HRhelp co-founder Cornelis Leerlooijer (pictured above) explains the importance of company cultures:
“Having worked for several years in various international companies, I have experienced many different types of company cultures.
If you zoom in on the culture of a company you will see that dominant company cultural factors are often present in the different parts of the organization.
You will also find that cultural differences between the departments within the same organization can sometimes be considerable. From an expressive sales team with a demanding manager to a financial department more focused on creating a predictable environment.
What matters in organizations is the existence or non-existence of shared values from bottom to top. Respect, genuine interest in a team. These determine to a large extend acceptable behavior and contribute to a constructive company culture.
At the beginning of my career, I had the pleasure of leading a team consisting of employees from different (cultural) backgrounds. I was young in my career, and quite quickly advised by a number of senior managers in the company on how to lead my team: keep it simple, clear and strict, and you get the team’s respect.
As stubborn as I was, I decided to take a slightly different approach. Instead of being very strict, I started to give my team responsibilities and the space to do things their own way.
The interesting thing was that after a few weeks, I started to notice a different behavior. The team’s level of commitment and pride had grown. The effect was even greater than I had expected (in a positive way) and they went a step further without asking.
The culture of a company is important and should not be underestimated. Getting stuck in stereotypes and traditional views doesn’t help. Instead understanding the cultural differences between people and teams, and treating people with respect and dignity, is a good start for any constructive corporate culture.
In multicultural companies, setting the standard and expectation is even more important. This helps avoiding stepping into the trap of treating people in diverse teams differently.”
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