We define culture as a natural way of being, thinking and acting in the organization; it is what enables people to be themselves, think on their own and act autonomously while causing them to act consistently and purposefully.
Why is Culture Important?
Culture is to organizations what character is to individuals. It shapes their resilience, their ability to consistently perform under any circumstances. "If you get the culture right, the rest (brand, employees, customers) will take care of itself." (T. Hsieh, Founder and CEO, Zappos Inc.)
It also fosters innovation. According to the 2013 Deloitte Millenials Innovation Survey, poor or weak culture is considered by Millenials the second biggest barrier to innovation (just behind financial resources) in organizations.
A strong and authentic culture also improves retention of existing employees and appeal for job applicants. According to the latest Kelly Global Workforce Index, corporate culture is the main factor influencing potential employees when evaluating a job opportunity, together with brand and location. It is also the most influential factor in terms of the likelihood that current employees will recommend their employer.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, culture drives business performance and success. According to a recent Deloitte "Core Beliefs and Culture" Survey in the U.S., 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture drives business success. Additionally, there is a correlation between employees who say they are “happy at work” and feel “valued by [their] company” and those who say their organization has a clearly articulated and lived culture. Yet, only 19% of executives and 15% of employees believe strongly that their culture is widely upheld within their own organizations.
Signs of "cultural issues"
- Do you feel your organization underperforms its potential?
- Do you feel your business performance is vulnerable to external events?
- Do your employees feel insecure?
- Do people work in silos? Are they reluctant to cooperate and to share information?
- Do you find it hard to retain and attract talent?
- Would you like to have more confidence in your organization’s ability to make the right decisions and to display the right mindset and skills in all circumstances?
Typical symptoms of "cultural issues":
- Communication: impersonal, lack of transparency…
- Generational gap: juniors don’t speak out, seniors don’t include them…
- Collaboration: People competing with each other, working in silos, not cooperating…
- People in fire-fighting mode or in “C.Y.A.” mode
- High turnover, among recent/young hires
- Inconsistent decisions and behaviors
- Low morale, sense of insecurity
- Lack of enthusiasm, “frozen” culture
The Key Ingredients of a Strong Culture
A strong culture stems from the ability of the organization to engage its employees as “whole persons” – body, mind, heart and soul – and to create a context that gives them the opportunity to nurture key human qualities (beyond their technical skills) and thus optimize their human potential at work.
The Key Qualities to Support a Strong Culture and Drive Long-term Performance
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