Culture clash: is a bad workplace culture hurting your business?

Workplace cultures come in many forms. For some organisations who carefully create and sustain a high-performance culture, it provides a strong competitive advantage. A clearly defined and managed culture can drive growth and performance as well as attracting and retaining high calibre employees.

However, these workplaces are few and far between. More usual is the business which pays little attention to its organisational culture beyond lip service, a few employee perks or running an annual engagement survey. These companies tend to have one thing in common: sooner or later, it hits them where it hurts – the bottom line. They only pay attention when teams aren’t performing, unwanted attrition rises too high or productivity decreases, and by that time it’s too late. Sound familiar?

Research by Deloitte shows that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. More than four fifths of companies they surveyed, however, have a problem with maintaining and implementing their culture – with only 19% of executives and 15% of employees strongly believing that it is widely upheld within their organisation. 

Photo by Shridhar Gupta on Unsplash

One of the fundamental issues here is that organisational culture is quite a ‘fuzzy’ term and can be perceived differently depending on where you sit in an organisation, or according to your personal bias. For some it is about employee perks and benefits and owned by HR, and for others it is something only the senior leaders can influence.

At Temporall, we believe that organisational culture is “the way people do things around here”; it is something all employees should understand and feel ownership of. The secret to success lies not in articulating a set of values and putting them on a plaque on the wall, but instead in embedding them into the business’ systems and processes, and people’s everyday behaviour.

Organisational culture has also been described as what dictates how employees behave when the boss leaves the room, which makes it particularly challenging for leadership teams to get a handle on. This perception gap means leaders can think they have a positive culture when the reality is very different. For example, people will clap and applaud if they love the senior leadership team’s presentation on vision and strategy; the problem lies in the fact that they will behave in a very similar way even if they hate it.

Culture touches almost every aspect of commercial success, so being able to quantify and clearly understand it is the best way for leaders to future-proof their business. How, then, can you accurately measure your organisation’s culture, and whether it is supporting or hindering your strategic goals?

Until recently many leaders have had to use surveys and tools that are much too simplistic. Temporall’s culture analytics platform, Culture Workbench, changes that. It provides the hard data needed to make informed decisions. We give senior leadership strategic insight that impacts bottom-line results, and reduces the financial and brand risk associated with bad company culture.

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