Corporate Culture: What It Is, Who It's
for, Why It Matters
The trouble with job applications is that on the surface they're all the same. Typically, the cover letters all announce the applicants' candidacy for the job you advertised, vow they would be an asset to your organization because they possess exactly the same skills you've listed in your ad, and solicit an interview to display their talents further. Not only are these missives trite and boring, but they also fail to provide the essential information that you as a prospective employer require.
Corporate culture is the distinctive personality or character of a particular company. It is formed collectively of the written and unwritten rules governing "how things are done around here" and how staff interacts.Fortunately, the resumes they enclose are more informative and reveal to the trained eye whether or not the candidates actually have the experience and skills you're looking for. But there is still no substitute for an interview to show you who the candidates really are, if they're the kind of individuals you'd want on your team, and-all importantly-whether or not they are a good fit for your corporate culture.
What is it?
Corporate culture is the distinctive personality or character of a particular company. It is formed collectively of the written and unwritten rules governing "how things are done around here" and how staff interacts. It encompasses a vast number of factors, including:
- organizational goals, values, priorities, and behavior
- strictness of the corporate hierarchy
- method and style of communication among staff at all levels
- opportunities for recognition, training, initiative, and advancement of employees, support for their family responsibilities
- sense of community, emphasis on team work versus competition
- tolerance of difference, individualism, risk-taking, and uncertainty
- expectations for sharing personal information with co-workers and socializing outside work
- dress code
- arrangement and use of space, furniture, windows, allotment of privacy, visibility of personal belongings, availability of communal facilities such as lunch rooms
Why is corporate culture so important? Research indicates that it is 80% responsible for determining an employee's degree of motivation and emotional commitment to the job.At PrintLink we recognize that no two workplaces are the same, so what is appropriate behaviour in one corporate culture may be perceived differently in another. For example, employees have to be able to make fairly obvious adjustments in deportment when moving from a large, formal, suit-and-tie firm to a small creative operation where everyone wears jeans and uses first names only-or else they risk being labeled as cold and distant by their new colleagues and customers.
Why does it matter?
Why is corporate culture so important? Research indicates that it is 80% responsible for determining an employee's degree of motivation and emotional commitment to the job. (The employee's own emotional health determines the other 20%.) The ability of employees to mesh with the corporate culture is also a huge determinant of their productivity and future prospects for success with the company. A mismatch not only results in excessive job stress but also drains employees through consuming high levels of adaptive energy, since misfits are continuously forced to adjust themselves to the work environment against their natural inclinations. Conversely, a good match gives effective communication between the employee and the corporation a jump start, allows synergies to emerge between them, and promotes more productive interaction on both sides.
Companies need to be open about their corporate culture. If staff members don't know what's going on, they'll end up getting information by listening to rumors. In effect, the company ends up paying people to be stressed or paranoid, as opposed to paying them to work.When considering corporate culture, sometimes even the most promising job candidate can amount to a square peg in a round hole and, no matter how productive that person's history, it may be better to find someone else. The reason? An employee who doesn't fit the corporate culture often winds up leaving a job and costing the company money. That's why it's so important for companies to be open with both their staffing specialists and job-seekers-to give them sufficient information to make informed decisions-not just about the skills they're looking for in employees, but also about the personality traits and behaviors that best fit their corporate culture.
Additionally, companies need to be open about their corporate culture with their own employees as well as job candidates. Otherwise, if staff members don't know what's going on, they'll end up getting information about their workplace by listening to rumors. Usually this methodology runs contrary to the company's best interest because, in effect, the company ends up paying people to be stressed or paranoid, as opposed to paying them to work.
Technology and corporate culture
Besides exhibiting at Graphic Expo and other trade shows, PrintLink participates in industry associations and conferences, because we believe it is important for us to be where the printing industry congregates. Participating in trade events not only enables us to meet clients personally and to feel and assess the pulse of the industry … it also lets us preview the most up-to-date technology and keep abreast of the staff skills needed to maximize profitability from the latest software and hardware acquisitions. For, while technology can definitely increase a company's profits, it's equally crucial to remember that technology doesn't function alone: it needs competent people to run it.
Companies need to be open about their corporate culture. If staff members don't know what's going on, they'll end up getting information by listening to rumors. In effect, the company ends up paying people to be stressed or paranoid, as opposed to paying them to work.An excellent illustration of technology's dependence on people is suggested by Cary Sherburne's October article for WTT. Cary reported that, in making their top technology picks at Graph Expo, a panel of experts singled out management information systems as a printer's most valuable aid to profitability. The panel and Cary, too, firmly believe that printers must run their operations based on information not instinct.
Yet the technology that gathers the information is, after all, only an automated tracking tool. In order for it to be used effectively, managers must analyze and interpret the information it provides, then translate their findings into sound business decisions. So, just as with all technology, the value of management information systems is driven entirely by people. In fact, to produce optimal results, all types of technological innovation require management to adopt a renewed focus on people--on hiring qualified individuals to drive it, on training staff to develop new skills to compete in a fast-changing industry, or on staff-retention strategies to keep vital knowledge within the company.
Moreover, because nowadays technology affects the entire printing workflow, a company's focus on the people driving the technology must extend not just to one or two employees any more but throughout the entire organization. So to embrace change in technological processes successfully, companies often need to make corresponding changes in their entire corporate culture. To enable their staff to reap maximum results, companies may need to revise their common goals, values, attitudes, and actions, then make the new culture an intrinsic part of their day-to-day operations as a prerequisite for success.