Last week, we wrote about the importance of board culture. This week, we’ll dive into how to cultivate and manage staff culture.
The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) defines culture and outlines how to cultivate it.
“An organization’s culture defines the proper way to behave within the organization. This culture consists of shared beliefs and values established by leaders and then communicated and reinforced through various methods, ultimately shaping employee perceptions, behaviors and understanding. Organizational culture sets the context for everything an enterprise does.”
I want to emphasize the last point, “culture sets the context for everything.” Or, as my colleague Dean Pulliam reminded me of Peter Drucker’s famous quote, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
It takes strategic and intentional leadership practices to ensure a healthy culture. The experts at SHRM explain further:
“Companies on Fortune’s list of the best places to work—known for their strong cultures—have stock performance that is double that of other organizations. Culture is considered a potential competitive advantage by 82 percent of more than 7,000 CEOs and HR leaders from 130 countries. Yet only 28 percent believe they understand their culture well, and only 19 percent believe they have the ‘right culture.’”
While your organization likely is not a Fortune 500 company, you have a mission and your work meets a deep need in the community you serve. So, how can you cultivate a culture that speaks to who your organization is and what it believes?
SHRM outlines 10 tips for driving culture change within an organization. The first suggestion is to define desired values and behaviors.
For those who follow our columns, you will know that we are ardent advocates for starting with mission, vision, and values because those statements should permeate all aspects of the organization.
We wrote about what makes a good mission statement, what makes a good vision statement, and what makes good values statements a few years ago. If your organization’s mission, vision, and values statements are old, tired, or maybe you only have a mission but not a vision and values, then we encourage you to make this a priority.
It’s not only important from a governance and fundraising perspective, but also essential for organizational culture because everyone in the organization — from the newly hired to the longest-tenured — will have a clear understanding of the purpose and direction of the organization.
And when those statements are used in the hiring, onboarding, and reviewing processes of the team, then you can drive forward with energy and productivity.
What shared values are important to your organizational culture?
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO