What is ‘company culture’ and why does it matter? Company culture is nothing more than how you do things, from hiring and firing to training, decision-making and even setting business processes.
It matters because a poor ‘cultural fit’ can cause an otherwise valuable employee to under-perform or even leave your company. With competition for good drivers – and good staff generally – intensifying, it pays to make sure your company culture is welcoming, inclusive and geared towards high performance.
“You have to demonstrate the behaviour you want to see,” says Kelly McLuckie, NTI’s Customer Culture and Transformation Manager, “and call it out when it’s not.”
“Over the long term, you want people who are committed to continuous improvement and advancement.”
For new employees, in particular, five aspects of company culture stand out as ‘make or break’:
- Relationships (including collaboration and mentoring)
- Communications (formal or informal, face-to-face or by email/messaging)
- Decision-making (analysis versus action, who makes decisions and how)
- Individual or group perspective (who ‘owns’ work and results)
- Change agents (attitude towards change and feedback)
If you can communicate the values and expectations around these to new staff clearly and quickly, then they’re more likely find their feet and decide if they want to commit to your organisation.
But culture isn’t only relevant to new team members who are ‘learning the ropes’. Even long-serving staff can find themselves at odds with their employer from time to time, so how do you make sure everyone understands how your company works and what’s expected of them?
Leadership is the key
It all comes down to leadership. From senior managers to line managers and team supervisors, you want to be sure that your leaders are modelling your company values and ‘living’ your company culture every day.
Many companies have mottos or values statements, such as ‘the customer comes first’, ‘service is our business’ or even ‘satisfaction guaranteed’. Your leaders should put these into effect – going the extra mile (sometimes literally) for customers, always giving good service (and demanding their teams do the same) and always making sure customers are satisfied with the service they’ve had.
From a team member’s point of view, this matters because it sets expectations – they know how they should act, so they can focus on doing their job without wondering if they’re doing it the right way.
Good culture is good business
Companies that are committed to continuous improvement, for example, set a standard for service and performance that delivers a competitive advantage. At NTI we’re proud of our company culture – we live our values, we welcome feedback, and our staff are committed to the company and our customers.
“We know good culture is good business”, says Kelly. “It keeps evolving, and the benefit is our team members then take those values to our clients.”
That’s why we offer programs and specialist services to help businesses manage fatigue, train their drivers and more. Our new Sustainability Team is another initiative. Made up of experts who understand and appreciate our customers’ needs and their pain points, it’s more than a way to help our customers improve their businesses, it also shows our team that we’re serious about our values.
“Sustainability means safer people and safer businesses”, says Chief Sustainability Officers Chris Hogarty. “It’s about more than just our current and future NTI customers. This is about the industry as a whole, whether they are insured with us or not. A safer, better industry is everyone’s business.”