Corporate culture: what it is and how to improve it within your company

by Danique Geskus | Nov 8, 2023


Real-time insight into employee engagement

Corporate culture includes the shared norms, values, beliefs and behavioral patterns within an organization, which affects employee interaction and collaboration. Theoretical models such as the Competing Values Framework, Schein’s Model of Organizational Culture and the Denison Model provide insight into and analysis of corporate culture and its characteristics. The importance of a strong corporate culture lies in promoting employee satisfaction, engagement, organizational cohesion and performance, and attracting and retaining talent. Influencing corporate culture requires defining desired norms, values and behaviors, communicating and embedding, and encouraging open communication and engagement. Talent management tooling plays a crucial role in fostering a positive corporate culture. Want to learn more about the meaning of corporate culture? Then read on.


What is corporate culture?

Corporate culture refers to the shared norms, values, beliefs and patterns of behavior within an organization. It encompasses the way employees interact, communicate and work together. A strong corporate culture promotes employee engagement, motivation and satisfaction, and influences company performance and success. It can create a positive work environment that encourages innovation, collaboration and creativity. A healthy corporate culture promotes open communication, honesty, respect and trust. It can also lay the foundation for common goals, a clear vision and a sense of identity and pride among employees.


The theory behind corporate culture

Over the past decades, several theoretical models and frameworks have been created to understand and analyze corporate culture. Here are three of the most commonly used models:

  1. The Competing Values Framework (CVF): This model classifies corporate cultures based on two dimensions: internal versus external focus and flexibility versus stability. It identifies four culture types: Clan (focused on collaboration and employee engagement), Adhocracy (focused on innovation and risk-taking), Market (focused on competition and getting results) and Hierarchy (focused on structure and efficiency).
  2. Schein’s Model of Organizational Culture: This model highlights the basic shared assumptions and values that make up an organization’s culture. It consists of three levels: artifacts (visible elements such as symbols and rituals), perceived values (stated beliefs and norms) and basic assumptions (unconscious, deeply held beliefs that influence culture).
  3. Denison Model: This model measures corporate culture through four main dimensions: commitment (the level of commitment and motivation of employees), adaptability (flexibility and responsiveness of the organization), consistency (internal coherence and alignment of processes and procedures) and mission (clear vision and direction).


Why is corporate culture important?

A strong corporate culture brings several benefits and side effects. Consider, for example:

  1. Employee satisfaction and engagement: A strong company culture creates a positive work environment where employees feel valued and can identify with the company’s goals and values. This leads to higher employee satisfaction and engagement, which in turn can lead to higher productivity, lower turnover rates and an improved employee experience.
  2. Organizational cohesion and performance: A strong corporate culture provides a common understanding and direction within the organization. Employees share the same norms, values and patterns of behavior, creating a sense of cohesion and unity. This promotes effective collaboration, communication and decision-making, leading to improved organizational performance and goal achievement.
  3. Attract and retain talent: A strong corporate culture can play an important role in attracting and retaining talented employees. Potential employees are attracted to organizations with a positive and supportive culture that encourages their personal and professional growth. Moreover, employees who feel comfortable within the company culture are more likely to stay with the company, allowing the organization to retain talent and ensure continuity.


How to influence corporate culture

A company can actively influence corporate culture through various strategies. It begins by defining desired norms, values and behaviors to reflect the culture. This definition must be communicated and embedded throughout the organization, for example, through training, workshops and internal communications. Importantly, top management plays a crucial role by leading by example and supporting the desired culture in their decisions and actions. In addition, promoting open communication, employee engagement and encouraging team building activities can help shape a strong corporate culture. The reward system can also be adapted to encourage and value desired behavior. Creating a culture that motivates employees, keeps them engaged and empowers them to reach their potential is essential to an organization’s success and growth.

The HR team can contribute to a positive corporate culture by developing and implementing policies and programs that support the organization’s values and standards. They can provide effective communication, employee training and development, encourage diversity and inclusion, promote work-life balance and create a healthy work environment where employees feel valued and supported.


What is the role of tooling in fostering a positive corporate culture?

There are, of course, many different types of systems that can contribute to this. Looking specifically at talent management tooling, it plays a crucial role in fostering a positive company culture. These tools can help identify, attract, develop and retain talent within an organization. Talent management software and platforms offer functionalities such as talent recruitment, performance management, competency assessment, career development and succession planning. By using these tools, companies can implement structured and objective processes, supporting employees in their growth and development. This fosters a culture of learning, personal growth and professional development, where employees feel valued and motivated to use their skills and potential. Talent management tooling can also provide transparency and communication between employees and managers, creating an environment of openness and collaboration.


Measure and improve your company culture with Learned

To measure is to know. That’s why the Learned Survey module lets you easily send out ongoing surveys that help you measure such things as employee satisfaction and engagement. With real-time insights, you can instantly see whether your HR initiatives are having the desired impact on improving your company’s culture. Interested in improving your corporate culture? Click here for more information

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