Healthy Company Culture is Critical to Business Success

By Beth Ebert, Sr. Project Manager

Published: January 14, 2014

The health of corporate cultures is often measured using three metrics: substance, strength, and adaptability. Similarly economic performance is measured by profit, return on investment, and for many, stock price. Culture and performance, though different ends of the spectrum, are inexorably intertwined. Put the two together and it is not difficult to quickly exemplify an equation for success. In general, research shows a company outperforms its counterparts when 1) its culture emphasizes customers, investors, and employees; and 2) its culture fits its business environment and adapts to changes.

Healthy Company Culture

In short: a happy team is a more productive team.

Research from Booz and Company found that 84% of current executives believe culture is critical to their business success and 60% of executives believe culture is more important than strategy or their operating model. Clearly culture has a huge impact on business today.

Creating a healthy organizational structure begins by assessing your company’s needs and is sustained by infusing a culture of inclusion and adaptability. People care more when they’re appreciated. If you don’t already have a plan in place to improve or sustain culture and thereby drive performance, consider taking action on these 7 suggestions.

  1. Check in on your teammates. Take a pulse and see where they’re at, not in a group environment. People need to feel acknowledged and appreciated to do their best work.
  2. Do team activities, somewhere away from work where teams can socialize and build relationships independent of office to do lists.
  3. Establish a mentoring program. Give team members the opportunity to connect with other employees, outside of their day-to-day interactions with core team, taking a coaching and mentor approach. Just remember – if you’re going to start a program, you need to finish it and typically it’s on management’s back to make sure things happen. This helps expand change capabilities beyond leadership and communication alignment.
  4. Encourage flexibility. A very strict, harsh environment doesn’t lead to creativity. People aren’t going to go above and beyond if they’re not feeling valued and can operate by their own efforts.
  5. Have a communication policy or procedure in place. Make sure employees can go talk to someone where they don’t feel like they’ll get in trouble. Whether an outside company or internally, it is good to have a neutral resource for people to vent.
  6. Make employees feel safe and secure in their job. One of the top drivers of high performance in the workplace is employee appreciation. Establish professional skills development programs to help all employees at every level do their jobs better, but always make sure team members feel valued. Employee handbooks are key so everyone knows the rules of the road.
  7. Have fun.

Only 54% of organizations are capable of sustainable change when it comes to culture shift.  In order to succeed at infusing a positive culture and affecting economic output, focus on a critical few behaviors with the most cultural impact.