I recently read a survey from Deloitte which looked at the importance of a strong business culture and found that in exceptional organisations (and let’s face it we all want to be exceptional!), there’s often a two-sided focus: strategy and culture. It also said that 88% of employees and 94% of executives believe having a distinct ethos is important. This is definitely true; a strong ethos and positive culture will help motivate employees, which got me thinking about the purpose of culture to businesses and what it is that organisations are looking for.

The Mindjet team sat down at the end of last year to look at why we come to work each day, and decided it’s because our ethos is one that’s challenging, rewarding and fun. A culture needs to motivate and encourage teams, but it is possible to go too far. Andrew Hill at the FT draws an important distinction between cult and culture – the former is not a route businesses should embrace whereas the latter ensures there is one sense of direction that still allows for individuality and innovation.

Why Care About Culture?

Whatever type of culture businesses chose to adopt, a strong ethos and positive culture will undoubtedly help motivate employees, and, as our recent research found, motivating staff is particularly important at the moment – 19% of employees feel unmotivated at work, with a third of employers saying they need to do more to help resolve this. Every organisation has a culture, but it will vary from business to business. Having the right one is something all companies should strive for so that employees feel comfortable and able to achieve their objectives together. The key is to cultivate it to suit the organisation’s members and goals.

Consider All Audiences

In today’s organisations, it’s not uncommon for four generations to be employed at one time, each with different goals, motivations and preferences. But it’s the employers’ challenge to cater for these under one cultural umbrella.

The Adecco Group warns that employers must ensure processes and culture appeal to a diverse range of attitudes, personalities and skills, particularly as 47% of generation Y expect a promotion every 2 years, compared to a 5th of workers as a whole. The simple fact is, employees coming in to the workplace now, expect more. They are demanding and want companies to be innovative, offer flexible working and to be able to work from their own devices. Whether or not these are allowed forms within a particular organisation’s culture. As working practices these aren’t suitable for every organisation, but the more you can incorporate these, or at least provide the option, the better placed your organisation’s culture will be to help you adapt and grow.

A Better Place To Be

Everyone wants to make their workplace somewhere people want to be, and sharing, communicating and working collaboratively can help achieve this. If you think the business lacks a clear ethos, you’ve seen a couple of small cliques or ‘cult’-like groups emerging, or that it just needs a bit of a revival, speak to people. Find out what your employees want in the workplace, hold an open forum, or start something simple like a suggestion box. You’ll soon be able to tell what people are looking for and that way you’ll be able to ensure no one’s excluded and crucially that you’re developing a culture that’s appealing and welcoming to newcomers too.

When it comes to culture it’s definitely not a case of one size fits all. But having the right one is something all companies should strive for so that employees feel comfortable and able to achieve their objectives together.