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Home » Blog » From Good to Great: Why Company Culture Matters More Than Ever Before with Insights From CEOs

With Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers all working side by side, it’s essential to create a culture that speaks to everyone.

As the famous philosopher Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” 

And in a diverse and inclusive workplace, this couldn’t be more true. By creating a culture that values different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences, companies can tap into the full potential of their employees and achieve greater success.

But let’s not get too serious; corporate culture can also be fun! It’s not just about policies and procedures, but also about office parties, team-building activities, and office pranks (as long as they’re in good taste, of course). A positive and playful corporate culture can help employees feel more connected to their colleagues and create a sense of camaraderie that can boost morale and productivity.

So, whether you’re a seasoned CEO or a fresh-faced intern, it’s important to recognize the importance of corporate culture in today’s workplace. It’s not just a buzzword or a trend, but a crucial component of a successful organisation. And who knows, you might even have some fun along the way!

What Makes A Company Culture Great?

Corporate culture is the personality and character of an organisation. It defines the working environment, values, beliefs, and attitudes of the employees, as well as how they interact with each other and with external stakeholders. In other words, it’s the company’s identity, and it matters more than ever before.

Corporate culture can make or break a company. It influences everything from employee retention and satisfaction to financial performance and growth. It’s no wonder that more than 90% of CEOs agree that corporate culture is important.

What makes a company great? 

Is it the number of hours their employees work, the type of office they have, or how many birthday cakes they get to munch on? Well, not exactly. A company’s corporate culture plays a significant role in determining its success. And according to a recent survey by Deloitte, over 90% of them agreed that corporate culture matters.

In fact, more than half of them believe that a positive corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value, and growth rates. And get this, only 15% of them said their company’s corporate culture was where it needed to be. Yikes!

So, who’s responsible for shifting a company’s culture? According to the same survey, 70% of respondents agreed that leadership needs to spend more time developing the culture. And this makes sense because corporate culture starts at the top. If the leaders aren’t invested in cultivating a positive culture, it’s unlikely that anyone else will be either.

And speaking of leadership, when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, almost half of the survey respondents said they wouldn’t go through with a deal if they found out the other company’s culture didn’t align with their own. So, it’s not just about having a positive corporate culture, it’s also about making sure it aligns with your company’s values.

Now that we know how important corporate culture is, the question is, how can companies create a positive culture?

Markers Of A Great Company Culture

Now that we understand the importance of corporate culture, let’s take a closer look at what makes a great one. Just like a fine wine or a gourmet meal, there are certain markers of quality that distinguish an outstanding corporate culture from a mediocre one.

One key marker is a sense of purpose. 

As humans, we all crave meaning and connection, and a great corporate culture provides employees with a sense of purpose that goes beyond just making a profit. Whether it’s a commitment to social responsibility, a dedication to innovation, or a passion for customer service, a sense of purpose can motivate employees and give them a reason to come to work every day.

Clear values, open communication, trust and respect, employee engagement, a sense of community, a focus on wellness, and commitment to diversity and inclusion are some of the key markers of a great company culture.

  1. Clear Values: At the core of a strong company culture is a set of values that are clearly communicated and upheld by all employees, from the CEO to the newest hire. These values serve as a guide for decision-making and behaviour, creating a shared sense of purpose that unites the organisation.
  2. Open Communication: Open communication is another hallmark of a healthy company culture. Employees should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas, knowing that leadership is listening and responsive to feedback. This fosters a sense of trust and respect, which is essential to a positive work environment.
  3. Employee Engagement: Employee engagement is also critical to a great company culture. This means providing opportunities for professional growth, recognition and reward programs, and a sense of shared purpose that motivates and inspires employees.
  4. Sense Of Community: A sense of community is equally important. Employees should feel like they belong and have a sense of camaraderie within the organisation. This can be fostered through team-building activities, social events, and other initiatives that bring people together.
  5. Focus On Wellness: A strong company culture also prioritises the health and well-being of employees. This means providing resources and support for physical, mental, and emotional wellness, such as wellness programs, mental health resources, and flexible work arrangements.
  6. Diverse & Inclusive: A great company culture values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued and respected. This means actively recruiting and promoting a diverse workforce, providing training and education on diversity and inclusion, and creating a culture where all voices are heard and respected.

Why Do Leaders Need to Pay Attention to Company Culture?

“Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast.” 

In other words, no matter how brilliant a company’s strategy may be, it will ultimately fail without a strong and healthy company culture to support it.

As we have discussed earlier, a strong company culture can have a significant impact on the success and sustainability of a business. But why do leaders need to pay attention to company culture? The answer is simple: culture is the backbone of any organisation, and it can make or break the company.

At its core, a company’s culture reflects its values, beliefs, and attitudes towards work and employees. It sets the tone for how employees interact with each other and with customers, and it influences everything from productivity to innovation to customer satisfaction. A positive and healthy culture can attract and retain top talent, while a toxic culture can drive away employees and customers alike.

Leaders play a crucial role in shaping and maintaining a company’s culture. They are responsible for setting the tone, communicating values and expectations, and modelling behaviour that aligns with the company’s mission and values. If leaders fail to prioritise culture, it can lead to a host of problems, including low morale, high turnover, and a lack of engagement among employees.

