Can You Teach Employees to ‘Fit In?’

Corporate culture is one of those terms that floats around quite a bit, particularly when it comes to training new employees. You want your new employees to not just understand what it is your organization stands for, but you want them to be able to implement their understanding of your culture, and essentially, as one Forbes writer recently put it, assimilate.

Corporate culture can sometimes be difficult to assimilate oneself into.

Corporate culture can sometimes be difficult to assimilate oneself into.

As contributor Eric Basu stated the concept, assimilation is one of those words that really can carry negative connotations—we often think of it as the process of losing ourselves in order to blend into a greater organization, and it’s a word that can even carry with it more detrimental associations dealing with race and culture.

Basu flips those negative connotations, and points out that when assimilation is part of your corporate training it doesn’t have to mean a loss of individuality, and is instead a very important part of the overall success of any organization.

Some of the corporations Basu points to as having a very robust sense of corporate culture, which he says is seen as even “cult-like” include companies like Nordstrom and Google, among others. There’s one thing all of the companies he lists have in common—great success.

Unfortunately, as many employees there are who feel unwilling to assimilate into anything related to their workplace, there are just as many entrepreneurs who also feel this way. As the writer says, many people who branch out to start their own business tend to have their own ideas about individuality and striving to shed the big corporation mentality.

Despite the negative, and often wrong ideas that come with the concept of laying out and firmly adhering to a sense of corporate culture, there’s real value to be found. When there’s a strong corporate culture and employees are encouraged to assimilate into their workplace wholeheartedly, there’s often a better sense of engagement, standards and expectations are clearer, and there’s more overall success for everyone.

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, and you struggle with the concept of training your employees on corporate culture, here are some tips to include in your eLearning and your day-to-day operations that can help you reduce turnover, see better productivity on the part of your employees, and also help your employees build stronger customer relationships and loyalty:

  • Lead by example. You’re the leader of your organization, so what you do on a daily basis is going to have a big impact on your employees, whether you realize it or not. Before you begin creating eLearning to train employees on corporate culture concepts, be sure you’re clear on just what your culture is meant to be, and live it on a daily basis.
  • Develop a mission statement. Mission statements are frequently overlooked, but extremely important. Include your mission statement throughout your eLearning, whether it’s in your initial training or throughout later development training, and ensure your employees don’t just know it, but really understand what it means and how it can be applicable to their job on a daily basis.
  • Ask for feedback. It’s important that you include the thoughts of your employees as a driving force of your corporate culture. After employees complete eLearning training, ask them for periodic feedback to understand how they view your corporate culture, how they feel it pertains to them, and whether or not they feel it’s working for them on an individual level. This takes away from that sense of losing one’s personal identity to a corporate culture, and lets your employees feel like they’re retaining their individual sense of self, while also becoming part of the organization’s goals and trajectory.
  • Don’t create a corporate culture that doesn’t fit with your business. Every business is going to have a corporate culture that’s unique—for example, Apple’s may be very different from what you’ll find at Starbucks. When you’re training employees on corporate culture, it’s not going to resonate with them if it seems ridiculous, inauthentic or inapplicable to the actual workplace they find themselves in.

Corporate culture is important to include in your eLearning training—when employees understand who they’re working for, it gives them a stronger foundation for success and development in the workplace. The concepts of your individual corporate culture should be introduced in employees’ initial training, and then carried forward in learning, development and day-to-day activities and interactions.

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