What Is Company Culture?

posted on 12th Oct 2018 by Deirdre O'Sullivan

Company culture is the new buzz phrase in business today, but what does it actually mean and why does it matter?

According to Frances Frei and Anne Morriss at Harvard Business Review:

“Culture guides discretionary behaviour and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and culture is our guide. Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is, of course, most of the time!”

Ultimately culture is about employees and making sure they have fun during their workday. Every agency owner/manager would like to think that their employees look forward to coming to work.

So why does culture matter?

Simply put culture sustains employee enthusiasm. If you have a happy staff then you will have a productive staff, which means better work and so better reputation for the company or agency. A company culture that facilitates employee happiness means lower turnover and better company performance. It also means your employees are loyal and this will help get through difficult times.

There are 5 types of Corporate Culture: according to Cassie Paton in Internal Communications on 25th September 2016

1. Team-first Corporate Culture aka “the comrade

This applies to a company with a team-first culture and makes employees’ happiness number one. This is a great culture for any customer service-focused company as happy employees are more likely to go that extra mile for customers.

2. Elite Corporate Culture aka “the athlete

An elite corporate culture is always pushing the envelope and expects employees to lead the way with innovation. This company will hire confident, capable, competitive candidates who want to change the world.

3. Horizontal Corporate Culture aka “the free spirit

This is most common among startups and its mindset is one of everyone-pitch-in. Usually, they would be younger companies who have a product or service they are trying to provide, yet are more flexible and able to change based on market research or customer feedback. They will do whatever they can to keep the customer happy – their success depends on it. Titles don’t mean much in this type of culture and here you could have the MD and the admin assistant communicating across their desks to each other rather than email or memos.

4. Conventional Corporate Culture aka “the traditionalist

Traditional companies have clearly defined hierarchies and are still grappling with the learning curves for communicating through new mediums. Companies with formal dress codes are indicative of a more traditional culture, as well as having a numbers-focused approach and risk-averse decision making. Your local bank or car dealership likely embodies these traits. The customer, while crucial, is not necessarily always right – the bottom line takes precedence.

5. Progressive Corporate Culture aka “the nomad

The stand-out trait of this type of culture is uncertainty, as employees are not sure what to expect next. Mergers, acquisitions or sudden market changes can affect a progressive culture. These companies are not customer focused as they usually have investors or advertisers to answer to.

Culture is also important when it comes to hiring people. During the interview process, the interviewer has to pose questions that should give an insight into how this person will fit in the company. Your employees are a direct representation of your company and it’s important to hire people who share your company’s values and fit the culture.

At Neworld we refer to our employees as a “team.” In our recruitment ads we ask people to “join our team.” The difference between being a team rather than just a group of individuals is that individuals see themselves as separate from each other and so want to work on their own. Teams work together and offer to help each other if needed. In a creative agency environment, it is important to share ideas and get different opinions. Nobody minds who gets the credit as long as you all accomplish a successful outcome together. By working in teams each person encourages the other and communicates better and on a more regular basis, which leads to a happier working environment.

Here at Neworld, our hope is that from the minute anyone walks into our office, we want them to feel that this is a different place with a unique culture.

DEIRDRE O’SULLIVAN, H.R. MANAGER

Dee has been part of the Neworld family for nearly 25 years, having worked in many roles in the company she has been our HR Manager for the past 10 years and this is her favourite role so far. Dee believes our “USP” is our wonderful, talented staff and it is her job to keep them happy. Our ethos is “great relationships build great brands” and we strive to have great relationships with all members of our staff and this comes across to our clients.