The True Meaning of Company Culture

A good company culture is highly sought after by employees nowadays. Company culture is what helps an organization keep their current employees and gain new employees over time. Listen along as Aileron President, Joni Fedders, explain what she believes to be the true meaning of company culture.

We’ve had quite a few business owners at Aileron who really considered selling their company because they didn’t like their own culture that they’ve created.

It becomes a toxic place for people to work where people don’t want to be there. They’re intimidated, people shut down and don’t share information, they’re not valued, they don’t feel valued, they don’t feel respected. So there’s a lot of energy and emphasis these days on thinking through how you be more intentional and purposeful in nurturing your culture because it can probably make or break your company….

It reminds me of the quote by Dr. Maya Angelou where “People are not going to remember what you did or said, but they’re going to remember how they made you feel.” If I think about culture that’s kind of what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the environment you create and how do people feel.

So we’ll have great products, great strategies, we’ll have strengths in marketplace or ability to manufacture or produce things, but at the end of the day, the culture part is how we work or use those things and how we end up really making people feel through the process.

So I’m at McGohan Brabender today, and they are experts. I walk up and they greet me at the front desk, the woman looks up, “Would you like a bottle of water?” I go through the hallways and I see family pictures everywhere. They’ve created a welcoming environment that allows people to see their values on the wall.

To me, it starts originally with a leader who creates, has values. They value certain things and that starts to be turned into actions and structure.

So imagine, a company starts with a leader and there’s four or five people, it’s probably pretty easy to align to values, but as an organization grows to a hundred people, two hundred people, a thousand people those values all of a sudden are challenged because as an employee I also bring my own values and they may not completely align to the organizational values. That’s the constant challenge of leading is how are you getting clear on what those values are and what our customers need and our employees need, and then how are we helping people be synergistic with those values. They don’t have to change theirs, but how can they also play within the values, or understand the values of the company culture.

Anytime a new employee or someone new comes in they bring something into that culture, and the question is how do you help people align to it but be open to their diversity and the differences that they bring.

Something I learned from Clay [Mathile] that he says around culture is that “I’m not sure you can necessarily manage culture, but as a leader, how are you helping with the climate setting? How are you working the environment?”

I think what’s really neat over time is you can help people feel at home because they know the culture, because really, at the end of the day, we all own the culture of how you respond to people, how you work, and can we continue to figure out how we want to do that together.

The True Meaning of Company Culture