Most leaders agree that company culture is critical to business success, and yet many organizations struggle to achieve their desired culture. Research by Deloitte found that although 82 percent of surveyed executives said that company culture was important, only 19 percent believed they had the “right culture.” There are many worthwhile reasons to pursue a culture transformation, including attracting and retaining engaged, high-performing employees and strengthening overall competitiveness.
With a strong commitment to culture change, any organization can shift employees’ mindsets and behaviors and realize the benefits of its desired culture. Here are four reasons why company culture is essential to business success, making culture transformation a highly worthwhile pursuit.
Culture Impacts the Employee Experience
A positive company culture improves the overall employee experience and can have a great impact on an individual’s decision to accept or remain in a role. According to one study, one-third of people wouldn't accept a job that was a perfect match if the corporate culture clashed. In addition, a Hay Group survey found that 47 percent of people were actively looking for new positions, citing company culture as the main reason behind their desire to switch organizations.
A great company culture supports both employee retention and engagement. When individuals are in a company culture that features many of the important drivers of engagement, such as recognition, supportive managers, and opportunities for learning and development, they are not only better positioned to perform over the long term but also more engaged and committed to company goals.
Culture Impacts the Customer Experience
A culture that is not focused on the customer will fall short of providing an exceptional customer experience. However, when you take deliberate steps to build a culture that puts the customer at the heart of everything you do, the customer experience improves at each point along their journey. Moreover, a customer centric culture fosters deeper customer relationships, which leads to more loyal and satisfied customers, which in turn leads to greater overall business success. Research by Deloitte found that customer centric companies are 60 percent more profitable compared to companies not focused on the customer.
Culture Influences Innovation
A culture focused on continuous learning enables individuals to practice and hone their creative thinking and problem-solving skills, resulting in more innovation in the company. Some individuals within the organization may already be strong in these areas, but others will need training and support to pursue innovative behaviors.
Innovation is a skill that can be taught, and when training in areas such as critical thinking and process improvement are incorporated into culture transformation efforts, all employees can develop into true innovators and support organizational growth and competitiveness. In fact, it’s possible to build a culture of innovation in which:
- Innovation is prioritized and encouraged by company leadership
- Employees have time, autonomy, and encouragement to be creative
- Innovation efforts are recognized and celebrated
Culture Impacts How Employees Manage Change
Although change is a constant that impacts every business, organizations that develop a culture in which employees can successfully navigate change are more likely to achieve business success. Building a culture that embraces change requires a true commitment to providing individuals with the skills and knowledge that will help them be less resistant and fearful of change, and can be achieved by:
- Preparing employees for change—providing a clear vision, plan, and timeline for change so that employees can build understanding, ask questions, and see how their roles will change
- Communicating clearly and often—ensuring leaders deliver key messages consistently and encouraging two-way dialogue
- Leading by example—expecting leaders to model the behaviors consistent with the company’s desired approach to change
- Training—providing individuals with the learning opportunities that open their minds to change and providing skills for navigating change
Company culture impacts all parts of a business, from how fast it grows to how well-prepared employees are to meet and exceed their goals. Deciding which kind of culture is best for you depends on a variety of factors, and pursuing a culture transformation can help you achieve it. With a focus on an area such as customers, innovation, or change management, it’s possible to achieve the culture you desire and grow a successful business in the process.