What is Company Culture and how can it be an instrument to increase employee’s productivity?
Well, am glad you asked. In simple terms – Company Culture are the basic held in mind frameworks which consists of assumptions and values which guides the way individuals in an organization think, perceive, behave and expect others to behave within the organization and these values and frameworks are taught to new members of the company. From the definition, you would have already guessed that it’s a crucial element of a company and isn’t something that happens overnight, it takes time and conscious actions from the “leader”. I remember the definition of culture back when I was in elementary school, we used to define culture as “a way of life” , that couldn’t be more true. Same goes for company culture, it is the way of life of people in a company.
It saddens my heart to see businesses go astray in the way they deal with employees within their companies. Laszlo Bock, Head of People Operations at Google talks about a distinction of how companies treat employees – some treat employees like “Machines” instead of “Owners” , machines do their jobs while owners do whatever is needed to achieve the company’s and team goals. Some companies still operate in the Industrial Economy way of thinking where they believe they “own” and “control” people when fast thinking businesses have moved to the Information Economy where it is more of the ownership and control of information rather than people. In simple terms, these businesses are Dinosaurs in their way of thinking.
Machines do their jobs while Owners do whatever is needed to achieve the company’s and team goals.
It gets funny when small to medium businesses then wonder why big brands like Google and Facebook are making so much progress. In my opinion, their culture plays a great role in the growth of the business, employees feel free to be creative – they feel like owners.
If you are a small to medium business owner and would like to understand what company culture is all about and how to build one which encourages high freedom and creativity from employees, kindly read along. In this post, I will love to talk about two organizational culture types and how each affects employee’s productivity.
The Clan Culture.
My favorite type of company culture, the clan culture is defined by Whatis.com as a family-like or tribe-like type of corporate environment that emphasizes consensus and commonality of goals and values. The bond which holds the workers in the company together is a shared vision of their needs, their goals and their sanctioned ways in which things should be done. There tend to be no need for hierarchy, fancy job tittles or emphasis on positions. Everyone is a team trying to achieve a common goal. The employer is commitment and employee engagement tends to promote empowerment and loyalty that will drive productivity and business success.
Employees are free to innovate and think creatively. They are not placed in a box where they have to think, behave and perform in specific rigid ways. This culture breeds an environment where employees are more cooperative and supportive of one another than competitive, everyone wants everyone to win because everyone is trying to achieve a common goal. The leaders love to give power to the employee, they are not stuck on their position, they follow and them this enables them lead accurately. The employees are self-organizing and self-motivated and this makes them very productive because they feel like they are part of something – “team” if you would like to call it by a fancy term.
The Leach Culture
Opposite to the Clan culture, the leach culture is one where the company is only concerned about the value that can be extracted from the employee, no genuine interest in the employee”s affairs. It’s all about what can you deliver?! The “top executives” of companies with this kind of culture always love and cherish their job tittle, if they can wear a customized shirt that reads “Am the founder, Director and Head of international monetary affairs” they would!.
They love to have power and feel powerful. Money is the main motivation and measure of success within the company is money, money and money! The employees in this companies feel like they are not part of a team even though the “top executives” pretend and say WE ARE ALL A TEAM!
They feel like they are a third party in the organisation and are only there to do their work, get their salary and make the company more money, this culture tend to make employee grow no real and genuine passion for the company”s goal and ambitions. Things get dirty quickly ; If an employee isn’t “making money” he is fired! No real interest in trying to understand what the problem is, how it can be solved, what the termination will cause to the team , what the employee needs inorder to perform better. Remember, they just want to leach value. Although each employee has a “job tittle” unique to them and their
skills for which they were employed for, they don’t fully own the role. The “top executives” with little or no idea of how to “run things” in that role are too concerned about watching and monitoring the employee rather than doing their own task.
The employees are mostly neither self-motivated nor self-organized, even a person with a track record of self-motivation would quickly begin to loose such motivation and only do what his/her job spec says.
To ensure staff self-motivation, self-organization and loyalty, business owners need to move their mindset and ways of conducting business from the industrial economy ways of thinking to the information economy way of thinking inorder to improve employee productivity.
To sum everything up, watch the below 2minute video by Gary Vaynerchuk on how small business owners can build great cultures.
Last words, The Leach Culture was formulated by me based on my experience working with a company. Whats your thoughts on the different types of culture listed above? I would love to know what you think and any more advice you have for business owners in building great cultures.