Regardless of what sector of business you’re working in, it is certain that the past few months have been filled with uncertainty and continuous change. In the midst of the chaos, many businesses have allowed their organisational culture to nosedive. In the latest episode of ProfileTree’s Business Leader Series, CEO Ciaran Connolly caught up with Core Impact’s Séan Grant and John Paul Taggart to talk about the importance of workplace culture to any successful business. Check it out!

As we get our conversation off to a start, Séan Grant and John Paul Taggart introduce themselves as Directors and Developmental Coaches at Core Impact, an organisation that is focussed on developing businesses and communities through culture. Originally focussed on business, Core Impact now specialises in several areas.

The Directors at Core Impact bring a lengthy working relationship with each other, each spending over a decade working for Northern Ireland’s iconic Movie House Cinemas. It was through their joint experiences here that they built the necessary skills and contacts to launch their own business.

organisational culture
organisational culture

A Shared Philosophy on Management 

What services does Core Impact currently offer? Sean highlights that it offers a highly successful growth model called Impact Success, with five key areas of focus, including strategy, leadership, communication and motivation. All of the packages and areas of focus focus on developing people, both personally and professionally. “We had a shared philosophy on how you should treat people, how you should lead people and how you should manage a company from a culture perspective” explains John Paul. 

The launch of Core Impact came after a lengthy period of planning and deliberation, with Séan and John Paul ruminating over potential services, courses and workshops their business could potentially offer. “Little did we know it would grow into what we have now, where we’re offering workshops, one-to-one coaching, mentoring and bespoke practices,” they share. “Essentially, we work with business to help people understand their vision. After all, motivation and thinking about the bigger picture is one of the challenges.”

importance of organisational culture

The duo behind core impact agree that in many cases, business leaders don’t examine their company culture until it’s already too late, potentially hemorrhaging skilled and experienced workers. This is an issue that could be exacerbated by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many businesses struggling to adapt and placing little investment in their own people. “Much of the focus will be in bringing in new social distancing and hygiene guidelines to workplaces. Our concern is that people are going to come last, and people will end up losing out,” shares Séan, “and if people feel left behind now, then problems will begin to bubble through in the aftermath.”

Employee Engagement Post-Lockdown

For John Paul, the questions of employee engagement and general wellbeing will be extremely relevant – especially when the dust settles following the lifting of lockdown restrictions: “It’s about understanding what true engagement means – it means building true relationships and a real support network. It goes way beyond day-to-day working, and the benefits are obvious. 

“People know they aren’t alone, and you can maintain a positive culture through the wellbeing and engagement you’ve built up. We may be out of site, but you aren’t out of mind and we’re here for you. Anyone who says they haven’t been stressed by what’s going on probably needs to slow down and take stock. Managers need to look after themselves too!”

Séan highlights that any successful return to work will be reliant upon the provision of safe, supportive and hygienic spaces for all members of staff. “There’s a lot of fear, and a lot of that fear will rise to the surface when people return to offices. Organisations need to remember that by failing to look after their staff when they need support most, that approach can backfire. Things will eventually return to a new kind of normal, and if members of your team are offered a better position somewhere else, they’ll jump at the chance. More resources:

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“The workplace environment has a huge impact on mental health. At Core Impact, we realise how culture can transform this. We facilitate conversations in which our whole team can grow. There’s an old saying that you should leave your problems at the door when you come to work. That won’t encourage collaboration and it won’t encourage your team to work to the best of its ability.”

**Our interview with Séan and John Paul from Core Impact is a lengthy recording, and we invite our followers to watch the full video for more insights on management teams in the midst of the current crisis. Those wishing to learn more about Core Impact, its story so far and the range of services it offers are invited to do so by visiting the company’s official website. Interested parties are also invited to reach out to Séan Grant and John Paul Taggart directly via LinkedIn.**

Ciaran Connolly’s interview with Séan Grant and John Paul Taggart joins ProfileTree’s Business Leader Series, recently recognised with the Best Content Marketing Award for a Video Series at the inaugural Irish Content Marketing Awards in Dublin. To pitch your brand to take part or to discover how our content creation services can transform your online potential, get in touch with our expert team today. Please note that all Business Leader Series interviews will be carried out on a remote basis until public health guidelines allow for recording sessions at our Belfast-based studios. 

