Company culture is much more than mission statements or other PR collateral. Indeed, businesses often run into trouble when their PR persona doesn’t align with what’s actually happening inside the company, remember the Uber scandal? Culture includes the values and beliefs that guide your organisation’s actions, and is one of the most important aspects of maintaining trust with a multitude of stakeholders.
Culture matters because employees are paying attention. Job applicants care about company culture, and their fit (or lack thereof) can make a great deal of difference in their motivation at work. Studies have shown that when workers don’t fit within a culture, they are more likely to become disengaged with work and quit. Yet when companies merge or grow quickly, they often give insufficient thought to culture.
I worked with a pan-African bank that had over 12 million customers and had failed to keep control of its company culture as it attempted a disastrous expansion into the US market. Painful lessons learnt set the business back two years in its corporate plan, and led to a damaged reputation and a crash in its stock market price.
Even though culture can seem too big to be controlled, every leader in an organisation has the power to improve their culture and ensure that everyone across the organisation is on the same page when it comes to organisation values and accepted behaviours