Team Working and Discussing at Office

Over the past few years, we’ve seen more and more companies hire for positions like Chief Culture Officer or Culture Manager who are responsible for supporting employee engagement and developing strategies that reinforce an organization’s values.

An investment of this nature makes sense given that positive work cultures have been proven to increase productivity by increasing engagement, decreasing absenteeism as well as reducing errors and defects. In a study by Queens School of Business, companies with low employee engagement experienced 18 percent lower productivity, 16 percent lower profitability and 65 percent lower share price over time than those with high engagement.

The studies show that a positive culture can bring significant benefits, so even if a Chief Culture Officer is not in your company’s immediate future, there are things you can start doing today to establish a strong sense of community across all levels of the organization.

1. Build self-awareness among all staff.

Leadership is often tasked with modeling company culture. While it is important for executives and management to practice the company values, it’s imperative that all staff promote an organization’s culture.

Start by helping all employees gain self-awareness. When team members can evaluate their own behaviors and actions, they can begin to assess how they are living the company culture.

One way to boost self-understanding is to use the Emergenetics Profile, which helps individuals understand the way people prefer to think and behave. Self-awareness helps every employee understand their strengths as well as consider potential gaps between the intent of their actions and their impact on those who think differently. It can also help employees discover ways they can use their strengths to support cultural initiatives.

2. Develop programming that involves everyone.

A study by Booz & Company reported that one of the top three reasons for resistance to culture change is that employees do not feel involved in the process, so it’s important to incorporate staff as you enhance your culture.

Company off-sites like WEtreats can be effective to set the stage for culture conversations. If resources or budgets prevent your organization from taking employees out of the office, consider half-day trainings on-site or two-hour workshops over the course of several months.

Beyond these larger events, make sure that leadership, management and employees address the values and traditions of your organization as part of their everyday jobs by encouraging team leaders to have culture conversations with their staff at least once a month in meetings and in one-on-one’s.

3. Support open, transparent communication.

I encourage you to reflect on the following question: Are all employees in all teams empowered to ask questions if they notice something that does not seem to align with a company’s values?

If culture is everyone’s job, then all employees should feel encouraged to have these conversations. To empower your employees, try starting with trust building.

Leadership and management can lead the way by being open about challenges and opportunities the company is facing. There are also workshops, like our Building Trust Power of WE workshop, that can help identify areas of strength and challenge as they relate to trust within organizations. Once trust is established, employees will begin to feel empowered to have transparent conversations about culture, or any other challenges they see in the organization.

4. Make culture a part of your hiring process.

Take a look at your company’s job descriptions. Do they describe the type of person or the traits that would indicate a cultural fit for your organization? If they do, can you measure these traits in the hiring process?

Tools like the Emergenetics Selection Program define and measure the motivations that will help a person be successful in a particular role in a company. Understanding a person’s innate motivations can help your organization hire people who are better fits for your open jobs and are more likely to support the culture.

5. Recognize and reward employees who support organizational culture.

There are many ways to celebrate employees who model company values. Consider larger scale recognition programs, like company awards as well as smaller acknowledgements, like encouraging teams to celebrate one teammate each week who embodied the company’s values.

Culture considerations should also extend to the way talent is promoted. A 2014 global survey of nearly 1,200 C-suite executives by McKinsey & Co. found that spending time on culture was a priority for those who moved to the C-suite. Make sure employees at all levels know that embracing the company’s values is important and those who do so will be recognized.

Building or changing culture takes time and focused effort. It may be a challenge to try doing all of these things at once, so prioritize one or two things from this list that you feel will have the biggest impact on your organization. Then, start working with fellow employees and leaders to build new programs or expand on existing ones to begin seeing the benefits associated with a strong company culture.


If your company is focusing on culture, connect with me at to find out how Emergenetics can support your existing programs or help you create new ones!

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