With the amount of research that's come out on the topic over the past few years, the argument is hard to refute -- your company's culture is a big deal. According to Deloitte, "There are few factors that contribute more to a business's success than culture (a system of values, beliefs, and behaviors that shape how real work gets done within an organization."
Whereas in the past it might have been difficult to build a business case for an investment in culture, nowadays all it takes is a quick Google search to see that organizations are finding correlations between a healthy culture and stronger organizational performance, increased employee engagement, and greater shareholder value.
According to the Deloitte 2016 Human Capital Trends report, nearly nine in ten (87 percent) of respondents now say that culture is essential.
As the benefits of investing in culture become more assessable, organizations are shifting their focus and devoting resources to crafting a great workplace environment.
A company that was highlighted for their great culture in the book Time, Talent, Energy, by Michael Mankins and Eric Garton, was Anheuser-Busch. According to their site, seven of Anheuser-Busch's ten core principles speak to the culture they hope to create.
1. We are never completely satisfied with our results, which are the fuel of our company. Focus and zero-complacency guarantee lasting competitive advantage.
Every day is a battle against an invisible enemy. One that tells us to find the path of least resistance and coast. One that says we should rely on what's comfortable rather than hard work and determination. This enemy is our past successes, hesitations, and complacency telling us that the status quo is good enough.
High performing companies understand that their work is never done and continually pursue new innovative ways to reinvent their business.
2. The consumer is the boss. We serve our consumers by offering brand experiences that play a meaningful role in their lives, and always in a responsible way.
As a company grows, it's easy to lose sight of the customer and place other stakeholders ahead of who's really important. Although they may not be tuning in to every one of your earnings calls, your customers are the ones behind the numbers. Make sure to put first things first.
I love that Anheuser-Busch comes right out with it and let's all their employees know who's really boss. Doing so makes sure that everyone stays focused on the end game of driving customer value.
3. We are a company of owners. Owners take results personally.
Every company hopes that their employees embody their organizational values and embrace the culture as their own. This is the only way to realize cultural advantages and sustain the performance benefits from increased employee engagement.
However, for employees to grasp the culture, they'll first need to develop an owner's mindset. I've seen companies speed up the process by rallying employees around a shared vision and giving them autonomy over their roles.
4. We believe common sense and simplicity are usually better guidelines than unnecessary sophistication and complexity.
This reminds me of one of my favorite Albert Einstein quotes, "If you can't explain it simply, then you don't understand it well enough."
It should be the goal of every organization to simplify their business as much as they possibly can. The more than your employees understand, the more than can troubleshoot and innovate in the future.
5. We manage our costs tightly, to free up resources that will support sustainable and profitable top line growth.
Spend where it counts. This discipline comes from the top down and should be the charge of every department and employee.
Organizations need to be transparent and should be updating employees on where resources are being deployed and what areas of the business need to be developed to secure the organization's future.
6. Leadership by personal example is at the core of our culture. We do what we say.
Nothing will undermine a culture faster than those who don't practice what they preach -- especially at the leadership level.
A list of core principles will only be worth the paper that they're printed on unless leaders take it upon themselves to be an example for others.
7. We never take shortcuts. Integrity, hard work, quality, and responsibility are key to building our company.
When all else fails and there's no one around to provide direction, your organization's values can be an employee's north star.
Even more important than committing to values on paper, is having an employee's back when they exercise them.
I'll leave you with a great quote on the importance of culture from Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell soup, "To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace."