How to Treat Company Culture as Strategy

Recognize This! – Company culture has more impact on business outcomes than any other factor.

Long-time readers of my blog know how passionate I am about the importance of a strong company culture of appreciation and how wise leaders use strategic employee recognition to proactively manage their company cultures.

SmartBlog on Leadership recently featured the results of a LRN survey on this topic. Key findings include:

  • 68% indicated that creating long-term value for the business is a principal benefit of promoting an ethical culture
  • Yet 57% are still not giving ethics the same weight as business outcomes in performance evaluations
  • 54% never formally celebrate acts of ethical leadership

LRN executive vice president David Greenberg suggests as a solution:

“Treat culture as a strategy: An ethical culture is not created by accident. It is deliberately crafted at many levels of the organization under the guidance of leaders who hard-wire it into the processes and practices by which business gets done.”

This is quite true. Doing just that – hard-wiring ethics and values into the daily work – is what many find challenging. The most effective and positive way of achieving this is through frequent, timely and appropriate recognition and appreciation. Strategic recognition uses the company values as the reasons for recognition, encouraging all employees at any level to frequently and very specifically recognize their colleagues and peers any time they demonstrate those values in their daily work.

This approach makes the values real for employees – not just a plaque on the wall. And the most success is achieved when this is encouraged from the CEO down through the ranks.

Winning with a Culture of Recognition, the book I co-authored with my CEO Eric Mosley, describes in much greater detail how you can build a culture of recognition based on your values so you can proactively manage your company culture to become what you want and need it to be.

Derek Irvine

About Derek Irvine

The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.

12 Responses

  1. […] terms of the workplace, think how powerful it would be to create a culture of recognition and appreciation in which employees at all levels regularly express and hear positive words – words of […]

  2. […] This post was Twitted by wallybock […]

  3. […] terms of the workplace, think how powerful it would be to create a culture of recognition and appreciation in which employees at all levels regularly express and hear positive words – words of […]

  4. […] terms of the workplace, think how powerful it would be to create a culture of recognition and appreciation in which employees at all levels regularly express and hear positive words – words of […]

  5. […] the purpose of the organization. Making this real to every employee is the critical leap. Recognizing employees when they demonstrate behaviors reflective of those values and in contribution to achieving the One Ford vision makes it real in the daily work of all […]

  6. […] 1)  The C-Suite sets and reinforces the culture. Pockets within a company can go “counter-culture,” but these tend to not last long. Employees learn to work within the prevailing culture – good or bad. The level and quality of work produced, however, is a direct correlation of the prevailing culture. […]

  7. Rasika says:

    Hi,
    Our company has an employee recognition programme to recognize people for their contributions beyond KRAs.

    We have defined the criteria for recognition and employees can either nominate themselves or their supervisors can nominate them.The winners of the trophy are selected at the zonal level by zonal leadership based on certain criteria and their names are published pan India.

    We received many nominations when we launched the program but we hardly receive any nominations these days.

    Can anybody suggest ideas to drive it across an employee strength of 13000 ppl and ensure there are more nominations? Should there be any change in the criteria for recognition?

  8. admin admin says:

    Rasika, I see several areas I would advise you to change:

    1) Winners should never be limited.
    2) All employees should be encouraged to recognize each other (NEVER themselves) any time they see a peer or colleague demonstrate a company value (your “reasons for recognition”)
    3) Unless management has a MAJOR reason for disapproving such a nomination, there should be no “selection committee” for who gets that recognition. If someone is recognized by a colleague for their stellar efforts and behaviours, they should receive it. Full stop.
    4) You receive so few nominations now because your employees likely perceive it as a programme in which the same few people are recognized again and again. Leadership is playing their favorites.

    This is something I blog about regularly here and something my company, Globoforce, provides to clients around the world. Check out the website at http://www.globoforce.com, and poke around this site more – especially under the category of strategic recognition.

  9. […] you must make those core values come alive in the daily work of every employee — such that they know beyond a doubt what “innovation” or […]

  10. […] Making culture an ongoing topic of conversation, training and reinforcement instead of a one-time event […]

  11. […] Making culture an ongoing topic of conversation, training and reinforcement instead of a one-time event […]

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