Article

Company Culture as a Competitive Asset

By June 23, 2016
Company Culture as a Competitive Asset

Having the right company culture can accelerate growth

We’ve all had stints in company that we enjoyed and some that we didn’t. For most of us, the company culture of a place played a crucial role in shaping our experience at a place of employment. It’s no surprise then that the fostering of company culture has emerged as a top priority for businesses.

While this shift in workplace expectations is credited to the rise of millennials in the workforce, it has long been espoused that happy employees make productive employees. HR professionals play a pivotal role in this.

What is Culture in the workplace?

While culture is a top priority, it is not well understood. In a Deloitte study on company culture, only 28% of HR professionals said they knew culture well; with a mere 19% of HR professionals stating that their organisation had the “right culture”. In contrast, 82% of respondents in the same study perceived a strong company culture as a potential competitive advantage.

Culture refers to “the way things work” in a workplace. It permeates the values, beliefs and even rewards systems of a company. More importantly, it influences people’s behaviour in the workplace on a daily basis.

Why Culture is Important

There is an undeniable correlation between company culture and performance. A positive company culture shapes employee motivation. This results in greater dedication toward customer service leading to customer satisfaction. An environment where fear and stress are reduced can also lead to innovation, as employees are more confident to suggest and test ideas. The overall effect: longer tenures and improved retention rates.

A cohesive and inclusive workplace culture can further see a business through times of change like mergers, acquisitions, and growth. Indeed, the success or failure of such changes is often contingent on the alignment of culture with an organisation’s direction.

Who should be Responsible?

In order for a given type of culture to assimilate into the ecosystem of an organisation, key decisions need to be made from the top. Leaders successful in driving company culture tend to meet regularly with their teams to ensure that everyone is well-informed and on the same page. In addition, to business-related information, such exchanges could include more value-added components for the employee. For instance, opportunities for learning, experimentation and play could be included in the agenda. After all, company culture has a direct impact on employee engagement.

But let’s take a step back for a moment. Whether or not a company’s culture sinks or swims really depends on the willingness of each employee to perpetuate it.  HR plays an especially important role here in motivating both current employees and new hires. Notably, there is a growing trend towards assessing applicants for cultural fit, in addition to competency, during the job interview process. And why not, really? After all, your people are your best resource.

Recruiting trends to consider for 2018