What is Organizational Culture? Understanding the Heartbeat of Your Company

So, you want to understand the “importance of organizational culture” but first, need a solid grasp of what it actually is. Buckle up, because organizational culture is more than just free snacks and ping pong tables; it’s the invisible yet powerful force that shapes everything from employee behavior to your company’s bottom line.

Clear Definition:

In essence, organizational culture is the unique personality of your company. It encompasses the shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that define how your employees interact with each other, your customers, and the world at large. It’s the unspoken set of rules, the way “things are done around here,” and the invisible glue that binds your workforce together.

Key Components:

Think of organizational culture as a multi-layered cake. Here are some of the key ingredients that make it up:

  • Values: These are the core principles that guide your company’s decisions and actions. They represent what truly matters to your organization and serve as a compass for ethical and strategic choices.
  • Beliefs: These are the shared assumptions and convictions that your employees hold about their work, colleagues, and the company itself. They shape how people perceive their roles and contribute to the overall work environment.
  • Behaviors: This is the most visible layer, reflecting how employees actually act and interact within the organization. It’s influenced by the values and beliefs you promote, but can also be shaped by leadership styles, communication patterns, and reward systems.
  • Communication: How information flows within your company plays a crucial role in shaping culture. Open, transparent communication fosters trust and collaboration, while siloed or inconsistent communication can breed confusion and negativity.

Different Culture Types:

Just like people, organizations come in all shapes and sizes, with distinct cultural personalities. Here are some common types:

  • Innovative: These cultures encourage creativity, risk-taking, and experimentation. They thrive on new ideas and constant change.
  • Collaborative: Teamwork and open communication are central to these cultures. Employees work together to achieve shared goals and value input from diverse perspectives.
  • Results-oriented: The focus here is on achieving measurable outcomes and exceeding goals. These cultures can be fast-paced and competitive, but also driven by a strong sense of achievement.
  • Hierarchical: These cultures have clear chains of command and respect for authority. Decisions flow from the top down, and employees are expected to follow established procedures.

Remember: While these are common types, your organizational culture is unique. It’s shaped by your industry, history, leadership style, and the people you hire.

The Importance of Organizational Culture:

Now that you understand the basics of what it is, you’re probably wondering why it matters so much. Well, the importance of organizational culture is undeniable:

  • It attracts and retains top talent: A strong culture can be a major selling point for job seekers, helping you attract and retain skilled and engaged employees.
  • Boosts employee engagement and productivity: When employees feel valued, listened to, and aligned with company values, they’re more likely to be motivated, productive, and invested in their work.
  • Improves customer satisfaction: A positive culture often translates into better customer service, as employees who are happy and engaged are more likely to go the extra mile for clients.
  • Enhances innovation and agility: A culture that encourages creativity and collaboration can help your company adapt to change and stay ahead of the competition.
  • Strengthens your brand reputation: A positive culture can attract positive attention and build a strong brand image that resonates with customers, partners, and the community.

By understanding and nurturing your organizational culture, you unlock a powerful force that can propel your company towards success. Remember, it’s not about ping pong tables, but about creating an environment where your people can thrive and your company can flourish.

Why Organizational Culture Matters: The Key to Unlocking Success

We’ve established that organizational culture isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the beating heart of your company. So, why is organizational culture so important? The answer lies in the tangible benefits it brings to both your organization and your employees, ultimately impacting your bottom line and overall success.

