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Investing in Company Culture


~by Heather Strohm

Regional Extension Educator, Community Development – Purdue University


When it comes to business success, focusing on survival often trumps focusing on mission and vision. However, research reminds us that organizational culture—driven by mission and vision—is ultimately a key indicator of success (Adel et al, 2007). A commonly accepted definition of organizational culture is “the collection of values, expectations, and practices that guide and inform the actions of all team members (Achievers, 2020).”

Most organizations have core values and tend to be quite vocal about them. The values are displayed on social media, websites and publication outlets. The unspoken assumption is that these values permeate throughout the organization — and that employees are expected to adopt them. However, reality is that employees enter the organization with their own inherent value systems that have shaped their identities.

Today’s job market is hyper-competitive, and employees expect much more from companies. Employees are beginning to recognize their own worth in the marketplace. When employers monitor those expectations, they see an increase in loyal and productive employee participation. Astute companies recognize an investment in their culture is vital to employee retention, and they will likely see positive growth in revenue as a result. A study conducted by Deliotte in 2018 found that more than 300 firms investing in company culture realized an increase of four times their normal revenue.

Read Deloitte Report

Establishing a strong company culture is intentional and purposeful. It does not happen immediately and does not happen overnight. Strong leadership is needed with the right level of employee buy-in. Consider Caterpillar for example, they often spend nearly a year recruiting their top executives prior to extending an employment offer. That is significant vetting and research on both the candidates’ and employers’ side to ensure the culture and candidate are an appropriate fit. This process increases loyalty, profitability, employee retention, and satisfaction –and the impact can be exponential.

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