Culture Through the Eyes of Your Employees

January 20, 2015
| ByMike Ryan

I've read and heard many good definitions of culture, most of them coming from the world of academia. Few, however, are written from an employee’s perspective. If HR leaders could hear what employees think about the world they work in (i.e. your company’s culture) they would pay more attention to the role they can and should play in shaping it.

So, here‘s my stab at the voice of the employee. “Culture is everything we share; goals, beliefs, attitudes, definitions of success and, of course, the acceptable pathways to getting there.” I’d go on to point out that, “culture is reinforced by the type of attitudes and interpersonal dynamics that dictate how things get done.”

In my experience, cultures have made the workplace frustrating and lifeless for employees when they are negative, but engaging and dynamic when they are positive.

Chris Edmonds, author of the book "The Culture Engine" calls culture your “organizational constitution” and he urges HR leaders to take the responsibility for building a high performing, values aligned culture.

Think about that for a second. Building a “high performing and values aligned culture” should be on the list of things to do for every HR leader. Isn’t that a more powerful reason for why you need your recognition program than simply stating that you want to increase engagement scores?

And while you are thinking about that, think about this. Most firms have a culture problem. Most employees feel that the pressures of doing business in a hyper competitive world have negatively changed their company’s culture. Working to get your culture on track is a great chance for you to make your reward program more relevant and meaningful.

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