culture of the organization is highly constructive; evidenced by
humanistic and encouraging behaviours and an unwavering com-mitment
to their customers. The declared values of the company
are: service, integrity, results. In one team, the nature of their work
is highly predictable and somewhat mechanistic in nature. The
manager has established accepted rules of conformity and preci-sion
around how work gets done – the correctness of the output
matters immensely. It feels (work climate) predictable, precise and
stiff. In the other team, the work is highly creative, organic and
unpredictable. It is project based and every client engagement is
different. The manager has established collaborative, dynamic
ways of team members coming together to collectively solve the
client need. It feels (work climate) active, fluid, artistic and inven-tive.
Two starkly different climates under the umbrella of one
culture; both teams living the values.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Organization’s really only have two kinds of capital: financial and
human. Strategy drives financial performance and culture enables
human performance. Let’s face it, any competitor can copy your
strategy. They can even copycat your products (maybe not right
away or without a legal battle).
How does a firm safeguard against losing its competitive advan-tage?
Culture – the one thing no one else can exactly replicate. I
know it may sound cliché, but Peter Drucker is credited with say-ing
that, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and, in this humble HR
professional’s experience, it is absolutely true. The culture of a firm
can affect large scale change such as acquisitions, mergers, proprie-tary
business processes, entry to new markets, product innovation
and business transformation. The culture can actively or passively
resist the change or accelerate it; so how fantastic your strategy is
doesn’t really matter if the culture can’t be relied on to execute it.
Today’s organizations are competing for top talent, battling com-petitors
for brand loyalty and customer trust, striving for sustained
results – and that’s all before 5 p.m. on Monday! Organizations
need to innovate at a higher velocity than ever before with con-stantly
increasing complexity and shifting customer preferences.
Strong cultures fuelled by positive work climates can stimulate
higher engagement, motivation and performance.
Employees and customers aren’t the only stakeholders paying
attention. Investors want to know about the cultures of the firms
they’re investing in. A 2017, CEB report indicated that since 2010,
the portion of the world’s largest 1,600 companies (by market cap)
that discuss talent management with investors in quarterly earn-ings
calls was up 15 per cent and that a full 67 per cent of CEOs
from those companies were being asked to talk about talent; most
specifically about culture.
What’s a bit scary about that is in an adjacent 2017 Gartner
survey of top HR leaders, only 31 per cent of HR leaders felt they
had the culture their organization needed to drive future business
performance. What is HR preparing the CEO to say about the
culture? CHRO’s need to equip the CEO and the CFO with evi-dence
of how the culture is influencing the organization’s results.
HOW TO CHANGE IT
Culture can be changed. It isn’t fast and it isn’t easy. There really
are no shortcuts, no one-size-fits-all, no silver bullets. It’s always
adapting to changing conditions which is why it always needs to be
habitually managed. Leaving culture and work climate to chance is
like rolling the dice on your company’s future.
Senior leaders should clearly define the aspirational culture –
what type of culture is desired. Knowing where you are now, what
you want the culture to be like and what the gaps are will help to
define where HR and management need to refine work practices,
rawpixel / 123RF
A positive workplace climate
affects all business areas
Continued on page 15
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ CONFERENCE ISSUE 2019 ❚ 13