Strong Company Culture Provides Competitive Advantage

June 28, 2019
Author: Tyran Saffold Jr

Nearly half (47 percent) of people actively looking for new positions say that company culture is the main reason for the search. While a company can lure talented employees into its business with high salaries, a disappointing organizational culture can leave employees drained, demotivated and create an employee retention problem.

Strong Company Culture

Company Culture Disparities

Results show that companies with a great culture possess a competitive advantage; in fact, 82 percent of respondents to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends survey, backed that sentiment. Shockingly, the same survey revealed that only 12 percent of executives believe their companies are driving the right culture, while 79 percent of execs said that their company did not perform in an optimal work environment.

“Every culture is only as good as the strength and alignment of its leaders. There are few things worse than working in an environment where you critically do not align,” said Claudine Zachara, COO ThinkWhy in Dallas, TX. She continued, “what a healthy culture endeavors to achieve is to bring together opportunity, accountability, accomplishment and most critically trust – each combining to help create purpose which ignites passion.”

The beliefs, ideologies, principles, and values of an organization form its culture. It is the thermostat for company morale—the one thing that will attract or repel employees on a regular basis.

Ways to Impact Company Culture

Improving company culture is never a small task and many business leaders will advise starting back at the ground floor when things go awry. This ground floor has two hard-to-grasp and hard-to-execute concepts but become the most meaningful. Those concepts are trust and transparency. When employees feel that they trust their leaders and can have transparent conversations, culture is typically impacted for the better. To a room full of Human Resource Professionals at the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) confernce in June, Brene Brown said, "If you are not having hard and transparent conversations now, don't plan on being a leader in five years."

As executives strategically plan to bring on talent, develop new products and delve into the day to day operations of a business, the hard "ground floor" questions should be asked first. Do you have the hard conversations and are you transparent with your team......but more importantly, does your team feel empowered to have hard and transparent coversations with you? This may give you insight into the true culture of your organizaiton.

So how can executives start to understand where they fall on the spectrum of organizatinal cultures and what activities could make a positive impact?

The Measures You Can Take:

• Conduct engagement surveys to understand the current pulse of the company
• Implement routine team building and cross-team activities
• Idenitfy if buy-in exists from (all of) executive management to ensure efforts to impact organizational culture are supported
• Allow employees to provide feedback and performance reviews on management
• Improve communication with employees including implementing an open-door policy
• Offer company outings that specifically foster trust-building opportunities
• Conduct Town Halls to highlight transparent communication

Executives and Human Resource management teams should plan to examine their work culture, from top to bottom, and include annual culture checks as a primary candidate recruitment strategy. This type of conscious effort will go far in improving company morale, engagement and retention as well as build a strong advantage against competitors in a tight labor market. And never be afraid to start back at the ground floor.