Organisational Culture: Why it’s Hot in Corporate Boardrooms Right Now

Organisational Culture: Why it’s Hot in Corporate Boardrooms Right Now

You might be feeling that every time you pick up a business magazine or even talk to colleagues, the word “culture” gets thrown in a lot. And you would be right. Merriam Webster’s dictionary has awarded “culture” as the most popular word for 2014.

The C-Suite has a right to be focused on culture, rather than just the human resources department. After all, culture is driven from the top down. It is also fast becoming the most important competitive advantage for organisations.

Globally, executives are realizing the valuable currency of culture with an astonishingly high 87 percent of respondents citing it as “important” with 50% citing the problem as “very important” in a recent Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report.

It is also an unfair advantage when it comes to attracting the best talent. BRW’s Best Places to Work and Linkedin’s The World’s 100 Most InDemand Employers have made it easier for job seekers to assess which companies to work on based on their great cultures. Companies on these lists are so in-demand with job seekers that it is increasingly becoming harder to get hired there. While this might be frustrating for applicants, it is a veritable coup for companies on the Best Places to Work lists who can cherry-pick the very best. It also creates a self-perpetuating cycle where the best go where the best people are.

One of the reasons culture is becoming so important for companies is due to the heightened transparency in the job market. Thanks to social media, employees who have been unfairly treated by their boss can tell the world.

Glassdoor is a website that allows employees to rate their organisation. If employees aren’t happy, they can quickly assign the company a low star-rating combined with a damning expose into what’s really happening behind close doors. A low employee rating on Glassdoor sounds the death knell to attracting quality talent. While a high employee rating, ensures quality applicants are literally knocking at your door for a job.

While another new app has recently opened it’s door to employee complaints.  Memo is an app that aims to lift the lid on what real corporate culture is like in organisations, giving employees another opportunity to vent and gossip anonymously.   When you add this to other apps like Secret and Whisper, it’s now more important than ever that CEOs lead transparent companies where employees can honestly confront their boss on issues. Before it becomes open to public review.

While the jobless rate in Australia remains moderate, it’s only a matter of time before the economy heats up enabling talent to have all the power in negotiations. According to the recent PWC Global CEO Survey, 55% of Australian CEOs plan to increase headcount this year.

There is no secret that change is happening faster than ever where new industries can appear creating a demand for talent in ways we haven’t seen before. It’s not just your competitors who can lure your star employees away. Take the example of an industrial manufacturer on the east cost or America who is now losing their top aerospace engineers to Google.

The question to ask your executive team is: Among our most capable employees, how many see themselves being here in 18 months? And how many would resign for a 10% pay increase?

As Josh Bersin mentioned in a recent Forbes article, “We have arrived in a world of “haves” and “have-nots” when it comes to attracting and engaging top talent.”

Low engagement at work is now becoming a top business risk. Organisations that attract the right people and foster meaningful work, combined with strong leadership (including communication skills) are more likely to beat the competition in attracting top talent.

It’s Time to Foster A Healthy Culture

The time has come to ensure your culture is highly functional and provides a collaborative, friendly environment where everyone looks forward to starting their day. And it’s not rocket science.

In our High Performance Culture model, we work with organisations on three key areas:

High Performance Culture model

1.Unity is all about unifying the workforce to get everyone achieving the rights tasks and goals.  Your employees want a compelling vision of the destination and need clear principles on how to navigate their course.  To inspire and motivate employees, it’s not about pushing change.  It’s about aligning employees’ self-interest to a more meaningful, bigger purpose set by the organisation. Tremendous energy is generated when group and organisational values are in synch.  It’s how the right work gets done.

2. Transformational Leadership – The key to building a unified workforce is through transformational leadership.  Leadership is about having the right skills that forge a unity of purpose by showing employees how the vision is for the common good.  This means having business leaders throughout the organisation who can meaningfully articulate the business vision and generate employe commitment and action.  It’s about providing focus and alignment.

3. Communication – Effective communication is all about motivating employees and management to take action on organisational processes and goals.  It’s all about driving behaviour change.

4. Trust – Once you create systems to ensure you have high performance communication, unity and transformational leadership, all three factors catalyse together to form trust.  Trust is so important because it provides employees with a safe environment to thrive.  When employees feel safe, they know they can perform at their best and their effort will be rewarded.  And if they fail at a task, they won’t be reprimanded.  Trust is important because it means people will become emotionally invested into the company and will work harder.

Ultimately, measuring, optimising and systemising your workplace culture is the best way to ensure your culture is a talent magnet. At the same time, it produces an environment that enjoyable for everyone – including you!


Marie-Claire Ross is the Founder and Chief Corporate Catalyst at Trustologie. She is a workplace sociologist, author, speaker and consultant focused on helping leaders put the right processes in place to accelerate trust during change and growth. She does this through strategic diagnostics, roundtables, workshops, coaching and consulting. Marie-Claire is also the author of the number three ranked book on Amazon, Transform your Safety Communication. She has been interviewed on “Technology Behind Business” for Sky Business News and regularly contributes articles to FM Magazine and LogiSYM on company culture. She is also a Graduate of the Company Director’s Course and is on the SME Committee for the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: