Winning with Culture

If you think company culture is solely HR's responsibility, you might need to go back to the basics...or just pay attention to this conversation.

Importance of Culture Building

Imagine a sports team where each player only focuses on their individual performance without any regard for the team's overall success. The team's performance would suffer, and they'd be more likely to lose matches. The same goes for company culture - if everyone in the organization embraces their responsibility to build a healthy and effective culture, the business's overall performance will improve.

It's like a delicious pizza with each ingredient playing its part - the crust, the sauce, the cheese, and the toppings - all working together to create a perfect slice. Similarly, when each group or function in an organization takes responsibility for culture-building, the resulting well-aligned, healthy culture can work wonders for business performance.

As Peter Drucker once said, "culture eats strategy for breakfast." Culture has become a critical focus for companies around the world in recent years. A study by Deloitte found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe that a distinct workplace culture is essential to business success. This is because a strong culture can have a direct impact on a company's bottom line.

Embracing Culture Building as a Shared Responsibility

Amit Chilka tells us “In my opinion, creating a company culture should not solely be the responsibility of HR. Managers and senior staff should be involved in defining the culture from the very beginning to ensure that everyone is invested in it. This collaborative approach will lead to a stronger culture that everyone will be motivated to uphold. For example, if transparency is a core value, it should be consistently practised even during tough times like layoffs, rather than only when there is good news to share. Ultimately, it is up to managers to drive the culture and take ownership of it.”

According to a study by Harvard Business School, companies with a strong culture outperform their competitors by up to 20% in terms of revenue and 4 times in terms of profit growth. Additionally, a report by Gallup found that companies with engaged employees have 21% higher productivity and 22% higher profitability than those without.

The Impact of Culture from a Business Perspective

Given the importance, culture has become a strategic priority with an impact on the bottom line. It can’t just be delegated and compartmentalized anymore. In other words, culture needs to be integrated into the company's overall strategy.

Amit Chilka says, “The HR department driving certain initiatives may be perceived as an HR agenda, leading to hesitation from people to participate due to the fear of being judged. However, when initiatives are driven by someone else within the organization, it adds value and meaning to the initiative as it becomes a collective effort of people with similar interests. This can ease tensions and make people feel more comfortable, as there is often hesitation in communicating with HR in the first place.”

In fact, leaders at successful companies recognize the importance of culture and actively work to shape it. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, famously said, "If we get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself." Similarly, Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, stated, "The most important thing we do is hiring. The second most important thing we do is to develop and reinforce the culture."

Navigating the Changes in Culture Building

The transformation towards a culture-building methodology that emphasizes shared responsibility not only reflects but also demands changes in the essence of organizational culture and its influence on the business. It requires a shift away from the traditional top-down approach to culture building towards a more collaborative and inclusive approach.

The novel approach indicates that organizational culture is no longer merely a set of rules established by leaders but has evolved into a set of tools that everyone can utilize and contribute to.

Prioritising employee well-being - As a manager, you can take immediate actions to show your team that their well-being is your top priority. These actions may include setting clear expectations for work hours, encouraging a work-life balance, implementing meeting-free days, and supporting team members in taking mental health breaks as needed, without any questions or guilt.

For many years, companies have operated with rigid and unchanging cultures, which often fail to connect with their employees or inspire them. Now, there is a pressing need for a new kind of culture that is centred around trust, purpose, mission, and employee well-being. As a manager with the power to effect change, it's essential to seize this opportunity and lead your team towards a brighter future.

Evaluating and Measuring - Regularly measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the company culture. This will help identify areas for improvement and ensure that the culture aligns with the company's goals and objectives.

Rewards and Recognition - “At Springworks, we have an immediate reward and recognition system in place, where employees appreciate their colleagues immediately for something as small as identifying bugs/typos in content. This is enabled by EngageWith, where we can choose one of the value tenets and recognise a colleague. Culture of trust, team building, transparency and overcommunication in a remote work structure is enabled by this practice.” says Dhristi Shah, Content Marketer at Springworks.

So, to all those who still think that company culture is just an HR buzzword, maybe it's time to jump ship and enjoy the benefits of a strong, competitive culture.

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