Why Does Organisational Culture Matter?

Positive, genuine organisational culture means engaged, happy employees. Culture impacts things like employee recruitment, retention, performance and turnover so it makes sense to define and actively strengthen corporate culture.

When it comes to talent management and recruitment processes, displaying that culture in a strategically considered way is a critical factor in ensuring the best employee/employer fit.

Engage staff for maximum satisfaction

At Canberra-based firm, Maxim Chartered Accountants, Director Gerard Boundy understands the value of positive organisational culture.

With 50 employees, the dynamic firm of accountants and business advisors finds its success in the delivery of professional, creative and friendly service.

What are some of the most positive aspects of the company’s culture? According to Boundy, it has a lot to do with the company’s attitude to personal development and the collective sharing of professional experience.

Staff reviews and regular discussions with clients ensure that organisational culture is set at its optimal levels. Boundy’s overarching advice when it comes to creating and maintaining all-important company culture?

“Avoid discussing concerns with 3rd parties and passive aggressive behaviour by dealing with challenges in a constructive and direct manner,” he says.

Hire for cultural fit

At a recruitment level, the way that companies display their organisational culture in the interview stage is pivotal to attracting the right employees – as well as being genuine and authentic and portraying the company for what it really is.

Get it wrong and companies run the potentially expensive risk of selecting employees who are not a good fit. From the employee’s perspective, there is also the problem that an organisational culture that does not reveal its true self throughout the recruitment process could lead to employee dissatisfaction in the not-too distant future.

In a recent BRW article revealing the 2013 BRW Best Places to Work study, Zrinka Lovrencic of Great Place To Work Australia, the consultancy which conducts the study says that “good human resources departments are now focused on what motivates employees, and hiring exactly the right ones”.

“You really need to understand who is working for you, why they are different and why they should work for you,” she said.

She estimates that the cost of a recruitment that doesn’t work out comes in at around 3.5 times the annual salary involved – a great reason to utilise a professional recruitment provider to manage the process.

Set expectations from the start

Also quoted is Optiver’s CEO, Paul Hilgers, who describes the company’s notoriously challenging 8-minute interview test as something that is critical to securing quality employees.

By being so “intentionally hard”, Hilgers said in BRW, the test “filters out not only those that are not technically proficient, but also assesses cultural fit”.

Clearly, it’s working. Optiver’s top ranking in this year’s list is an impressive climb from the 22 spot in last year’s study.

Characteristics of a successful corporate culture

In 2012, a similar study from Aon Hewitt explored Australia’s best employers (the results of surveys of 74,000 employees across 165 organisations across the country) and highlighted the five key characteristics that were common.

  • Unwavering commitment from senior leaders to the importance of developing highly engaged and productive employees;
  • Clear performance expectations that align people to the organisation’s goals and values, and bring meaning to their work;
  • People managers who create the conditions for their people to excel;
  • Reward and recognition practices that encourage employees to contribute discretionary effort;
  • Clear communication on what employees can expect, which, in turn helps the organisation to be more competitive in attracting and retaining in a tight labour market.

Positive cultures drive the bottom line

Success clearly relies on the ability to bring people together and by creating cultures that invite participation. With engagement very clearly linked to productivity and financial success, it is something smart employers can’t avoid.

When it comes to a clearly defined organisational culture that attracts the best possible employees, getting it right, says Maxim Chartered Accountants’ Gerard Boundy, is something the company works very hard at.

“It’s critical to being profitable,” he concludes.

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Why Does Organisational Culture Matter?