THE BLOG

#Culturevist: Investing in Corporate Culture

09/06/2014 15:13 BST | Updated 06/08/2014 10:59 BST

A few days ago, I had an interesting invitation to attend a meetup with the subject around corporate culture. After work, at 7pm, I headed towards Oxford Circus, at the ENGINE offices, where Matthew Partovi from Yammer hosted this type of meeting for the third time. The mission of #Culturevist is to improve the culture of the world's organizations so that they can be more responsive, by sharing inspirational examples of success and failure among its network.

Corporate culture is like Adam's Smith invisible hand in the economy. Usually, the culture is defined by the corporate values and the mission statement, but in essence it is the attitude of the executive team that shapes the employees' behavior as they lead by example. A company's culture is part of its reputation and DNA, linked directly to its people and this is the reason most startups are working hard towards creating a sustainable culture that will set the company for success. It is common knowledge that employees can be paid for their services, but loyalty must be earned.

In the last five years, I have been through an amazing journey working in both big organizations and startups or doing consulting projects for the public sector, thus experiencing the effect that the different cultures had on employees' satisfaction and business results, to externalities in the society. Startup and corporate worlds have seen all their differences being summarized into one word: culture. To my knowledge, it is not the lack of processes or the 'results-driven' mentality, neither the politics nor the budget constraints that shape a company's. It is the simple mindset that for the startup, failure is not an option.

Having a great culture brings more benefits to the business and can be an undercover means to success by:

  • Bridging any gaps (age, experience, education);
  • Attracting and maintaining the best talent;
  • Helping with the human resources selection process as companies can keep the culture stable and hero diversity;
  • Serving as rewards additional to financial compensation.

In a rapidly changing business environment like the one now, it is easy to fall in the trap of trying to preserve an old fashioned culture at all costs and failing to show agility when it comes to changes in the society. For example, while in the past the male breadwinner that would come home to his family late every night would be perceived as a normal behavior of a dedicated employee, nowadays we are experiencing a huge swift and rationalization on the parenthood experience, with companies to provide flexibility in order to maintain and attract the best talent.

In the event, we had the opportunity to discuss about the differences in culture in the private versus the public sector, evaluate the merits of safeguarding the culture or allowing for evolution and learn from each other's experiences in various corporations. The underlying theme that connected us was: "We are Culturevists. We care so much about the culture of my organization that we're pretty much willing to lose our jobs for it".

The next #Culturevist event is due to happen this month on Wednesday the 25th at 18.45pm, sponsored by Let's Go Holdings. If you would like to attend, please sign up here, tweet to share with the hashtag #Culturevist and see you there!