The Deloitte Best Company to Work For survey, now in its seventh year, is one of the country’s definitive business surveys. In this second of three articles focusing on the survey, Entrepreneur looks at some of the common cultural characteristics of companies that make it onto the top 20 list.
Company culture, the values and practices shared by the members of an organisation, can make or break your company. Companies with an adaptive culture that is aligned to their business goals routinely outperform their competitors. Some studies report the difference at 200% or more. To achieve results like this for your organisation, you have to figure out what your culture is, decide what it should be, and move everyone toward the desired culture.
David Conradie, human capital principal at Deloitte, says the Best Company to Work For survey has revealed several common cultural characteristics shared by companies who came out tops.
“This is important, because only a company culture that is aligned with your goals, one that helps you anticipate and adapt to change, will help you achieve superior performance over the long run,” he says.
Among the most important cultural attributes shared by the top companies in the survey, Conradie lists the following:
1. Strong and unique cultures based on core value systems. Top companies live their values at every level of the organisation, from support staff all the way through to top management. Leaders of these companies embody the values the organisation espouses. These values are in turn generated through a process of engagement with employees, all of whom understand and embrace them.
2. A culture of respect, openness and trust across the board. Trust is the most fundamental element of a winning team. Shaping a culture in which group members can trust each other enough to work together is a fundamental leadership task. The trust of followers allows leaders to lead. Today, good leaders are those who develop – not control – their followers. Feelings of trust are developed by the way people interact. Cultural values also influence the development of feelings of trust and a willingness to trust, in turn, helps define culture.
3. Robust recruitment and selection procedures. There is no question that company cultures evolve and change over time. As employees leave the company and new people are hired, each new employee brings their own values and practices to the group. But if a company’s culture is strong, the change will be minimal. That is because top companies are extremely careful about who they bring in through their doors and they go to great lengths to ensure that people fit into the environment and are able to align themselves with the values and culture of the organisation.