Cultivating Company Culture

May 14, 2013

Debbie Sessions
Partner

How does an organization’s culture affect its success and long term sustainability?  What is culture exactly? One definition is “the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group”.  So, how does an organization or a company with many different social, ethnic and age groups develop a specific culture?

Many companies have obvious cultures, and even people not in those organizations know what they are.  When you think of Disney, you think of fun, creativity and children.  Chick Fil A symbolizes strong values and work ethic.  The Apple culture is all about being the first – developing what people will want in the future – defining that future for them.

At PKM, we talk about drinking the kool aid – and that kool aid is what we define as our culture.  One where we care about individuals and creating an exciting, client service focused organization.  It is difficult to train employees to care about our clients, if they do not feel that the organization cares for them.  The PKM culture and how different it is from other organizations became very clear to us when we were part of a team working on a large governmental project.  Our employees and the employees from a much larger, global company quickly saw the differences in our approach to teamwork and employee satisfaction compared to the large organization.

Our culture and how we treat our employees is very important to us.  It is so important that we have been honored to be named “Best Places to Work” for four consecutive years, as well as the only CPA firm named as a “Psychologically Healthy Workplace”.  Culture at PKM is intentional and motivated by always doing “the right thing”.  Sometimes the right thing is not black and white, and requires some thought and deliberation to determine.  But, if you consider the impact of decisions from an individual perspective first and then from a global perspective, usually the right decision will fall out.

Culture is so important that when we recruit college students we encourage them to put the culture and the people fit above everything else when they make a career decision.  It is much easier to be happy and fulfilled in a culture that you believe values you as an individual and not just a worker.