Investing in Company Culture: The Key to a Successful Organization

Why should you invest in company culture? Business culture is the key to success. Only 32% of executives believe their company culture is aligned with their business strategies, yet 72% say that culture is the key to performance. According to a decade-long study by John Kotter, firms that had a strong focus on corporate culture saw a 685% increase in revenue, 901% increase in stock price, 756% increase in net income, and a 282% increase in job growth.

What is company culture? Company culture encompasses all of an organization’s attitudes, ideas, and attributes. It can be seen in the actions and behaviors of every employee and is unique to every organization and the people that work there. Cultural transformation instills a compelling vision for the company's future, aligns employee desires and business strategies, and rallies support through active communication.

Focusing on cultural transformation can bring large rewards. After just 5 years of focusing on cultural transformation, companies saw an 85% net profit increase, and after just 3 years, 25% workforce growth was reported. Cultural transformation has also seen a 50-point increase in employee engagement, which brings its rewards. Increased engagement leads to 10% higher customer ratings, 17% higher productivity, 20% higher sales, and 21% higher profitability.

Employees care about company culture, meaning, and motivation. In 2020 alone, $7 trillion was lost in productivity because 85% of employees were disengaged in the work they were doing. The younger generations expect their work to help meet societal needs, and 1 in 3 say the primary reason they remain at their current job is that they find the work they’re doing meaningful. Meaningful work is the difference between employees that erode company culture and those who actively work to improve the organization. When work is tied to our values it sparks inspiration and innovation, increases employee engagement, and raises motivation and productivity levels.

While a positive outcome is expected from all digital transformation efforts, barely 1 in 8 are successful. A poor corporate culture can make employees unwilling to support company transformation efforts. 57% of private equity dealmakers say that cultural issues can hinder value creation. Major factors that contribute to unwilling employees include lack of trust, feeling overburdened, rules and roadblocks, skill gaps, and fear of job loss.

If past efforts to change company culture have failed, this can have unintended consequences and compromise employee trust. Change often brings new responsibilities, and employees may worry that they will face more work with no reward. Employees are also unlikely to embrace changes to rules in procedures, especially if they have been reprimanded for the same actions in the past. New technology can expose employees who lack the necessary skills, prompting fear of job loss and change, and a history of failed projects resulting in restructuring and job losses may make employees feel at risk.

When considering whether your company needs to invest in culture change, it's important to focus on cultural transformations that matter. Strategic imperative, future vision, skill training, job alignment, and reward success are all important transformation efforts to invest in. Strategic imperative defines a single idea to focus your efforts, and establishing a compelling vision will help you visualize your future and how to best serve your market. Skill training equips your workforce with skills needed to meet your vision, enabling high performance and career advancement. Job alignment energizes employees to exercise their passions every day, and reward success reinforces company culture by trumpeting successes.

Consider these questions when investing in your company culture. Do our rewards align with vision fulfillment across the organization? Is there a leadership program that cultivates the right values? Are employees self-managed and accountable for results? Do communication systems foster effective collaboration? Does the company’s culture unleash employee’s passion, and how is the organization dealing with barriers to change? After you have answered these questions, it’s time to invest in a business and cultural transformation today:

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