Why a strong company culture is so important in the digital transformation age
Company culture has always been an important business aspect, but the past few years marked by both upheaval and digitalization have now truly highlighted the importance of fostering a strong, employee-focused culture. In this article, we’ll break down 5 chief reasons for this and provide 5 tips for developing a strong company culture. Let’s get started.
Remote & hybrid work
One of the first and most breaking changes for pretty much anyone working in tech was the introduction of remote work / work from home at the start of the Covid pandemic. At first we all thought that this was just a temporary measure, but as soon as it started to become apparent that it was to be much more permanent, companies started to make adjustments in order to make this work long-term.
What many businesses ultimately settled on was a hybrid work model which combines remote and in-office work. Of course, this comes with its own set of challenges which require the company culture to be even stronger and more people-focused. It now needs to be even more clearly defined and promoted, so that the employees working remotely are also able to experience it properly and feel like they belong to the team.
Competition for top talent
Another compelling reason for developing and nurturing a strong human-centered company culture is the high demand for top talent which is particularly seen in the tech industry.
With such an abundance of choice, a lot of sought-after professionals consider more than just the salary and other financial perks of a job. A healthy, well communicated, employee-focused company culture will be essential to attracting and retaining these individuals.
Rise in new, unfamiliar technologies
The core tenet of the digital age is the unprecedented technological innovation, giving rise to a plethora of new technologies that require a different mindset and novel skills to be fully leveraged.
A company culture focused on learning and professional development will make it easier for people to acquire new skills which are necessary to grow and progress in such an environment. Well structured onboarding and upskilling resources have become more than just nice-to-haves and are now essential elements of a strong, forward-looking culture.
Stress and uncertainty that come with change
All of this change that comes with digitalization – and just society in general right now – is connected with a lot of uncertainty that leads to stress, whether conscious or unconscious. And it’s really no surprise at a time of disruptions such as the growing economic crisis and the rise of generative AI which is sure to completely disrupt work as we know it, causing even more fear about the uncertainty of the future.
To help mitigate this stress and prevent your employees from burning out, your company culture should be employee-centric and include accessible ways of boosting team spirit and promoting connection between teammates. As so many of us have witnessed during the past few years, even just connecting online can be invaluable during such times.
Particularly due to the above two points, a strong company culture should be optimized for change management. Change inevitably brings about resistance to change, and if you give in to it, you’re sure to start lagging behind the competitors who are embracing change by helping their employees do so.
So, the better your company is at change management, the better your chances of unlocking the opportunities that arise with all this change rather than getting dragged behind by the challenges it poses.
Tips for a strong company culture
So, now that you’re keenly aware of the reasons for a strong company culture, how can you actually go about strengthening it? Here are 5 tips to follow.
- Leadership should drive and exhibit culture. Culture is something that needs to be fostered top-down rather than bottom-up; of course small changes can happen in the opposite direction, but it’s unlikely that major ones get introduced without dedicated involvement from leadership.
- Hire for culture fit. With the abundance of knowledge and learning resources, upskilling and reskilling have become a lot easier – if not necessary, as we’ve alluded to earlier with regards to new technologies and adjacent skills. So, adapt your hiring practices to focus more on culture fit rather than strictly technical expertise; that’s not to say you should completely ignore candidates’ competencies, just keep in mind that someone who is a poor culture fit is likely to cause more trouble than they’re worth, regardless of their proficiency.
- Clearly define your mission, vision and values. It’s very difficult to create and nurture a healthy company culture if you don’t know what that culture is even based on.
- Prioritize and promote work-life balance. This has become even more important with the surge in remote and hybrid work, as the line between work and personal life can often become blurred when working from home. A healthy work-life balance is one of the best defenses against burnout and a key element of employee well being.
- Have a system for collecting (anonymous) feedback. This demonstrates both openness and a willingness to adapt to the needs of employees if needed. Make sure to respect people’s anonymity, as the option of giving feedback anonymously makes such feedback much more likely to happen – and to be honest.
Your employees are your most important stakeholders, as they’re the ones creating customer-facing experiences and interacting with customers. Taking care to have your company culture be people-focused and value-based will thus translate into better customer-facing experiences and a more sustainable business.