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Rick Blabolil

Is Your Company’s Culture Strong?

Organizations of all sizes and in most industries are beinghit by massive disruptions on all fronts: non-stop technological innovation, anincreasingly diverse workforce, and a rapidly shifting global economy. Thiskind of relentless uncertainty could pull your organization in many directions,or even apart. But not if your cultureis strong. A strong culture is the glue that holds organizations togetherin the face of any disruption, large or small.

How do you know if your culture is strong? And if it isn’tstrong, how can you improve it? In the nearly 40 years that we’ve helped companies manageemployee performance, we’ve observed dozens of workplace cultures and havesome observations to share. These might be helpful as you examine your ownorganization.

Culture rests onclearly articulated, commonly shared values. Organizations that come out aswinners have stated values that are shared across the workforce. This set ofvalues appears in formal communications, they are frequently referenced, andthey form the backbone of expectations management holds of the workforce. Wesee this played out in rewards and recognition programs.

Culture starts at thetop. It’s a cliché that C-suite executives must live their organization’svalues, but it’s a good cliché. Management that says one thing and does anotherquickly loses credibility. And maybe worse, employees that sense they cannottrust their managers become demotivated and disengaged.

Culture andengagement go hand-in-hand. A strong culture engages employees, and engagedemployees strengthen an organization’s culture. Because the culture rests onshared values, employees know what is expected of them. Those expectationsprovide clarity and a point of focused engagement when disruptions threatens tosow confusion.

Culture requiresongoing reinforcement. To endure, an organization’s culture requirescontinuous reinforcement. The reason company values are widely trumpeted iskeep them top of mind for all stakeholders—employees, customers, investors, andthe community in which the company operates.

Culture must beflexible. An organization’s culture must be able to adapt to a changingenvironment. We’ve seen companies that get locked into patterns that once wereuseful but now stand in the way of their success. In order to enable thoseorganizations to experience improved employee performance, we sometimes need todraw attention to behaviors or ways of “doing the work” that no longer supportorganizational goals.

The idea of a “corporate culture” burst on the scene morethan 30 years ago with the publication of the 1982 best seller Corporate Culture: The Rites and Rituals ofCorporate Life by Allan Kennedy and Terence Deal. Once again, CEOs are veryconcerned about their business culture, with 86percent citing culture as a primary issue, even topping engagement at 85percent. In today’s disruptive business environment, their concern iswell-placed.

Are you looking for a thoughtfully designed recognition andrewards program that supports your organization’s culture? Contact a Marketing Innovatorssolutions expert to learn about our proven programs and a new generation SaaSplatform with the agility today’s businesses need.


GlobalHuman Capital Trends 2016. The New Organization: Different by Design. DeloitteUniversity Press, 2016.