The Importance of Organizational Culture
August 19, 2016
President and Founder, Genesis Strategic Planning, Inc
For the past several years, the subject of “organizational culture” also known as “company culture” has appeared in nearly every business publication throughout the U.S. Information supporting the topic includes fact-filled research validating the importance of company culture and its impact on profitability.
What is company culture? In a nutshell, it is a system of shared assumptions, values and beliefs which governs how people interact in organizations. These shared values have a strong influence on the people within the organization and dictate behaviors, actions, attitudes and how they perform their jobs. Company culture applies to every type of business: profit-based, nonprofit, small, medium, large, independent contractors as well as full or part-time employees. Culture is not biased to industry or profession. In general, people are culture creating machines; it exists whether we are intentionally creating it or not.
Why all the buzz about company culture and how does it impact business? It is estimated that U.S. businesses lose $350 billion annually in lost productivity due to stress related work issues, leadership problems, turnover, absence, illness and more – all attributed to unhealthy culture.
When there is an economic swing, up or down, it is typical for businesses to shift in the form of mergers acquisitions, reduction in workforce, expansion in workforce or combining teams. Our workforces today are a melting pot of as many as 5 generations, so strategic thinking is necessary when developing company structure. A common mistake many businesses make is placing more focus on shifting the business itself and less emphasis on the people who make up the company – the result leads to culture issues. Often times skill sets, personality types and past or new work performance is overlooked. These factors have an enormous impact on productivity, time management, waste and ultimately profit.
When healthy culture is the goal, a company focuses on both commercial and employee successes. Proper implementation of culture essentials is imperative for a cross-generational workplace to flourish. This becomes especially important in the future with the varying work philosophies that exist between generations – for example, the baby boomers and millennials. The two largest generations are now working together more and more: baby boomers are retiring later while a greater number of millennials are entering the workforce.
Young, emerging leaders want community – they realize that members in all age groups can supply knowledge and wisdom that adds richness. At the same time, it is important for leaders to recognize that they set the tone for community engagement; if not developed properly the community may transform into a less than favorable workplace. Once good culture is in place, a deep commitment on all levels of the organization emerges driving the advancement of a healthy environment that can increase the bottom line.
Arizona recognizes the importance of company culture. Governor Doug Ducey has allocated funds at the local level combined with federal grant dollars to support healthy work communities in our state.
Through the Rev AZ program of the Arizona Commerce Authority, Genesis Strategic Planning, Inc. (GSP) was selected as the solution provider in the organizational culture arena. Working with Rev AZ, GSP assists the C-suite of an organization in culture analysis and development. I was honored that my company was selected as the qualified third party to assist with ACA’s mission.
Some programs introduced to a wide range of companies include executive retreats, coaching and leadership training as well as value development. Leaders in our state have been embracing the concepts in effort to make a difference in their communities and ultimately their employees.
Culture cannot be copied – it can only be created.
Pamela and her staff have worked with companies throughout the nation since 2007 in the organizational culture arena assisting the C-suite to identify their culture and provide solutions. Pamela can be reached at 480-946-3324.
Source: 6/2014 Forbes
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