Redefining Culture in 2022

Corporate culture reflects the values, beliefs, and attitudes that permeate a business.  Corporate culture is often referred to as “the character of an organization” representing the collective behavior of people using common corporate vision, goals, shared values, attitudes, habits, working language, systems, and symbols.  Corporate culture is interwoven with processes, technologies, learning, and significant events.  It is a total sum of the values, customs, traditions, and meanings that make a company unique. 

Think of culture as an iceberg. Icebergs float on top of the water and are visible to the eye.  Beneath the surface, the iceberg is significantly larger than what is visible above the waterline.  As a metaphor for organizational culture, the tip of the iceberg is the visible culture including things such as dress code, work environment, benefits, titles and job descriptions, organizational charts, policies and procedures, and formal processes.  In looking beneath the surface, however, we find clues to “the ways things are really done around here” – norms, unwritten rules, attitudes, beliefs, shared assumptions, moods, emotions, and unconscious interpretations.  Often, what is above the surface is often not consistent with what lies below.  It is what is beneath the surface that truly supports or inhibits organizational culture.   

According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2022 report, posts mentioning “culture” get 67% more likes, shares, comments, and clicks compared to average posts. The report additionally showed that employees are demanding that organizations focus on transforming organizational culture to meet the needs of employees while viewing them as “human beings first.”

Leaders set the tone for the culture of the entire organization that impacts the employee experience. And a leader has a huge responsibility to build a culture tied to strategies that can deliver results and sustain employee engagement and retention. 

A strong culture exists when employees respond to stimuli because of their alignment with organizational values.  Strong cultures help firms operate like well-oiled machines cruising along with outstanding execution.  Minor tweaking of existing procedures enhances performance.  In thriving, profitable companies, employees embody the values, visions, behaviors, and strategic priorities of their organization. 

Conversely, a weak culture exists when there is little alignment with organizational values and control must be exercised through extensive policies, procedures, and bureaucracy.  Signs of a weak culture include lack of trust, focus on problems, staff losing confidence in their leaders and systems, and people spending more time focusing on problems rather than opportunities.

To create a strong, thriving culture in 2022 where employees feel connected to their workplace, successful organizations are:

  1. Aligning culture with strategy
  2. Embracing authentic, purposeful leadership that demonstrates a growth mindset and inspires others to do the same
  3. Demonstrating agility and emotional intelligence
  4. Treating employees with equity and inclusion

How are you building a purposeful, inclusive, and values-driven culture?

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