Every business has a basic way of doing things. This attitude carries throughout the company, from upper management to the newest employees. Whether it concerns general company goals, suggestion of new project ideas, or a casual dress code on Fridays, this combination of methods and procedures specific to the company comprises its company culture. However, the most important thing to remember is that no company can survive without a strong culture of continuous and never ending improvment.
Setting the Groundwork for Change
Company culture can affect all aspects of a business, with traditional rules becoming so entrenched that change is immediately dismissed. At times, however, a change in the way of doing business is not just desirable, but also necessary.
Before you can change your business culture, you have to identify just what that culture is. Doing so requires close study of company procedures, both those that were implemented due to official directives and those that developed over time. Once you've determined precisely what your current company culture is, you can begin targeting the specific aspects of that company culture that you wish to change.
Begin by creating an entirely new mission statement. The mission statement helps to define just what your company's goals are and what how the management intends to obtain those goals. When you've created the new mission statement, include it in the company's business plan, making any changes in the plan necessary to reflect the new company culture you're trying to establish.
Change from the Top
Implementation of the change in company culture has to start at the top of the business hierarchy. Begin by meeting with senior management and making certain that the newly desired culture is fully understood.
The mission statement is only the beginning of making the cultural change needed, and the full scope of the change must be communicated throughout the workforce. Make sure to include the new mission statement, as well as a general explanation of the desired business culture, in the employee handbook, so all employees are aware of the changes being implemented. However, this is only the beginning. Constant communication on cultural change is vital.
With this new information in hand, senior managers can begin making changes in individual areas of responsibility, always making sure that the changes are explained to workers at all levels of employment. Change is generally gradual, and the more entrenched the current culture is, the harder it will be to change current company thinking. For this reason, you need to work downward through the hierarchy, as all changes must be continually reinforced until the new culture becomes as natural as the old one.
A strong business culture provides many advantages by reflecting the ideals of the company leadership and giving workers a consistent idea of the company's goals and objectives. While change takes considerable effort, once it's been fully adapted at all levels of the company, a new culture can breathe new life into workers, reaffirming company goals while providing a feeling of inclusion. Sustaining a desired culture requires a never ending effort.