No You Can’t Force Culture But You Can Certainly Influence It

Last week I blogged about the idea that no amount of money will help increase the quality of employee referrals if your workplace sucks (view here). The strength of an organizations’ employer brand is the key driver of how strong employee referrals are, not cash rewards. The question then becomes, “if workplace culture and employer brand are so important to business success, how do you create one that rocks”?

For starters, let me just clarify that you CANNOT force culture. Culture is defined by the collective workforce, and it’s constantly in a state of flux based on many factors including turnover, market conditions, business performance, personal life events, and the list goes on. Each individual employee plays a role in defining workplace culture. I will say that business leaders are employees themselves so they too have the ability to define workplace culture, but in an organization of say 1,000 each leader represents 1 employee.

Businessman Reprimanding Subordinates

Now that we’ve established that leaders cannot force culture, what can they do? Given their role is to lead a group of people towards common objectives they can influence and shape culture. Influencing is a long-term approach based on many activities across the organization. In fact, I would even argue that organizations that have awesome workplaces do so because everything they do somehow connects and aligns to the key principles of what makes their organization rock.

CultureIQ ImageI had the fortunate opportunity to meet a fantastic start-up at the HR Technology Conference in October 2014 called CultureIQ. You may recall that I was quite vocal about my support for CultureIQ because it was their first time attending HR Tech, and they were organizing a cool event at Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh’s apartment, and Downtown Project. It was a nice relief from the typical alcohol infused club party that we have grown accustomed to at HR Tech.

CultureIQ was recently featured in Entrepreneur magazine where a fantastic infographic was shared about, “6 Steps to Strengthening Company Culture“. You can also view the infographic on the CultureIQ blog here.

I really like the simplicity of these 6 steps. More importantly I like how it articulates that culture is not 1 event, 1 activity, 1 strategy or something that happens at one point in time. It’s constantly evolving and needs to be embedded into the entire organization and how it operates and thinks. The infographic though, is a starting point — you still need to do the work to think things through about how you can strengthen and influence workplace culture. These 6 steps can certainly help you stay organized and focused. Great stuff from CultureIQ!

6 Steps to Strengthening Company Culture (Infographic) - CultureIQ

 

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