Definition of a Healthy Corporate Culture
We define a healthy corporate culture as one in which the corporate values and behaviors are consistently lived across an organization. In general, all organizations strive to be healthy, and people want to work in a healthy corporate culture. We believe the health of an organization encompasses your employees’:
Values and a Healthy Corporate Culture
Corporate values represent the core beliefs you stand for collectively. They drive leadership behaviors and act as the bedrock of a high performance culture by serving as a filter for key decisions and as the means to attract, develop, engage and retain top talent.
Minimum Levels of Organizational Health
In terms of a healthy corporate culture, the combination of values and behaviors can be measured on a “good-to-bad” or “healthy-to-unhealthy” scale. And there are absolutely minimum levels of organizational health that must be attained for any company to thrive.
How Would You Characterize Your Business Culture?
What are the norms of behavior and how are things accomplished day-by-day? Do employees feel energized at the thought of going to work or do they feel defeated before they even arrive? If you agree that culture drives a company, it behooves you to create a healthy corporate culture to set the foundation of high performance and growth.
Unhealthy Corporate Cultures
No matter how apparently successful and prestigious a firm, a negative workplace culture will ultimately drag it down. A toxic culture can lack integrity, respect for others, information sharing or all of the above. The end result is an environment where growth is stifled, innovation suffers and results are disappointing.
Eight Attributes of a Healthy Corporate Culture
Instead, imagine a place where employees actually enjoy working together, communicate freely, share the load, love their job and exceed expectations. This is not an impossible dream. These healthy organizational cultures exist in large and small companies and generally have eight characteristics in common:
1. Retention Is High, Turnover Is Low
Employees stay when they are appreciated for their contribution, have opportunities to learn and grow, and enjoy what they do. High levels of unwanted attrition are the first warning sign of an unhealthy or unaligned workplace culture.
2. Work is Both Challenging and Rewarding
Engaged employees buy into both the company and team missions. In the ideal situations, employees had an active role in creating them. When work is rewarding and challenging, employees are always looking for ways to do things better because they care about the results.
3. People Want to Join Your Team
High growth companies often struggle to hire top talent that fits at the rate they need to hit aggressive growth targets. Attracting top talent is easier for companies with a healthy culture. Word gets out and employee referrals grow.
4. Leadership is Shared
In healthy corporate cultures, leaders actively involve more people in making important decisions. Unlike leaders at unhealthy cultures, these leaders are not threatened by scrutiny, input or success of others. They value input, feedback and continuous learning.
5. There is a Lack of Complaining, Whining, Finger Pointing and Gossip
Healthy corporate cultures have little tolerance for workplace politics. There are no “behind-the-scenes” conversations; issues are dealt with directly, openly, and without fear of repercussion.
6. Employees Smile
As inconsequential as it may seem, employees at healthy companies consistently greet each other happily at work and genuinely look forward to time together. Smiling also aligns with the old adage that “a happy worker is a productive worker.”
7. Employees Feel Valued
Rather than feeling they are simply a cog in the wheel of their organization, healthy cultures make sure employees know they truly matter. Employees feel valued when they are paid fairly, the organization makes investments to make them more successful and leaders are committed to making it a great place to work.
8. Change is Generally Well Received
In a healthy work environment, change does not inspire the fear that it does elsewhere. Employees are well-informed beforehand, trust their leaders, are asked for input regarding changes that affect their work and understand why the changes are happening.
The Bottom Line
Culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies. Because strategies must go through culture to get executed, smart leaders establish and live team values that support a positive and healthy corporate culture. You and your colleagues and the bottom line will benefit.
To learn more about how a healthy workplace culture fits into high performance, download The 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture
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Director of Infrastructure & Technology
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Vice President, Human Resources
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