If you are a business leader and find you don’t know what your corporate culture is, you may want to consider aligning your business around a particular culture. Once you do that and communicate it to all your employees, you may have some people who leave because they aren’t comfortable with that particular culture, but the employees who stay will be more loyal and committed to your vision.

According to Harris and Brannick in How to Hire and Keep Great Employees, there are four basic corporate cultures. You may like aspects of each but you must choose one to be your culture. It will guide how you make your decisions. If you attempt to incorporate some of each, then you in essence have no guiding principles and only confusion to lead you. The four cultures are:

  1. Customer Service
  2. Operational Excellence
  3. Innovation
  4. Spirit

In a customer service culture, employees know to always satisfy the customer, providing more that even they expect. An innovation culture is one that is always on the the cutting edge. Employees know taking risks and making mistakes is the name of the game. Being bold is what helps the company stay ahead of the competition. An operational excellence culture is about being consistent and having the policies and procedures in place that provide the best possible outcome. In a spirit culture, the needs of the employees come first. Work/life balance would be critical to a spirit culture.

Which one does your company ascribe to? If you know, great! If you don’t know, identify the one you want and begin aligning your employees, policies and procedures around its principles. It is critical that everything aligns with the chosen culture, otherwise there will be chaos. If you are an employee functioning in one culture but would prefer working in a different one, then you may want to look for a job more in line with your values.

When you create a fully aligned corporate culture, relationships with  your employees and customers will be enhanced because there will be no ambiguity. It will be clear what people are supposed to prioritize. Those who agree with the atmosphere at work will stay and be aligned with your vision because doing so will enhance their relationship with themselves. Those who disagree with the direction and culture, will tend to seek employment elsewhere so you will be able to continue your business with like-minded people who are on board with your priority and your vision.

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