A Powerful Workplace Culture Is More than a Soft Concept

A Powerful Workplace Culture Is More than a Soft Concept
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A Powerful Workplace Culture Matters

This workplace culture word cloud highlights the way many think of organizational culture — as a soft concept. Yes, organizational culture has to do with worker’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, but it also can be seen as a “hard” concept.  A powerful workplace culture is paramount to high performance and strategy execution.

How We Define Workplace Culture
We define culture as how things truly get done in an organization based upon the way people think, behave, and work. A company’s culture includes the known and unspoken values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors — especially in leaders and in who they hire, fire, and promote.

A Powerful Workplace Culture
When a corporate culture is strong and vibrant, it has an enormous impact on business performance.

  • Harvard recently reported that an effective corporate culture can account for up to half of the differential in performance between organizations in the same business.
  • Our own organizational alignment research found that cultural factors at a company account for 40% of the difference between high and low performance in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, and employee engagement.

Two Ways a High Performance Corporate Culture Can Affect Your Bottom Line

First, a Powerful Workplace Culture Culture Attracts Potential Business Partners
Beyond attracting talented individual employees, a powerful workplace culture is a magnet for new business alliances.

Executives want to do business with companies that have a mission that matters backed by corporate values that both employees and leaders follow.  Decision makers care that potential partners behave with the kind of consistency, integrity, open communication, accountability and growth mentality that signals a healthy culture.

Second, a Powerful Workplace Culture Engages and Retains Top Talent
When you have employees who live the company values and are committed to the company’s mission and strategic vision, they are typically more engaged employees and less likely to leave. Additionally, there is less spent on recruiting and hiring, productivity is higher due to higher discretionary effort, customers are better served and more likely to stay, and, accordingly, sales and profits are better.

Three Steps to Build a Powerful Workplace Culture
Based on data from over 30 years assessing organizational culture, here are the three main steps to build an organizational culture that attracts and retains great employees:

  1. Create Strategic Clarity
    Be clear about why you are in business, what differentiates you from the competition and where you are headed — for clients and for employees. Your company vision and corporate strategy should be stated in a simple-to-understand and compelling way.

    Then it is your job as a leader to engage your team in fully committing to and executing the strategy in a way that makes sense for clients and employees.

  2. Live Strong Corporate Values
    Since the demise of Enron, much has been written about the hypocrisy of their values of communication, respect, integrity and excellence. Do not be fooled into cultural complacency.

    Current and future employees, customers and business partners want to know what your company stands for and what guides tough decisions.

  3. Share Your Workplace Culture Publicly
    If you truly live and embrace your values and how you expect work to truly get done on a day-to-day basis, you will draw employees and customers who respect and align with the way you think, behave, and work. With each positive employee experience and customer experience, you strengthen your reputation as a great place to work and do business with.

    Be proud and explicit about how you expect people to behave.

The Bottom Line
Businesses that want to grow should take a close look at not only their go-to-market strategies, but also their work culture.  Strategies must go through culture to be executed.  Powerful workplace cultures make up 40% of the difference between success and failure.

To learn more about getting the most out of your organizational culture, download Do You Have a High Performance Culture to Drive Your Strategy?

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