Workplace Culture – Why Does It Matter?


What is the culture of your organization? If you cannot easily define it, then think how your employees might describe their workplace to others. Dan Dennison, Ph.D., author of many books on organizational effectiveness and organizational culture, defines organizational culture as “[t]he underlying values, beliefs and principles that serve as a foundation for an organization’s management system as well as the practices and behaviors that both exemplify and reinforce those basic principles.”

High performing organizations with well-defined cultures (think Google and Zappos) embrace their culture and use it to motivate, engage, and retain employees. They also take their message to the public by using a strong organizational culture to brand products and services to the general population. When you complete your sale at Zappos, you receive the Zappos motto “WooHoo!” on your computer screen. “WooHoo!” is woven into the organizational culture from the warehouse to the consumer. 

Some things to look for when identifying your organization’s culture are:

·         Shared Vision: are all employees heading in the same direction?
·         Results: are employees focused on the end goal and keeping true to the organization’s mission, vision, and values?
·         Recognizing Accomplishments: are teams and individuals rewarded for their endeavors?
·         Walk the Talk: is there top-down support for culturally driven activities?
Why does culture matter? In this day of social media, the secret is out—employees, potential employees, and customers know what is going on in your workplace. That knowledge translates to dollars, from retention and recruiting costs to customer loyalty. Now, go out and find the “WooHoo!” in your organization.  
Click here for CNN Money’s 2012 list of the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For.