HR’s View of Workplace Culture Needs to Change
Can you honestly say that your workplace culture supports your business goals? If not, it’s time to take a second and thoughtful look at your culture and treat it as a business challenge. In our opinion, HR should view workplace culture as a strategic imperative to improve business performance.
Unfortunately, many HR executives continue to take too narrow of a view of culture. They tend to think of culture as tied solely to values and organizational health and as peripheral to tangible business success. This narrow view is exacerbated by the fact that many business leaders already ignore or minimize workplace culture because they don’t believe it has a quantifiable impact on business performance.
But culture at work is much more than simply corporate values and employee engagement.
The Definition of Workplace Culture
We define corporate culture as the way work truly gets done on a day-to-day basis. Smart leaders know that organizational cultures exist by either design or default. In other words, in every organization there is a combination of assumptions, practices, and behaviors that define the collective attitude of a company’s workforce.
In some organizations this combination has been carefully crafted over time to best execute a coherent strategy; in others it has reactively evolved without ensuring that it is helping to move the strategic priorities of the business forward. High performing cultures help to accelerate both business and people strategies.
The Problem with Many Corporate Cultures
A recent study by Gartner found that 69 percent of HR leaders do not think that their organizations have the necessary culture to drive future business performance. The same study also found that most employees were not clear about the needed culture, did not believe in the current culture, and did not observe behaviors consistent with the desired culture. It looks as though there are many opportunities to improve cultural clarity and alignment.
The Importance of Workplace Culture
Culture-savvy organizations and leaders understand the importance of culture and leverage their culture to outperform their competition. Top performing HR Executives know that a misaligned culture is a mistake. And the research backs them up.
What Culture Do You Need to Improve Performance?
Your strategy must go through your culture and your people to be successfully implemented. Once your strategy is clear enough and agreed to by all key stakeholders, your next steps to get aligned are to:
The Bottom Line
For culture to make a difference to the people and to the business, culture must be purposefully crafted and nurtured to align with and support your unique organizational goals and priorities. Done right, shifting to a purposeful, well-designed culture that aligns with your overall corporate strategy is simply good for people and good for business.
To learn more about how HR should view workplace culture, download The 3 “C’s” Required to Create a High Performance Culture
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