What is Company Culture and who is responsible for it?

I believe that Company Culture can be defined as the organisation’s attitudes, beliefs, and values that are developed over time by the actions, and often inactions, of the company leaders.

It can’t be prescribed by HR policy manuals or token meetings and emails but rather by a conscious desire to adopt a value based behavioural leadership strategy that permeates the entire organisation.

There is often a “stated” culture, enshrined in mission and vision statements or other like statements, and then what the culture actually is. Unfortunately the two often don’t agree and may only gets worse as the company scales up.

Poor company culture often stems from non-responsive management and leadership, rewarding of poor behaviour, long term ineffective communication, unethical behaviour and a continual failure to address employees concerns.

A failure to establish and maintain a healthy company culture can set the company up for the following outcomes:

  1. Risk of employee lawsuits or employee sabotage
  2. High staff turnover and the associated costs that go with it
  3. Negative impact on the company brand and reputation
  4. Low morale and increased sick leave
  5. Poor execution of the companies strategies and goals
  6. Lack of engagement by staff
  7. Loss of productivity and profits

While poor culture is often blamed on a select group of staff or sometimes even a single employee I believe it is definitely a leadership problem rather than just a staff problem.

Failing to address poor company culture results in unchecked management and leadership behaviour that like the proverbial failure to understand history causes it to be repeated.

Not only must an organisation define what constitutes acceptable staff behaviour but even more importantly must define what constitutes acceptable leadership behaviour.

Once the leaders are transparently accountable for these behaviours the journey begins towards a workplace and environment that attracts and retains motivated and engaged staff who enjoy coming to work, whether in the office or remotely, and are fulfilled in their workplace responsibilities and activities.

This is at the heart of a great Company Culture !

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