such as an app might be more appropriate. Whatever route you choose, don’t just pay lip service to internal communications; have a clear strategy and workable plan, assign responsibility for making it happen and monitor progress as you go. It’s also important to invite feedback from staff and review effectiveness on a regular basis.

Getting it right from the start

Corporate culture can be hard to change when bad habits and destructive practices are ingrained in the workforce, so it’s all the more important to get off on the right foot when new recruits join the company. This infographic illustrates the importance of induction procedures for improving corporate culture, with 89% of organisations agreeing that “integrating workplace culture is important to onboarding”.

With this in mind, L’Oréal has taken things a step further with “cultureboarding”, developing a “world first” app called Culture Fit which is “focused on giving new employees every imaginable opportunity to succeed.” Designed to be a “pocket coach” for new staff, it is stuffed full of information and interactivity but perhaps the most interesting aspect is the focus on mastering the culture of L’Oréal.  “Created in collaboration with newcomers in over 30 countries, the app focuses on the seven most critical aspects of the L’Oréal culture to master (according to the newcomers themselves). Real newcomers express the positives and challenges of each cultural aspect through videos, written testimonies and in giving practical advice.”

This approach is lightyears away from the trials and tribulations of Uber and its toxic working environment, and it will certainly be fascinating to observe how the troubled tech company manages to transform its culture. While Uber is arguably one of the more startling examples of corporate culture gone wrong, there are sure to be areas for improvement in almost any organisation.

With the commercial importance of a good working environment no longer in doubt, there is no excuse for neglecting corporate culture. Our Communicator app offers a range of customisable features which help to keep your staff connected and enhance the working environment.  From induction and onboarding to news updates, training modules, feedback gathering and employee surveys, it’s designed to be ‘your company in your pocket’.

If you need advice on how an app could help your business, contact us today.

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