But the benefits of a strong company culture go far beyond just avoiding these negative outcomes. Cultivating a positive culture can actually drive business success in a variety of ways. For example:

  1. Increased employee engagement: Engaged employees are more productive, more innovative, and more likely to stay with the company long-term. A strong culture that fosters employee engagement can help to create a loyal and motivated workforce.
  2. Improved customer satisfaction: A positive culture that emphasises customer service can help to create a loyal customer base and drive repeat business. When employees feel valued and supported by their company, they are more likely to provide exceptional service to customers.
  3. Enhanced brand reputation: A strong company culture can help to build a positive brand reputation and differentiate the company from competitors. Customers and job seekers alike are drawn to companies that are known for their positive and supportive culture.
  4. Greater resilience: A strong culture can help companies weather difficult times, such as economic downturns or major industry changes. When employees feel a strong sense of community and shared purpose, they are more likely to pull together and work towards a common goal.

To truly prioritise culture, leaders must take an active and ongoing role in shaping and maintaining it. This means regularly communicating with employees about the company’s values and goals, modelling positive behaviour, and providing support and resources to help employees thrive.

It also means being willing to make tough decisions when necessary. If a leader identifies that a particular employee or team is not aligned with the company’s values and culture, they may need to make the difficult decision to let them go. This can be challenging, but it is essential to maintaining a healthy and positive culture.

Leaders need to pay attention to company culture because it can make all the difference in the success and sustainability of a business. By prioritising culture and taking an active role in shaping and maintaining it, leaders can create a thriving and successful organisation that attracts and retains top talent and customers.

Insights on Company Culture by CEOs and Leaders From World

As leaders, we often look to our peers for inspiration and guidance, and this is especially true when it comes to creating a strong company culture. So, let’s dive into what some of the top minds in business have to say about this crucial topic.

Famous CEOs, such as Satya Nadella of Microsoft, have recognized the importance of culture change. In an interview with Forbes, Nadella stated, “I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things.” This sentiment perfectly captures why culture change is so important – if you’re not constantly evolving and improving, you’ll stagnate and eventually fall behind.

Next, we have Jeff Bezos, the founder and former CEO of Amazon. Bezos stresses the need for a long-term perspective when it comes to company culture. He advises leaders to focus on creating a culture that will endure and stand the test of time, rather than simply chasing short-term gains.

Another leader with valuable insights on company culture is Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post. Huffington emphasises the importance of creating a culture of well-being and prioritising the health and happiness of employees. She believes that companies that prioritise employee wellness will ultimately be more successful and sustainable.

And let’s not forget about Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of Zappos. Hsieh famously built his company’s culture around the concept of delivering “WOW” experiences to customers and employees alike. He believed that a strong company culture could be a competitive advantage, and he worked tirelessly to create a culture that was fun, supportive, and engaging.

These are just a few examples of the many insights and perspectives that CEOs and leaders bring to the table when it comes to company culture. But one thing is clear: a strong company culture is essential for the long-term success and sustainability of any organisation.

So, as leaders, we must pay attention to our company culture and make it a priority. We must listen to our employees, foster a sense of community and trust, prioritise wellness, and focus on the long-term. By doing so, we can create a company culture that attracts and retains top talent, drives innovation and growth, and ultimately leads to success.

Why Every Executive Should Be Focusing on Culture Change Now

The topic of culture change reminds me of Reed Hastings of Netflix. In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Hastings stated, “The most innovative companies are cultures of innovation where everyone is constantly learning.” This highlights the fact that a culture of continuous improvement is necessary for innovation and growth.

So why should executives be focusing on culture change now? 

One reason is that the pandemic has brought about significant changes in the way we work. As a result, organisations need to adapt and change their cultures to ensure that they remain relevant and successful.

In addition, as we’ve seen from the statistics earlier in this blog, a strong company culture can have a significant impact on employee engagement, productivity, and even financial performance. By focusing on culture change, executives can create a more positive and effective workplace, which will ultimately benefit both employees and the organisation as a whole.

In conclusion, it’s clear that every executive should be focusing on culture change now. By prioritising culture, organisations can ensure that they continue to grow and evolve, even in the face of challenges and uncertainty. As former General Electric CEO Jack Welch once said, “The soft stuff is the hard stuff.” In other words, while culture change may not be easy, it’s essential for long-term success.

And on that note, let’s end this blog on this note – culture isn’t something that can be changed overnight, but by taking steps to prioritise it, leaders can start to shift the tide and create a workplace where employees feel valued, engaged, and empowered. 

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, once said, “If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people look forward to coming to work in the morning.” 

So let’s make sure we’re all doing our part to create a culture that makes people excited to come to work each day.

What more would you want us to talk about?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is company culture, and why is it important?

Company culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, and behaviours that characterise an organisation. It is important because it impacts employee morale, productivity, and overall success. A strong company culture can lead to better employee retention, increased innovation, and a better reputation among customers and investors.

How can leaders foster a positive company culture?

Leaders can foster a positive company culture by clearly communicating the company’s values, encouraging open communication and feedback, promoting trust and respect among employees, providing opportunities for professional growth and recognition, and prioritising employee wellness and diversity and inclusion.

Why should leaders pay attention to company culture?

Leaders should pay attention to company culture because it directly impacts the success of the organisation. A positive culture can lead to higher employee engagement, productivity, and profitability, while a negative culture can lead to high turnover, low morale, and a damaged reputation.

What are some examples of companies with strong cultures?

Some examples of companies with strong cultures include Google, Apple, and Zappos. These companies prioritise employee engagement, innovation, and a sense of community, and have become known for their positive work environments.

How can executives drive culture change within their organisation?

Executives can drive culture change by leading by example, clearly communicating the importance of culture, and implementing programs and initiatives that align with the desired culture. This may involve investing in employee development, promoting open communication and feedback, and creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.