When people think of success at a company, most attribute it to quality products, effective processes, strong leadership and a positive brand image. While these are all equally important, I would argue that the culture of the company is also crucial in providing a stable backbone that creates a foundation for the future success and growth of an organization.

In a time where 54 million Millennials make up the workforce, many employees are seeking positions with common company, cultural and community values instead of a stable position to hold until retirement.

HR leaders consider a company culture and engagement to be the most difficult task to manage and this seems to be true with several generations of employees co-existing in the same work space, each with their own set of values and cultural differences.

Until recently I had never really concerned myself with trying to align my values with that of the companies I applied to, valuing stability over commonality. In fact, even though there’s heavy emphasis on company culture at General Motors, it wasn’t until I attended a Professional Development Conference that I began to understand just how important a company’s culture is for success and growth for both an organization and an individual.

After attending several seminars and break out sessions where I interacted with GM upper management and professionals from all over the country, it became apparent how passionate these seasoned veterans were about the company. That passion bled into GM’s company culture and these professionals actively sought to emulate these values in their work ethic.

One cultural value that GM espouses is the concept of one team, where we collaborate and share information across the company no matter the position or specialized team we’re assigned to. It might seem like such a simple concept, but this value has ensured that we don’t sequester ourselves in silos, laboring away at work that might not even be beneficial because we’re locked away without bothering to look beyond our specialized team.

I was able to actively engage with engineers, fleet managers, business development managers, zone directors and a wide variety of people that emphasized how massive and influential General Motors is. They also reinforced that notion of one team where we openly shared information about our respective areas of the industry to ultimately improve our own processes and performance.

It might seem simple, but corporate culture is a great way for employees to share a common identity and purpose, moving in a singular direction rather than splaying out like an unruly hydra of sorts. By emphasizing common goals, it encourages employees to set goals of their own.

Having corporate culture reinforces employee retention and brand identity. A strong company culture will attract stronger candidates that also align with those core values, ensuring that they stay with the company because they have that common purpose and moral compass. Similarly, if employees are content in their roles and happy with the direction they’re heading, a company’s brand identity will be positively perceived by the public because of employee satisfaction.

Beyond productivity and satisfaction, company culture is vital in attracting millennials entering the workforce as they highly value a company’s culture when considering job opportunities. Millennial’s are often looking for flexible hours, the opportunity for professional development, as well as a company actively engaging in philanthropic efforts.

Like I mentioned earlier, company culture is the backbone for future success, while quality products, strong leadership, effective processes and a positive brand image are the limbs that drive growth. Without a foundation that supports commonality and allows employees to flourish, those limbs will become stunted and fail to perform effectively.

Lounge Talk With Laz

What values and cultural aspects do you look for in a company that would entice you to work for them? Let me know in the comments below!