Why organisational culture is a vital element in HR's remit

A strong organisational culture is fundamental to overall business success, but what does it actually look like? In this feature, we’ll explore the various elements that all companies should be striving for…
HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd
Why organisational culture is a vital element in HR's remit

What is organisational culture?

Organisational culture refers to the set of values, beliefs, attitudes, systems and rules that shape and influence employee behaviours within a company. It’s not to be confused with organisational goals or mission statements, as culture is primarily established through consistent and authentic behaviours rather than through formal documents or announcements.

This culture becomes evident in various aspects of the business, such as how leaders respond to crises, how teams adapt to new challenges, or how managers handle employee mistakes. The impact of organisational culture is profound, influencing everything from punctuality and communication tone to contractual terms and employee benefits.

We’re delivering programs and initiatives that our Primos actually want, we’re not just driving it down because it’s what our leadership team want

Benchmarking the efficacy of your culture

It can be hard to define what constitutes a strong and successful organisational culture. Often when attracting new talent, businesses promote popular benefits such as free lunches, unlimited time off, and dog-friendly offices as evidence of a strong and supportive culture. Whilst benefits do contribute to the perception of value for the employee, these are not the calling cards of a strong culture.

Whilst all businesses are unique, with their own challenges and personalities, several key tenets of strong organisational culture should be applicable to all. For example, achieving alignment involves ensuring that the company's objectives and employees' motivations are consistently moving in the same direction. Exceptional organisations prioritise continuous alignment with their vision, purpose and goals.

Similarly, cultivating a culture of appreciation involves various forms of recognition, such as public praise, thank-you notes or promotions. In such a culture, team members frequently acknowledge and express gratitude for each other's contributions. As with appreciation, trust is a vital element in any organisational culture, creating an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing themselves and can rely on others to support them when attempting new initiatives.

High-achieving organisations don’t ignore the importance of prioritising performance, however this doesn’t simply mean creating unrealistic expectations for individuals. Creating a culture where talented employees inspire each other to excel is the difference between creating a healthy competitive culture and one in which burnout is rife. This focus on performance results in increased profitability and productivity, and also contributes to resilience and strong teamwork.

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