Benefits for the Organization:

  • Employee Engagement: Imagine a workforce that’s genuinely excited to come to work, feels valued and heard, and goes the extra mile without micromanagement. That’s the power of a strong culture! Studies show that companies with strong cultures see 20-30% higher employee engagement, leading to increased productivity, innovation, and problem-solving.
  • Improved Performance: Engaged employees translate to improved performance. Happy and motivated employees are more likely to put in discretionary effort, collaborate effectively, and achieve higher quality results. Studies by Gallup estimate that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 21% in profitability.
  • Reduced Turnover: High turnover can be costly and disruptive. Building a positive culture reduces turnover by fostering loyalty and commitment. A study by SHRM found that companies with strong cultures have 33% lower turnover rates. This translates to significant cost savings and less disruption to your operations.
  • Stronger Brand Reputation: Your culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It spills over and shapes your brand image. A positive culture attracts positive attention, builds trust with customers, and creates a stronger employer brand. This can improve your ability to attract top talent and win over clients.

Benefits for Employees:

  • Job Satisfaction: When employees feel like they belong, their voices are heard, and their contributions are valued, they experience greater job satisfaction. This translates to higher morale, lower stress levels, and a better overall work experience.
  • Motivation: In a supportive and encouraging environment, employees are more likely to be motivated to excel, take ownership of their work, and strive for success. Strong cultures foster intrinsic motivation, leading to greater personal and professional fulfillment.
  • Better Work-Life Balance: Work-life balance isn’t just a perk; it’s crucial for employee well-being and productivity. Positive cultures often promote flexible work arrangements, healthy work-life boundaries, and respect for personal time. This helps employees avoid burnout and maintain a sustainable work pace.

Competitive Advantage:

In today’s competitive landscape, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial. A strong culture acts as a powerful talent magnet, drawing in skilled and engaged individuals who align with your values and mission. This gives you a competitive edge in the war for talent, allowing you to build a high-performing workforce.

Financial Performance: The impact of culture on financial performance is no longer just anecdotal. Numerous studies have established a clear correlation between positive culture and higher profitability. A study by Towers Watson found that companies with strong cultures outperform their peers by 122% in stock market returns. Investing in your culture isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also smart business.

Remember: The importance of organizational culture extends far beyond ping pong tables and free lunches. It’s about creating an environment where people thrive, your company flourishes, and you achieve sustainable success. By understanding the benefits and actively nurturing your culture, you unlock a valuable asset that sets you apart and propels you towards a brighter future.

Building and Maintaining a Strong Organizational Culture: Where Dreams Become Reality

So, you understand the importance of organizational culture and are ready to unlock its potential for your company. But how do you build and maintain a strong culture that truly benefits both your organization and employees? Buckle up, because we’re diving into the practical steps you can take to cultivate a thriving culture.

1. Define Your Desired Culture:

Think of building a strong culture like building a house. Before you break ground, you need a blueprint. Defining your desired culture is your blueprint, outlining the values, behaviors, and attitudes you want to cultivate.

  • Identify Core Values: What are the non-negotiable principles that guide your company’s decisions and actions? Honesty, innovation, collaboration? Clearly define these and ensure they resonate with your team.
  • Outline Desired Behaviors: How do you envision your employees interacting with each other, customers, and stakeholders? Do you value open communication, teamwork, or risk-taking? Clearly articulate these desired behaviors.
  • Create Cultural Statements: Craft concise and memorable statements that capture your desired culture. Remember, these statements should be aspirational but achievable, serving as guiding lights for your journey.

Remember: Defining your desired culture isn’t a one-time exercise. Regularly revisit and refine these statements as your company evolves.

2. Leadership Sets the Tone:

Leaders are the architects of culture. Their actions, decisions, and communication profoundly impact how your culture takes shape and thrives.

  • Live the Values: Leaders must be the embodiment of your core values. Their behavior needs to be consistent with what they preach, setting a powerful example for everyone else.
  • Empower Employees: Foster a culture of ownership and responsibility by empowering employees to make decisions, take initiative, and contribute their unique talents.
  • Promote Open Communication: Leaders who listen actively, communicate transparently, and encourage feedback create a culture of trust and engagement.

The bottom line: Leaders cannot simply talk about culture; they must actively live it and empower others to do the same.

