Culture Clash: Is Your Company Culture Holding You Back?

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CHTA Communications


Culture Clash: Is Your Company Culture Holding You Back?

A company’s culture is a clearly palpable, yet not always easily definable, aspect of a business. It is the personality of a business. It defines the company’s mission, values, ethics, expectations, goals, and the environment in which employees work. Company culture can also determine whether your business survives, thrives or dies.

When you think of managing a business in this digital age, many things come to mind: social media, mobile strategy, cloud computing, websites, etc.  Information can be created, accessed and shared faster than ever before in our lifetimes. The development and proliferation of OTAs, the sharing economy, social media and other technology driven innovations have forever changed the hospitality and tourism industry. Guests’ purchasing patterns and expectations are now more than ever digitally driven. Only businesses with a culture fueled by innovation and collaboration will leverage technology effectively to its advantage, instead of being paralyzed by it.

According to McKinsey & Company’s recent CEO Survey, an organization’s culture is the most significant self-reported barrier to digital innovation and success. It may seem like a “soft topic” that has little bearing on the bottom line, but nothing could be further from the truth. Shortcomings in organizational culture are no longer optional.

The three most common issues managers, directors and C-level executive’s face regarding their company culture are:

Scared of Risk or Change

When a company is averse to risk or change, underinvestment in strategic opportunities and sluggish responses to quick-changing customer needs are rampant. Having a “this is the way we have always done it” attitude is tantamount to business suicide. Here are a few ways to instill a desire for change in your organization:

  • Focus on innovation and encourage it at all levels.
  • Expose your employees to innovations within and outside your industry.
  • Empower employees to make decisions, by first providing them with the training and tools needed to make change.
  • Reward innovation with additional benefits, perks, bonuses and recognition.
  • Hire outside startups or consultants that can help inject disruptive thinking into your organization

No Collaboration

When employees hesitate to share information or collaborate with each other, the customer loses. Key signals that updates need to be made are missed or acted upon too slowly. Customer satisfaction drops, redundant work multiples and costs go up. When employees lack insight into the broader context in which a business operates, every part of the organization reaches different conclusions based on incomplete or simply different information. Here are a few ways to encourage collaboration:

  • Have an open door policy when it comes to information.
  • Paint a clear picture of each employee’s role in the engagement and retention of customers.
  • Build teams based around individuals whose strengths complement each other.
  • Spread important tasks across a wide range of people. This actually has a dual-positive effect—not only does everyone feel valued and that they have an important role to play within the company, but you also keep individuals from feeling overloaded and overwhelmed.

Unclear Vision of What the Customer Needs

When a unified understanding of customers is lacking, companies often struggle to deliver service to their expectations. Customers increasingly expect companies to respond swiftly to inquiries, to customize products and services seamlessly, and to provide easy access to the information when they need it. Here are some tips to ensure your company is customer-focused:

  • Empower your employees to act with the customer in mind
  • Put people first. If your employees are paramount to your company, your customers will be paramount to your employees.
  • Customer service is everyone’s job, from the owner to the cleaning staff.
  • Personalize your service whenever possible. Share customer demographics, purchasing behaviors with the staff serving them. Monitor social media to gather insights to better care for your guests.

By having a business that embraces change, works collaboratively, and has its eye constantly on what the customer needs, you can manage any industry disruption or technology driven challenge coming your way.