Culture development

Culture as a source of competitive advantage

Discussions on the importance of culture are finally moving from the HR department to the boardroom as its link to growth and bottom line are more readily recognised. Studies are demonstrating that it is a valuable asset and a source of competitive advantage. Indeed, it is culture that increasingly fuels growth, innovation and high-performance.

The need to align an entire workforce behind a common purpose and secure alignment to deliver business goals, innovative and agility, increased competition and digital disruption are just some of the factors that are driving culture change in many companies. For example, some leaders are finding that their current culture simply doesn’t encourage collaboration, provide the safe-to-fail environment that promotes innovation or the kind of behaviours that will win new customers and hence it is impeding growth.

A sub-optimal company culture is extremely damaging, leading to disengaged employees and poor business performance while a healthy one fuels success. The quote, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, is becoming a truism but there is still some way to go before all leaders make culture the priority it should be.

Developing the culture from the top-down and ground-up

Rialto has a track record of helping organisations across a range of sectors effect culture change/development programmes. Its approach is to delve into the psyche of an organisation and undertake a root and branch analysis of how it works at all levels. Typical steps in a culture change/development programme include:

  • Assessing how the organisation is perceived internally and externally
  • Assessing where it wants to be and what is its over-arching aim; for example, to be ranked number one for customer service
  • Deciding what behaviours and values will support this mission, including what will make the company stand-out and be unique
  • Embedding these values and behaviours into the organisation’s everyday practices and processes
  • Monitoring the programme carefully using tools such as pulse and regular in-depth surveys.

Culture development programmes require time and a high-level of commitment and buy-in from the top tier. Leaders must model the right behaviours and ensure that managers build them into their performance management programmes so their importance is recognised across the organisation.

Rialto also works with organisations on the marketing and communications campaign that must to accompany any culture development programme. This should be seen to be led from the very top of the organisation so employees recognise its importance.

Studies are starting to put a price on a sub-optimal company culture and the cost for UK plc evidentially runs into billions. Rialto believes a healthy corporate culture is a fundamental requirement for a modern-thinking business that wants to succeed in an increasingly competitive environment. And it is increasingly a source of long-term value. Get the culture right and so many other positives will fall into place: employees will be engaged and aligned with the corporate mission; it will be easier to implement strategies; and the external brand will be enhanced.

It is culture that increasingly fuels growth, innovation and high-performance




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