The average business executive will more than likely be happy to tell you about what is happening on the balance sheet and usually can do so at great lengths. But what can they tell you about their organization’s culture? The truth is, the success of your organization in part relies upon a culture that is woven into the fabric of all levels of your organization. Remembering this link can help nurture positive changes in the future.
What Is Culture?
Culture within the workplace is a concept that is often misconstrued. This is less about having a so-called “fun” office and more about an underlying philosophy that all levels of the organization buy into. An office ice hockey table is great for downtime, but is it complemented by a set of core values known by all internal stakeholders? Your teams enjoy the comfy sofas, but are they listing aimlessly because company goals are not clearly defining a way forward? It is less likely that a project exceeds expectations when developed by a team working within conditions that are unfulfilling, have no clear path forward and for a cause they do not believe in.
Creating a culture that employees enjoy and buy into is a worthwhile endeavor. It can be an effective way to reduce costs, such as new employee training. Averaging 15 studies focused on turnover cost, The Sasha Corporation discovered that replacing an $8 an hour employee resulted in an average cost of $9,444.47 per turnover. This number only rises as wage and position increase. If employees buy into a culture, on average, they stay at the company longer and are less likely to take another position, even if offered higher pay.
An unintended consequence is attracting desirable talent. Word of mouth about a well-run organization travels fast. The overall quality of new applicants improves as those on the job search are looking to join a culture with values that mirror their own. Over time, this leads to a workplace environment that runs with diverse ideas from like-minded individuals working towards moving the organization towards the future.
Of course, these benefits are reliant on a number of factors, one being showing that your organization cares about its employees. Accompany the vision with a reimbursement program for employees with gym memberships. Embrace the core values of care by being generous with maternity and paternity leave. Display passion for the environment by scheduling a work volunteer event to help clean a local park. These efforts will help stimulate your workforce and can help to increase sales through improved public perception. As a Unilever report found, 33% of consumers are making buying decisions based on perceived environmental impact. Taking advantage of this segment of consumers requires a committed internal culture that is felt and seen by external stakeholders.
Do I Need to Make a Change?
If you are unsure about the state of your organization’s culture, just remember that the framework is already there. Referring to the vision of the organization is the perfect starting point.
Ask yourself, how much has the internal culture strayed from the original path? If the vision and culture do not align, now is the time for your organization to take its medicine. Part of the remedy is deciding what changes should be made to get back on track.
What changes need to be implemented vary by organization, but one common thread is planning. Jenn Lim writing for Inc. Magazine suggests forming an action plan for the short term and a road map for bringing the rest of the team into the fold. It’s nigh impossible to plan for everything, but a plan to refer to can help avoid any of the typical pitfalls of an organizational overhaul.
An action plan and road map alone are not guarantees that the health of your organization’s culture will improve. If changes are required, they must be adopted from the top. For most employees, calls to make significant alterations to their daily routine ring hollow if the upper echelon of the organization’s hierarchy is reverting back to habits. Buy in from the top leads to buy-in from the bottom.
Culture is more than a buzzword or a few post-it notes strewn about the office. A concerted effort towards building and developing a culture (and the agility to know when to change) will go a long way in your organization, inside and out.
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Last Edited on May 25, 2018