How building a strong culture leads to growth

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It’s simple. A strong company culture is key to the success of all organisations.


It shapes the way employees interact, work, and innovate.


As highlighted by Forbes, businesses rated as having a strong company culture see a 400% increase in revenue, much higher than average. However, in the pursuit of fostering a positive culture, some businesses fall into the trap of performative gestures that mask underlying organisational issues.


In this article, we will explore the key steps to creating an authentic culture and the dangers of performative attempts to create culture.


What is an authentic company culture?


Authentic company culture is rooted in the values, beliefs, and behaviours of a business. It is not a one-size-fits-all concept but is something that should reflect the unique identity and goals of a business, whilst prioritising an organisation’s most valuable asset, its people.


Here’s how to create an authentic culture:


1.      Define core values – Start by identifying the core values that define your company’s true identity. These values should resonate with employees and guide their decision-making processes.


2.     Lead by example – Authentic culture starts at the top. Leadership must live by the values they preach. When leaders consistently demonstrate these values, it sets the tone for the entire organisation to follow suit.


3.     Involve employees – Employees should be involved in the process of shaping and implementing a company’s culture as they are central to it. Encourage open communication, ask for feedback, and involve them in decision-making processes. Their differing perspectives can provide valuable insights into what truly matters within the organisation.


4.     Promote inclusivity and diversity – Policies and practices should support a diverse workforce and ensure employees from all backgrounds feel valued and respected; help create an innovative culture where everyone thrives and has a shared purpose.


5.     Invest in employee wellbeing and development – Create opportunities for employee wellbeing, growth, and development. This not only enhances skills and is beneficial to the business but also demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being.


6.     Recognise and reward – Acknowledge and reward employees for their day-to-day contributions. Recognising their efforts reinforces positive behaviour and fosters a healthy culture of belonging and appreciation.


7.     Promote a healthy work-life balance – Encourage a healthy work-life balance to prevent burn out and boost overall employee well-being. This shows that you value your employees as individuals and not just workers.


Performative culture vs. authentic culture:


While many businesses genuinely strive to create an authentic company culture, some only make building culture a tick box exercise. Performative culture is characterised by surface-level actions and behaviours that appear to promote a positive work environment but are only done when convenient.


Here are common signs of performative culture:


1.      Empty slogans and visuals– Organisations that rely on catchy slogans, photos, and buzzwords without aligning them with real actions lack depth and sincerity.


2.     Lack of transparency – Inauthentic cultures often hide problems and challenges rather than addressing them openly and honestly.


3.     Token gestures – Superficial diversity initiatives, such as hiring token representatives from underrepresented groups, without creating an environment to thrive, are clear signs of performative culture.


4.     Focusing solely on profit – Businesses that prioritise short-term profits at the expense of employee well-being and ethical practices are liable to face longer-term poor culture and brand outcomes.


What are the dangers of performative culture?


Performative culture may offer some short-term benefits, but it ultimately harms organisations in the long run and can impact the bottom line. Some of the consequences include:


1.      Employee disengagement – Employees can quickly see through empty gestures, leading to disengagement, a decrease in morale, and high turnover rates which in turn can negatively impact an organisation’s brand.


2.     No trust – When employees view their company as insincere and inauthentic, trust between them and leadership diminishes, hindering future collaboration and productivity.


3.     Reputation damage – A performative culture can damage a business’ reputation in the eyes of both employees and external stakeholders. Everyone can read Glass Door and Google company reviews.


Creating an authentic company culture should be a long-term endeavour that requires commitment, transparency, and continuous effort throughout an entire business. Organisations should prioritise genuine values and behaviours over surface-level, performative gestures. By doing so, they can build a culture that not only attracts and retains top talent but also fosters innovation, productivity, and sustainable success.


Company culture is not just about what you say, it’s about what you do and how values are lived every day.

By Rosh Lal

0203 386 9368
131 Finsbury Pavement London EC2A 1AT

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