With the recent news about Uber’s cultural missteps, corporate culture is increasingly coming under the spotlight as an important factor for gaining a competitive edge and impacting the bottom line. And for good reason: culture may be a hard-to-define concept but its tangible benefits are clear.
For example, an Ernst and Young survey found that 92% of respondents believe that investing in culture has improved their financial performance.
But, corporate culture isn’t just a definition printed on the front page of your employee handbook. And it’s not about providing traditional benefits like health insurance or year-end bonuses. Instead it’s a set of actions that defines the workplace Leadership, team cohesiveness and workplace trust all contribute to your company’s culture.
No matter how that culture is defined, it will have an impact — good, bad, or ugly — on your company’s bottom line.
Jon Katzenbach, one of the field’s most respected and creative thinkers, defines an organization’s culture as “the self-sustaining pattern of behavior that determines how things are done.” It is “made of instinctive, repetitive habits and emotional responses.” Culture is meant to provide a well-rooted sense of purpose within an organization, exemplified by a recognized set of behaviors and shared beliefs. It gets — and keeps — everyone marching in the same direction.
Creating and maintaining culture is, thus, painstaking work. It demands focus and commitment throughout organizations. During my work life, I have been lifted by strong corporate cultures and nearly drowned by weak ones. I have no doubt of culture’s power to align an organization and enliven its workforce. And there are plenty of studies to back that up.
In a recent survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research, over half of senior executives believe that corporate culture is a top-three driver of firm value and 92% believe that improving their culture would increase their firm's value. Surprisingly, only 16% believe their culture is where it should be.
ETW believes that culture has the potential to be the main driver of long-term business success, and is not a topic to be overlooked. A recent white paper and corresponding workshop clearly outlines the benefits of owning your company culture rather than allowing it to form on its own, and provides readers with direction through four steps to develop, drive and scale an effective Intentional Culture.