Organizational Culture 101

The pandemic continues to change our world of work, and within it, the culture of organizations. As leaders strive to find the most effective ways to coach and build high-performing teams, we wanted to revisit some of the basics of organizational culture.  

Why should you care about culture? A report released by the Institute of Corporate Productivity demonstrates that “High-performing organizations — those that have experienced better revenue growth, market share profitability, and customer satisfaction over the past five years — are significantly more likely to exhibit the traits of a healthy culture, like bringing out the best in employees, nurturing innovation, and being collaborative.” 

But what is culture? Culture is often described as the collection of ingrained behaviours that dictate how work gets done. A more useful way of thinking about behaviours is to deconstruct them into habits (the routines that make up behaviour), which are comprised of cues, routines and rewards, – a powerful way to understand how employees make decisions that drive performance on a daily basis.  

A High Performing Culture should see strong alignment of the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and the habits it seeks to reinforce. To do this, both the EVP and behaviours should be informed by company values that define expectations for teams within the organization. For example, if innovation is a central value in your organization, it’s important to consider how you are exposing talent to innovation (as part of your promise), and also encouraging them to innovate in their responsibilities (the habits you want). 

When culture is purposely shaped throughout an organization, the benefits can empower people at all levels of the organization and yield rapid and dramatic shifts. 

Take the recent changes at Microsoft, who realigned major cultural cues like performance management, internal mobility and interdepartmental relationships to reflect the core values of the company. The success of this cultural transformation fostered long-term benefits including increased retention, employee promotion of MS as a place to work, and key recruitment metrics.  

Like Microsoft, Adidas underwent a massive cultural transformation after the introduction of a new President, Mark King. Known for leading growth through cultural change, King empowered people through purpose, innovation and accountability. Over 400 employee ideas for “how to spark the running business” were crowdsourced, and a self-directed educational program on innovation was made available to every employee. By harnessing the value of its employees through programs and initiatives that made their voice count, Adidas not only established a cohesive message of unity; they created opportunities that lead to significant increases in market share and sales. 

The key to being successful with your organizational culture lies in leaders practicing the key habits daily. Just like your Employer Brand, culture is most effective when it is experienced by the people in the organization, and not just talked about. The most successful cultures work hard at bringing this to life daily, and as a result, have a highly engaged workforce who are motivated to overachieve.   

To learn more about how we can help you create a more effective employee experience for your organization, or for additional research insights or inquiries on how to build an award-winning employer brand, please contact Stacy Parker at sparker@bluivygroup.com.  

About Us  

Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands and high-performance cultures.     

From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future. 

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