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While company culture has been heralded as a catalyst to business success, notably more so in the last five years, viewing it as a force multiplier to be reckoned with — good or bad — can mean the difference between success and failure. Although the term force multiplier originated in military science to explain how a combination of certain factors can help accomplish greater feats than would occur without them, this concept can be applied to many areas of life, especially in the business world.
Savvy leaders who understand the multiplying effect of company culture on every aspect of business operations typically promote a robust business model based on a people-focused approach that supports a high-performing workforce.
As more and more leaders use company culture to amplify efforts/output, it is important to understand the factors in equations that equal the final products. Listed below are three areas to consider.
1. Define the equation
When using a mathematical analogy to address a business approach incorporating a force multiplier, it is important to define the equation: Factor x Multiplier = Final Product. When company culture is used as a multiplier, every aspect of a business is significantly impacted by the culture and can become better or worse; stronger or weaker; more efficient or less efficient; and productive or unproductive, depending on the type of culture.
As the term implies, multipliers enable factors to quickly exceed their original level with profound outcomes in a positive or negative direction. Culture can propel companies to new levels or bring them to a grinding halt. Culture is a strong force to be reckoned with because it has power and influence that can make or break a company.
2. Set the stage
For culture to positively influence a company, it should be a culture by design instead of default. A great culture based on a strong mission and company values serves as a solid foundation for a company and sets the stage for all business functions to grow and flourish. Companies that take a strategic approach to creating a culture that people want to be a part of and grow within are better positioned for long-term success because they can rely on their culture as a force multiplier.
Components of a great culture address employee needs and wants — financial, health/wellness, professional/social and community — with outstanding benefits/compensation packages, generous PTO and flexible schedules, training/development programs, community involvement activities and more.
When employers address the needs and want of a workforce with outstanding benefits/perks, they are not only displaying their support for employees, but they are also creating a destination workplace based on a culture that is second to none.
3. Understand the final products and benefits
Savvy leaders realize that people are a company’s most valuable asset, and without people – employees and customers – there is no business. Therefore, when culture serves as a positive force multiplier that revolves around people, the final products/benefits in the equations should result in substantial people-focused improvements that build upon each other, impact the bottom line and lead to ongoing business success. Key areas include:
Recruiting and hiring x Culture = More qualified candidates. When company culture is used to boost recruiting and hiring efforts, every phase of the process should reflect the mission and values of a company, including job descriptions, postings, interviews, team introductions and ongoing post-hire communications, which exposes candidates and new hires to the culture before joining a company.
When the culture is consistently reinforced, companies can attract qualified candidates/new hires with similar values and beliefs who can make a difference. It also makes the hiring process more efficient and less costly, affecting the bottom line.
Onboarding and Training x Culture = Increased Employee Retention. Onboarding and training programs that integrate company culture into their processes help new hires acclimate and ramp up faster. Programs should include detailed explanations of how roles contribute to a team and the company, an overview of processes and procedures and an assigned team mentor for guidance, questions and assistance with day-to-day technology. When new employees are warmly welcomed and supported, they feel more connected to a company, resulting in happy, productive workers who are less likely to leave, increasing employee retention.
Performance management x culture = Improved employee engagement and performance. Companies with a robust performance management program typically boast a culture that promotes professional development, including reskilling and upskilling programs, career planning/paths, mentorship opportunities and tuition reimbursement for continuing education and industry certifications. When employers are committed to the professional development of workers, they continue to learn and grow within a company, leading to discretionary efforts, improved engagement and increased performance.
Customer service x culture = Increased customer experience and retention. When leaders encourage employees to extend the company culture through proactive customer interactions by forming relationships and treating them as one of the family, it is an excellent way for customers to gain better insight into who they are doing business with, which can lead to an unparalleled customer experience and increased retention. Further, loyal customers may purchase additional products/services and lead to valuable referrals, which help increase company revenues.
The power of multiplication cannot be overstated, especially in business operations when culture is used as a force multiplier to achieve greater people-focused results that lead to tenured employees who perform at high levels for sustained business success.