Only a cursory glance at daily business news and corporate social media feeds confirms this as the year of “organisational culture” and “people analytics”. These days, job hunters consider online reviews of office cultures, while a firm’s executive leadership know that their corporate culture influences company value and performance.
In a Duke Fuqua School of Business survey of 1,400 CEOs and CFOs, 92% believed improving their firm’s corporate culture would improve the value of the company. And more than 50% said that culture influences productivity, creativity and profitability.
Another indication of the importance of organisational culture is the proliferation of conference talks and workshops focusing on the issue. Sir Win Bischoff, chairman of the Financial Reporting Council, gave a speech during the annual FNC conference that focused on the importance of corporate culture. “When there is a healthy culture, the systems, the procedures, and the overall functioning and mutual support of an organisation exist in harmony,” he said. “This will lead to enhanced integrity, confidence, long-term success and ultimately trust.”
Though “corporate culture” or “organisational culture” have become universal buzzwords, they’re still difficult to define. Essentially, culture is the behavioural manifestation of underlying values and beliefs specific to an organisation – such as patterns of thinking, communicating and decision-making. Though the leadership set the overall company values, culture also becomes office-specific and team-specific, as influenced by employees’ personal values.
The central principle of culture holds that values and behaviours are inter-related, so gauging personal or organisational values and behaviours in the right way identifies current culture and even predicts future behaviour patterns.
Methods of measuring and interpreting workforce data have spawned another trendy phrase: “people analytics”. This refers to taking assessments and algorithms a step beyond job-fit results to better design teams and predict business performance.
As Bischoff noted, “Corporate culture is intangible, it is true. But culture can be measured and much information is already available to do so… It is what you choose to measure and how you analyse and interpret it that is important… The indicators selected for assessment should be tailored to each company’s circumstances.”
The area of people analytics is at a crucial turning point, in which companies (both large and small) seek highly customisable HR analytics platforms that not only identify unique organisational culture but also provide further insight into which behaviours affect team dynamics, productivity, innovation and therefore company success.