Cultivating Excellence: Investing Intentionally in Organizational Culture
In the dynamic world of modern business, the traditional role of Human Resources has undergone a radical transformation. Gone are the days of HR being about personnel management, compliance, and administrative tasks.
HR has emerged as a strategic force propelling organizational success. A noteworthy shift accompanies this evolution — heads of HR assuming the title of Chief People and Culture Officers. This change isn’t merely cosmetic; it signals a profound evolution in how organizations perceive and prioritize their most valuable asset: their people.
Why the Shift?
Organizations are recognizing that their success is intrinsically tied to the culture they foster. It's no longer just about managing personnel; it's about intentionally crafting a workplace culture that propels the organization forward.
Today’s employees are discerning and seek more than just a job; they want a work environment that aligns with their values. As organizations vie for top talent, they are realizing that a positive culture is a powerful magnet for attracting and retaining the best and brightest.
Moreover, organizations with a strong and intentional culture tend to experience more employee engagement, stronger innovation, and better financial outcomes.
Shaping a Values-Based Culture
Organizational culture is proving to be a key competitive advantage — but it can’t be left to chance. Savvy companies are getting intentional about defining and shaping workplace culture. Here’s how they do it.
- Define your values. What does your organization care about? Get clear on the 3-5 core values that form the foundation for your desired culture. Common examples include integrity, innovation, accountability, collaboration, and commitment to customers. Define what each value means with observable behaviors. What does "integrity" look like to your people leaders and employees?
- Connect values to mindsets and behaviors. What are the mindsets and observable behaviors that reinforce your values? For instance, if innovation is a core value, you'll want to encourage creative thinking, continuous improvement, and willingness to take risks. Leaders should epitomize those attitudes and actions.
- Leadership commitment. A large part of company culture is determined by people leaders. Every manager and executive needs to walk the talk when it comes to cultural values. That means orienting their decisions, communications, and interactions to bring the values to life. Leaders should be trained on exhibiting behaviors aligned with the desired culture.
- Align systems and processes. Ensure your talent processes encourage your values. For example, if collaboration is a value, then performance systems should include assessment of teamwork. Recruitment should screen for cultural fit. Compensation could tie rewards to peer feedback. Embedding values into systems reinforces them.
Companies with clearly defined, values-based cultures have been shown to have much higher revenue growth, innovation, and employee retention. Make your culture a competitive advantage with an intentional, comprehensive process for defining, activating, and reinforcing your core values from leaders down through the entire organization.
Learn more about how LHH works with organizations to assess and then redefine their corporate cultures.
Mehrdad Derayeh, Ph.D. is the author of this article with over 20 years of experience helping organizations succeed through talent management, leadership development, and culture transformation. He serves as a trusted advisor guiding companies to build high-performing and future-ready workforces.