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Investing in a strong company culture is integral to the operations of small businesses, finds new research.

The cost of poor culture is costing the UK economy £23.6 billion per year, according to HR software provider breatheHR.

The organisation has issued a ‘company culture pledge’ to persuade organisations, regardless of their size, to invest in their culture and grow their business.

Dispelling myths that company culture is merely a ‘nice to have’, it has already been signed by over 50 companies including Dorset Wildlife Trust, Ridgeview Wine Estate and LEWIS.

Jonathan Richards, CEO and founder of breatheHR says, ‘Culture isn’t a box-ticking exercise. If it’s not given the focus it deserves, the impact runs deeper than business success and individual experience.

‘Companies that don’t invest in creating and nurturing its culture, will see top talent leave and productivity levels plummet. Culture should be a core element in every business. Not an exception.’

He adds that, although there are many businesses with inspiring cultures, over half of them still don’t value its importance.

‘Of course, we understand the pressures that SME owners face. But we urge them to make culture a high priority and to integrate culture into their business strategy. After all, it makes business sense to do so.’

Zoe Jervier, operating partner of talent and investment adviser at EQT Ventures adds, ‘With 80 per cent of young people researching a company’s culture before considering a job, investing in culture can help attract and retain the best talent.

‘For any business going through growth, and taking culture seriously, this pledge is a powerful initiative to demonstrate your commitment.’

Investing in your own company culture

A strong company culture can be a focus for even the smallest businesses and can go a long way towards strengthening your team’s engagement and productivity.

Whether you’re thinking of team-building days out, free food on a Friday, or even implementing a bonus structure – Small Business Grants can offer the funds you need to kickstart the company culture you envision.

Related: Steven Bartlett’s top 5 tips for team building