Humans want to be part of something bigger. We want to feel part of a team. It speaks to the very fabric of what makes us human.
That is what we like to call culture.
Think about a time when you saw someone wearing a T-shirt supporting the same soccer team as you. Although this person is a complete stranger, you’re almost instantly connected by a shared positive sentiment towards this soccer team. That is unity.
Unity is one of the ways to describe culture. The reason you feel connected to this stranger is because you feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself. This feeling of unity and sense of belonging is the reason why you need to create a company culture for your organisation.
A positive company culture solidifies your business objectives, vision and values amongst your employees and also boosts company morale. Your company culture defines your organisation internally and externally and paves the way for growth. Many executives think that keeping employees happy is what a company culture is.
In fact, a company culture is like a unique identifier that allows you to build on your successes to achieve your strategic objectives. It helps to attract and retain the best talent with a view to building a first-rate team. It is the momentum that drives the team spirit and productivity to enable your organisation to reach its strategic goals.
Research shows that: “A strong culture makes employees want to perform better and makes customers want to spread the word about you. But building one isn’t easy…” A defined company culture perpetuates optimism and excitement across your organisation. It sets the tone for how the organisation and its leaders interact with its employees. Without plastering values on the office walls, it’s a sub-text for the way we behave and what we believe in.
Strategy and culture go together like Sonny and Cher (in the happy days). It’s a critical strategic lever for all C-suite executives if they want to achieve organisational growth and viability. For your employees, this translates to a trusted ‘space’ (physical or remotely) where they can celebrate their successes. A great company culture lends itself to high-octane teamwork, fast-growth and recognition. Overall, it just becomes a great place to work.
And, when your employees are engaged and feel recognised for their efforts, they are more likely to strive towards achieving the organisation’s vision. Even going beyond their discretionary efforts.
While a company culture helps with employee engagement, the strategy informs employees of the organisation’s goals and vision. It offers clarity to mobilise employees with purpose and leaders with decision making.
Either way you look at it, company culture and business strategy are inextricably linked. Both require leadership to imprint values and set new values in motion, as needed. As previously mentioned company culture cannot be overlooked. Both Hewitt and Gallup state that company culture leads to high employee engagement, which leads to higher financial returns.
According to the Hewitt research, “both cultural alignment and engagement have a proven relationship with a company’s financial performance. Together, the two forces have a more positive impact on revenue than when working independently.”
As a strategic lever, your organisation’s company culture value must be maximised with a view to assessing its alignment with its business strategy. Strengthening your company culture will allow you to shape the attitudes and behaviours of your employees. When aligned with personal values and needs, a strengthened company culture can unlock significant amounts of energy towards a shared purpose. This fosters a culture in which the organisation has a tremendous capacity to thrive.
A strong company culture can improve organisational agility as it relates to changing business and operational demands.
When your company culture is aligned with your business strategy, it can drive positive organisational outcomes. Developing the right company culture for your organisation is essential to achieving business performance. According to Forbes, a rich company culture leads to innovation. This comes as no surprise as when your people are engaged they are more likely to go above and beyond their call of duty to achieve the vision of the organisation. What’s more is that a boost in innovation will ultimately lead to a better value proposition for your organisation in terms of its competitors.
According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends survey: “The impact of culture on business is hard to overstate as 82 percent of respondents believe that culture is a potential competitive advantage.
Culture is a business issue and the C-suite should take responsibility for it. Human Resources can support the culture strategy but it shouldn’t only be their responsibility. Alarmingly, the same survey indicates that only 19% of survey respondents believed their organisations have the right culture.
Company culture matters to the entire organisation not only the employees. It is a critical and strategic lever to business success. It is one of the most important factors that contribute to the growth of a business.
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