3. Engage Your Employees:

Building a strong culture isn’t a top-down imposition; it’s a collaborative effort. Here’s how to get your employees actively involved:

  • Gather Feedback: Regularly solicit employee feedback through surveys, town halls, and open discussions. Ask them what’s working, what’s not, and how they envision the ideal culture.
  • Empower Culture Champions: Identify enthusiastic employees who embody your desired culture and empower them to lead initiatives, organize events, and champion cultural values.
  • Celebrate Successes: Recognizing and celebrating employees who exemplify your cultural values reinforces desired behaviors and inspires others to follow suit.

Remember: Engaged employees are invested employees. Make them feel heard, valued, and part of something bigger than themselves.

4. Communication & Transparency are Key:

Open communication and transparency are the cornerstones of trust and a positive culture.

  • Be Transparent: Share information openly and honestly, even when it’s difficult. This fosters trust and allows employees to feel informed and engaged.
  • Create Open Communication Channels: Encourage open dialogue through regular meetings, feedback sessions, and accessible communication channels. Let employees know their voices are heard.
  • Practice Active Listening: Truly listen to employee concerns, feedback, and ideas. Demonstrating that you value their input strengthens trust and engagement.

Remember: Communication is a two-way street. Openly share information, actively listen to your employees, and create a safe space for honest dialogue.

5. Recognize & Reward Desired Behaviors:

Recognition and rewards can be powerful tools for reinforcing desired behaviors and values.

  • Recognize Individual & Team Achievements: Publicly acknowledge and celebrate employees who exemplify your cultural values, both individually and as teams.
  • Align Rewards with Values: Ensure your reward systems align with your core values. Recognize behaviors that contribute to your desired culture, not just individual performance metrics.
  • Go Beyond Traditional Rewards: While financial rewards have their place, consider creative and meaningful ways to recognize employees, like flexible work arrangements, additional training opportunities, or public shout-outs.

Remember: Recognition should be timely, specific, and sincere. Show your employees that their contributions are valued, and they’ll be more likely to repeat them.

6. Performance Management Matters:

Your performance management system shouldn’t exist in a silo. Align it with your desired culture to reinforce desired behaviours and values.

  • Integrate Cultural Values: Incorporate your core values and desired behaviors into performance evaluations and feedback discussions. Hold employees accountable for living the culture.
  • Provide Development Opportunities: Offer training, coaching, and other opportunities for employees to develop skills and behaviors that align with your cultural values.
  • Create a Feedback Loop: Use performance evaluations as an opportunity for constructive feedback and encourage ongoing dialogue about cultural alignment.

Organisational Culture FAQ

How long does it take to build a strong organizational culture?

Building a strong culture is an ongoing journey, not a one-time event. While initial shifts can be seen quickly, lasting change takes time, commitment, and consistent effort. Expect it to be a multi-year process with continuous refinement and adaptation.

What are some common challenges in building a strong culture?

Common challenges include:

  • Leadership misalignment: Leaders not embodying or actively promoting the desired culture.
  • Lack of employee engagement: Employees feeling uninvolved or unheard in the culture-building process.
  • Inconsistent communication: Mixed messages or lack of transparency creating confusion and distrust.
  • Inadequate recognition and rewards: Systems failing to reinforce desired behaviors and values.
  • Resistance to change: Individuals or groups clinging to old habits or ways of working.

What are some resources for building a strong organizational culture?

  • Books: “The Culture Code” by Daniel Coyle, “Turn the Ship Around!” by L. David Marquet
  • Websites: Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Culture Amp, Gallup
  • Consultants: HR professionals specializing in organizational development and culture transformation

How can I measure the impact of our cultural efforts?

Track key metrics like employee engagement surveys, turnover rates, customer satisfaction, and financial performance. Look for trends and correlations to gauge the impact of your cultural initiatives.

Conclusion: Organisational Culture

Building and maintaining a strong organizational culture isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. But the rewards are significant: engaged employees, improved performance, a stronger brand, and ultimately, a thriving and sustainable organization.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Tailor your strategies to your unique company, industry, and people. Embrace a spirit of continuous learning and adaptation, and celebrate your successes along the way.

By diligently fostering your culture, you’ll create a work environment where people thrive, your company flourishes, and your vision becomes reality. Start building your strong culture today and unlock the potential for a brighter future!

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