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How brand influences company culture

One of the hurdles for many companies this year has been maintaining the company culture. With a workforce that was sitting in their bedroom, kitchen or dining room, communication became a challenge. In this situation it’s important to understand how brand influences company culture.

Company culture can be defined as a set of shared values and a way of behaving that characterises an organisation. Every company has a “culture” – it’s created as soon as a business expands beyond a single person. It’s determined by the equipment your staff work with, the internal processes you have in place, how much people are paid and way staff speak to each other.

The impact of Covid-19

The lockdown in the Spring forced 46% of the UK working population to work from home (1). While this brought operational challenges, it also put a strain on maintaining company culture. The natural flow of information through an office was lost. The existing processes were redundant. Communication within businesses had to be replaced with a new structure built around virtual team meetings, Zoom calls and Whatsapp Chat groups.

This upheaval of familiar working practices has placed incredible pressure on company culture. In this situation, it’s important to remember that your brand is just as important in attracting (and retaining) the right staff, as it is attracting (and retaining) the right customers. In an HR environment the purpose and values that define your brand have a significant influence on your company culture.

And company culture is valuable. Companies listed among the “best places to work” based on their corporate culture, delivered nearly 20% higher returns to shareholders than comparable companies (2). 90% of business leaders believe that improving corporate culture will increase their company’s value (2). Depending on the size of your business, your priority may not be your company valuation or the return to shareholders. But it is worth remembering that the factors that drive success for large businesses – sales, turnover, profit – are the same factors that drive success for smaller businesses.

The importance of culture for your staff

For your employees, culture plays a significant role in their job satisfaction. 75% of employees agree that their company culture drives their active engagement at work (3). Glassdoor is a global digital platform that combines job vacancies with millions of employee reviews, to help people find the right job. There are 55 million employee reviews on the site. 93% of these reviews discuss some element of company culture (2). Employees identify company culture as the most important factor in workplace satisfaction (4).

However, the pressure of Covid-19 has left company cultures looking fragile. 68% of employees admitted they would consider leaving their job, because of the poor treatment they received during Covid-19 (5). Businesses that want to retain their staff need to understand the factors that contribute to company culture and influence the employee experience. You need to consider how Covid-19 may have impacted your company culture, and what you can do to address those changes.

In a recession your culture becomes even more important. It creates a framework for your response to the challenge of managing your team through the turmoil. Whether that is leading some employees through a redundancy process, creating a safe working environment for your staff, or supporting them remotely as they work from home. Your culture will provide the continuity you need to get the best out of your team, and drive your business success through the recession. So it’s vital you understand how brand influences company culture.

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1. ONS, Coronavirus and homeworking in the UK, April 2020

2. MIT Sloan Management Review, Measuring Culture in Leading Companies, 2019
3. TINYpulse, Employee Engagement Report, 2019
4. Glassdoor, Job & Hiring trends for 2020, 2019
5. Top Resume, July 2020

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