The importance of organisational culture

Organisational culture: what is it and why is it important?

What is organisational culture?

Culture is the personality and character of an organisation. It’s about much more than just making somewhere a nice place to work. Culture helps to deliver an organisation’s strategy by uniting employees behind a common purpose and way of working.

The cost of not prioritising culture is higher than most businesses realise. A toxic culture can contribute to high turnover rates, absenteeism and presenteeism levels and ultimately impact the bottom line.

Why is organisational culture important?

When you get it right, culture drives higher employee engagement, happiness and retention. Both employees and employers benefit from a positive culture as happy employees are likely to be more efficient and productive, leading to higher productivity and profit for the organisation.

With culture affecting two of the biggest HR functions, attraction and retention, HR team members have an important role to play in creating a positive environment. But it’s not just down to the HR team to roll out culture change across the business.

Leading at all levels

Health and wellbeing needs to be ingrained into your company culture from the top down - beyond just HR. Without board-level buy-in, you risk implementing a health and wellbeing initiative alongside a culture that is pushing in the opposite direction.

Everybody within the business plays an equally important part in cultivating culture. Whilst it’s set from the top, culture needs to be built bottom up. Employees will see through a lack of authenticity so it’s paramount that not only do those at the top understand your core values, mission and purpose, but that they believe in it and demonstrate it in order to cascade these beliefs throughout the organisation.

Where do I start?

Our new, free, CPD-accredited course on organisational culture covers in detail how culture impacts productivity and employee wellbeing, the benefits of a positive culture, signs of a toxic culture and how to effectively facilitate cultural change. You’ll gain one CPD hour for completing the course which is available here.

The course is an extension of our series of panel debates where experts are invited to discuss trending HR issues and priorities at ‘The Orange Table’. You can watch our latest debates on productivity, organisational culture and the evaluation of health & wellbeing interventions here.

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