Culture is Queen: The Importance of Creating a Positive Workplace Culture

Updated: Apr 15

The saying goes, "Culture Happens."

No, we’re not confused; maybe just a bit nerdy. This really is a saying in Organizational Behavior circles. And, it should be a mantra for every business owner and manager as a reminder that culture will happen with or without their attention to it. The astute and forward-thinking business leader knows that a high purpose culture is the driving force behind all aspects of management. Indeed, companies must do more than print mission statements and lists of core values. High purpose leaders understand that they must have a strategic plan in place to ensure all company initiatives are consistent with their values and put into practice every day, at every level. Otherwise, they’re just platitudes.

For the younger generation of workers, the age-old idiom, "Cash is King," may be a thing of the past. Culture has now taken the reins. In a job-seekers’ economy, this group of professionals may have the lasting power to maintain this trend. In LinkedIn’s Workplace Culture report, 86% of Millennials say they would consider taking a pay cut to accept a position at a company that has a mission and core value set that aligns with their own. This is drastically different than the less than 10% of Baby Boomers who would do the same. These differences between generational workers are forcing a change in the way leaders recruit and retain workers. Glassdoor also found the same trend in younger generations. They discovered that 65% of Millennials value company culture more than a high income, and 73% of respondents in a Glassdoor survey said they wouldn’t apply for a position at a company unless its values aligned with their own.

Culture isn’t just affecting recruiting. It’s also affecting retention for companies. According to Glassdoor research, 74% of U.S. workers would leave their current employer if their company culture began to deteriorate. Pay is no longer a strong enough cure for retention and recruiting ills. Culture is now Queen.

A landmark study produced by Gaping Void confirmed what many of us already instinctively knew––business leaders who cultivate engagement and high purpose cultures enhance outcomes for investors, employees and themselves. What kind of outcomes, you may ask?

Respected leaders create environments that generate: • Higher compensation • Above-market average financial returns • Engaged and loyal employees (~50% better retention vs industry competitors) • Fanatical customers • Attract top talent • More innovative processes, products and/or services • Outstanding recognition in the media • Competitive Advantage • Enhanced leader benefits: value creation, influence, status and personal income

Savvy business leaders take the time to identify what is needed for success in their industry. For instance, if employee/contractor retention is critical for building loyal customer relationships and long-term satisfaction for repeat business, it would be important for leaders in that organization to create a work environment and culture that fosters retention and minimizes turnover. Yet, we see and hear about it all the time: bosses who treat their employees poorly; bosses who hire unqualified or uncommitted employees; bosses who don’t lead and inspire, but, instead monitor, hover and/or criticize their staff. All of us have probably made or will make any or all of these mistakes at one time or another. The goal being to minimize mistakes and proactively chart a course that ensures you as the leader are fostering a culture that supports the critical success factors you’ve identified for your company (i.e. accountability, attention to detail, innovation/creativity, certifications, expertise, etc.). The concept may seem very simplistic in theory, but in practice, it’s actually quite challenging and explains why so many businesses fall short or even fail.

The stark reality is that culture building usually requires leader growth and development. For example, most would agree that hiring/coaching/terminating employees is one of the most important functions performed by a business owner. Indeed, nothing will shape a culture more than who you hire, promote and terminate from your company. The onus is first and foremost on the leader to get this right. This is just one example––every business has its “musts." That’s why we at Sarah Olivia Marketing offer Organizational Consulting. We are passionate about culture building! To prove it, we work hand-in-hand with every client to support a customized, individual development plan focused on building and maintaining a high purpose, engaged team culture.


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