In the Harvard Business Review Article, What Is Organizational Culture? And Why Should We Care? Michael Watkin’s offers many great views from executives on company culture. A lively Linkedin group thread followed in response to the article. Previously we have discussed some of the best company cultures. Every day we see companies build their cultures by reinforcing their core values through peer recognition programs.
Now let’s understand the “why” behind culture and the top 5 reasons a company should care about corporate culture:
1. Culture is the organization’s immune system
Culture is a form of protection that has evolved from situational pressures. It prevents “wrong thinking” and “wrong people” from entering the organization in the first place. It says that organizational culture functions much like the human immune system in preventing viruses and bacteria from taking hold and damaging the body. The problem, of course, is that organizational immune systems also can attack agents of needed change, and this has important implications for on-boarding and integrating people into organizations
-Michael Watkins, cofounder of Genesis Advisers, and author of the new, updated and expanded edition of The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter
2. Culture touches everything
Culture is important, always has been and it will continue to be. Its interesting, the first time you walk into the lobby of an organization you feel something. Culture defines everything: job design, org design, practices and policies, mission and values, and last but not least leadership behavior. All of these things working together define the culture of the organization and impact the way that people behave and the way that they feel about their organization. It will impact productivity, product and service quality, the customer experience, the turnover rate, the rate of absenteeism, and the reasons for absenteeism. It touches everything. That’s why you should care.
-Michael Kosec, General Manager at Employee Survey Toolkit
3. True culture is what goes on when no one is watching
Culture is what your people have bought into because they believe in it… not because they’ve been told to, but because it resonates with what they respect and value and what they see in others whom them are inspired by. Find out the real culture in your business by listening on the quietest day of the week or day part…. True culture is what goes on while no one’s watching.
-Caryn Gwilliam, U.K. Head of Human Resources at T.G.I. Friday’s, Carlson Hospitality
4. Culture defines your brand
I care about culture because it defines your brand and can be the difference between success and failure. Values and behaviours should fit with the Company vision. They should become something that supports the company’s ultimate purpose. As a leader I want to create a culture where results focused people thrive.
-Sonia Limm, Area Benefits Supervisor, Compass Point Business Services
5. Well defined cultures provide guidance to the workforce
I care about culture because it is the single most powerful attribute contained within an organization. It articulates, through behavior and actions, what the company is really all about. Well defined cultures provide guidance to the workforce surrounding all aspects of interactions between employees, customers, investors, and the community. Values driven cultures offer this guidance through statements of what’s important to the organization that transcends specific products or services delivered in the marketplace.
-John Bushfield, Senior Consultant at The Mulling Corporation
Thanks to everyone above for sharing your fantastic insights. If you have an additional reason a company should or should not care about their culture please respond in the comments section below.