The Art and Science of Changing Company Culture

Business culture is the key to success.  72% of executives say that culture is key to performance, yet only 32% believe their company culture is aligned with its business strategies.  Focusing on cultural transformation can bring big rewards.  According to a decade-long study conducted by John Kotter, firms that had a strong focus on corporate culture saw major increases in revenue, stock price, net income, and job growth.  After five years of cultural transformation, companies saw an 85% net profit increase, and in just three years, 25% workforce growth was recorded.

The Benefits of Changing Company Culture

Company culture is all of an organization’s attitudes, ideals, and attributes that can be seen in the actions and behaviors of every employee. It is unique to every organization and the people who work there. Cultural transformation aligns employee desires and business strategy, instills a compelling vision for the future, and rallies support through active communication.

Cultural transformation creates a 50-point increase in employee engagement. In 2020 alone, 85% of employees were not engaged, creating $7 trillion in lost productivity.  Increased engagement brings 10% higher customer ratings, 17% higher productivity, 20% higher sales, and 21% higher profitability.  These statistics illustrate that employees care about culture, meaning, and motivation. Additionally, Millennials and Gen Z expect their work to help meet societal needs. Currently, one in three employees state that the primary reason they stay at their current job is that they find the work meaningful.

Employees Want Meaningful Work

When work is tied to our values, it increases employee engagement, sparks inspiration and innovation, and raises motivation and productivity. Meaningful work is the difference between employees who erode company culture and those who work together to benefit your organization. Employees resist culture change for a variety of reasons, but a poor corporate culture is one of the main reasons when employees are unwilling to buy into transformation efforts.

If employees don’t trust the company because of failed past efforts, they are less likely to support company change. Employees are also unlikely to embrace changes to rules and procedures, especially if they have been reprimanded for such behaviors in the past. Change often brings new responsibilities, and many employees worry they will have more work with no reward. New technology can expose employees who lack skills, prompting fear of job loss and contributing to their unwillingness to change. Past failed restructurings that resulted in job losses also make employees feel at risk.

It’s important to focus on investments that matter when investing in cultural transformation.  Investments in strategic imperative, future vision, skill training, job alignment, and rewarding success will contribute to company success. Training your workforce in the skills needed to meet your vision enables high performance and career advancement. Aligning organization and job functions to the company vision energizes employees to exercise their passion every day. Ensuring reward systems align with your vision throughout the organization reinforces culture by trumpeting success.

When considering whether your organization needs to invest in culture change, ask yourself if company rewards align with vision fulfillment, if there is a leadership program that cultivates the right values, and if employees are self-managed and accountable for results. If communication systems don’t foster effective collaboration, then it may be time to invest in company culture as well. Check out the following visual deep dive on changing company culture below:

Why Invest in Business Culture Transformation?

Brian Wallace is a Columnist at Grit Daily. He is an entrepreneur, writer, and podcast host. He is the Founder and President of NowSourcing and has been featured in Forbes, TIME, and The New York Times. Brian previously wrote for Mashable and currently writes for Hacker Noon, CMSWire, Business 2 Community, and more. His Next Action podcast features entrepreneurs trying to get to the next level. Brian also hosts #LinkedInLocal events all over the country, promoting the use of LinkedIn among professionals wanting to grow their careers.

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