Culture: It’s not about parties and dress code

Welcome to Week 3 of the SOS Leadership Blog Series:
Creating a Positive Organizational Culture
Each Friday for the next 6 weeks, we’ll be blogging about engaging employees, boosting morale, and creating a dynamic culture. We have an awesome lineup of guest bloggers, some of the best and brightest HR folks around! Come back each Friday to hear their words of wisdom. If you need to be reminded, follow SOS Leadership on Twitter and like us on Facebook, and we’ll let you know when the blogs are posted! Happy Friday!!!

Today’s hard-hitting blog post, entitled Culture: It’s not about parties and dress code, is by SOS Leadership‘s Billy Moyer!
Every organization, no matter the size or the amount of revenue it brings in, has a company culture. A culture really is just the personality of the company. The culture determines how employees act, how motivated and engaged they are, how they contribute to teams, how they solve problems, how they produce results, and ultimately how they serve clients.
Many companies believe that they shape the culture of the organization through a laidback environment where employees can come to work dressed casually. This is something we see a lot in Austin, Texas. Other companies think having companywide events and parties will help build their culture. Too often, I hear people talk about only those things when discussing organizational culture.
But culture is not about parties, a relaxed dress code, or anything like that. Sure, those things can make employees feel more comfortable, but it will not significantly affect their lives or the the quality of their work.
Culture, to me, is about development and growth. Is your company committed to helping employees develop into leaders? Is your organization committed to growth? Not just growth in the numbers, but the individual growth and professional development of each team member? Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is often no.
One of our partners was talking to someone from a company the other day about the work that we do, and the person said that their organizational culture did not support the professional development and growth of individuals. Basically, the company is more concerned with numbers and what people are doing for them, rather than what they can do for the growth and development of those people. Not a great way to show employees that you value them, in my opinion! But, hey, they probably have a quarterly staff party so that makes up for it, right?
Awhile back I was meeting with a leader of a company who told me they don’t invest in training or development for their people because they hire people who are already developed. “We only hire the best,” were his exact words. How do people who are the best stay the best? They recognize that learning is a lifelong process, and they seek every opportunity to grow. How long will those folks last at a company that doesn’t care about investing in their development?
If you want to build a positive company culture, then focus on the development and growth of every employee. Build a development culture! This, of course, starts at the top, but it doesn’t end there. Every employee can be a leader within the organization, but the organization must make that known to them. Investing in leadership development and training is imperative. You may think your employees don’t want more work, so training isn’t an option. But they are craving it; they just don’t know it because you haven’t given them the opportunity.
If you invest in building a development culture, you will surely have more engaged employees who are focused on their own personal growth and in turn the growth of the company. Your people have tremendous leadership potential. Why not empower them to reach their full potential? Why not set them up to succeed in the future?
Don’t just be concerned with the bottom-line. This will only lead you to the bottom. Is that really where you want to be?

One thought on “Culture: It’s not about parties and dress code

  1. Talk about craving learning and development, research shows that to attract and retain Gen X, Y and C, companies have to provide training opportunities, increase transferable skills and focus on creating self-directed learning.

    As to the reference to companies exclaiming they only “hire the best”, I couldn’t agree with your sentiments more…skills which are not constantly improved or sustained are surely to become antiquated. MS Office is a great simplistic example, people were so familiar with 2003 that when 2007 came out, let alone 2010, the look and commands were so different that it stumped people how to use it. Technology itself is moving at such a rapid pace that the workplace is already struggling to keep up with it.

    Learning and having a culture of being a continuous learner couldn’t be more important in my opinion!

    As a wise and significant man once said, “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage. ~ Jack Welch

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