Recognise This! – You create and reinforce your culture every day with the employee behaviours, actions and attitudes you recognise and reward.

Last week I wrote about IABC research that found  “creating a new culture or work environment (33 per cent) was the most important goal identified by survey respondents.”

Ian Buckingham gave a thoughtful and very well phrased comment to that post and research finding. Since I can’t say it any better than Ian, I’m giving him the floor. With Ian’s permission, here’s his comment in its entirety (I’ve added a few links for details):

    “Ping! Is that the sound of the proverbial penny dropping in boardrooms everywhere?”Culture issues were behind the banking crash (focus on short-termism at the cost of relationship development and a flawed notion that “performance culture” = shareholder value uber alles).

    “Culture issues were behind the telephone scandals which nearly brought major networks to their knees.

    “Culture issues are behind the phone hacking scandal currently sullying the mighty Murdoch empire.

    “Culture either underpins or undermines brands.

    “Yet,  whilst advertising spend has increased during the slump, the weight of complaints about behaviour-based issues grows!”

“Culture either underpins or undermines brands.” That is the essence of why company culture is critical to company success and the bottom line as well as why it is critical to recruiting and retention of desirable employees.

Your culture is the sum total of the behaviours, actions and attitudes you as an organisation condone and encourage (formally from management and informally through what is praised and what is ignored by all employees). In tough situations (or merely questionable ones), employees will react and respond based on how they have become accustomed by what you recognise and reward in the organisation.

Strong cultures and organisations base recognition and reward on deeply held values and beliefs (and they give appropriate recognition and reward frequently and in a timely way to reinforce these values).

What is recognised and rewarded – explicitly or implicitly – in your organisation? What kind of culture is being reinforced?