Culture – Is it as Important as They Say?

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The buzzword “culture” continues to be a hot topic of discussion. We hear often from clients who have the desire to objectively measure and shift their company culture. So, what is the big deal anyway?

colleaguesCulture goes beyond the warm, fuzzy feeling that employees get when they step into the office. Company culture even incorporates much more than the office location, benefits provided or the dress code required. It is related to the behavior of every individual within the organization and the reason they behave the way they do.

Some examples of company culture can include the degree to which the company is innovative or conservative in its thinking, how quickly employees adapt to change, how independent or outgoing the employees are, or how strategic and future-focused the company is. Culture is shaped by the leadership of the organization and is confirmed by the actions of the employees throughout the organization.

Following are two important company initiatives that can be positively or negatively influenced by a company’s culture. It is, in fact, as important as they say!

Attracting Great Talent. With the economy on the rise, it is more important than ever for companies to be attractive to potential candidates. The best way to do this? It starts with culture. Sites like Glassdoor.com and LinkedIn make it easy for potential employees to access information from past employees such as their likes and dislikes. If yours is not a great place to work, job candidates will find out quickly.

Driving & Achieving Strategic Goals. As leaders, it is important to select short-term and long-term goals that help achieve the company’s success. These goals are almost impossible to achieve if you don’t have buy-in from your workforce. Here’s an example. If company leaders have conservative goals and tend to minimize risk by driving the organization to work off of best practices, yet have a workforce of individuals who view the culture as innovative, risk-taking and fast-moving, the workforce won’t only be frustrated, but there won’t be enough buy-in to deliver upon the strategic goals.

Keep in mind that company culture initiatives are driven by the leaders. To effectively do this, consider communicating all changes thoroughly throughout the organization and listen to feedback from those who have direct access to your customers. If employees feel that they have a voice in the culture, you are more likely to experience buy-in from all employees throughout the organization. Another thing to consider is to have an objective, third party measure and assess your current culture. If you aren’t hitting your strategic goals or are finding that you aren’t attracting top talent, it’s possible that your culture may not be aligned with your vision.

Have you experienced a disconnect between your company’s culture and the strategic vision? Have you found that the culture is a contributing factor to the company’s success? Leave a comment in the section below.

Courtney Farris is a project coordinator at Innovative Career Consulting Inc./OI Global Partners. She graduated from Colorado State University in 2013 with a BS in Psychology.

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