Why Culture Matters

The reality is that culture and strategy interact and in the best of all worlds, they are mutually reinforcing. Culture creates loyalty and resilience during tough times. Strategies can be copied, but no one can copy your culture. A strong culture creates a competitive advantage that allows you to compete for top talent.  In today’s fast paced, highly competitive environment,  your culture is what will differentiate you within your industry. When strategy and culture collide, culture will always win. Companies like Zappo’s and Tom’s Shoes invest heavily in culture, knowing that it provides a level of risk prevention that strategy alone can not cover.

There are three major costs to not have a strong culture:

The first is health care expenditures. More than $500 billion dollars is siphoned off from the US economy because of workplace stress, and 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job.

There is also the cost of disengagement.  Employee engagement isn’t just a soft skill relegated to Human Resources. Disengagement is costly. Disengaged workers have higher absenteeism, accidents and 60% more errors.

The third consequence of a weak culture is lack of loyalty. People search elsewhere, decline promotions or resign when the culture is weak. The turnover costs associated with recruiting, training, lost expertise and talent are significant. The truth is found in the numbers: Employees prefer workplace wellbeing to material benefits. Wellbeing comes from one place, and one place only – a positive culture.

If you could change one thing about your current culture, what would it be? What difference would it make?