[Webinar Recap] HR’s Role as a Company Culture Shaper

A strong organizational culture impacts every corner of your business, from employee engagement and productivity to leadership alignment. Culture even impacts your bottom line: Companies with a strong culture see a 4x increase in revenue growth.
Unsurprisingly, your HR team is crucial in shaping and strengthening that company culture. According to research by Bersin, 86% of high-performing organizations believe their HR teams are highly skilled in organizational culture — only 19% of the lowest-performing organizations feel similarly.

In shaping culture, HR can drive short-term success and the long-term survival of your organization. We connected with David Mallon from Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Bersin to learn how to get started. David shared Bersin’s recent High-Impact HR research outlining how HR teams can embrace their role as culture shapers.

Read on for a recap of the webinar conversation, including:

  • What organizational culture is, and how to uncover yours
  • What a high-impact HR organization looks like
  • How HR teams can proactively shape culture for long-term organizational success


HR’s Role as Culture Shapers

Understanding Organizational Culture

Workplace culture is made up of the behaviors, beliefs, interactions, and attitudes that dictate how things get done within your organization. In a world of constant innovation, your culture is your bedrock. It keeps you grounded as your organization works to stay agile and ahead of the curve. You can learn more about company culture here.Every organization’s culture is unique, so before you can shape your culture, David Mallon explains that you must first know thyself. Here are four key ways HR teams can understand their organization’s culture:

  • Annual Surveys: These in-depth, long-form surveys are a great opportunity to dive deeply into how employees feel about your organization. You’ll learn how your workforce experiences your company culture on a large scale.
  • Pulse Surveys: These single-question, short surveys are sent often — think weekly or monthly. You’ll learn how certain aspects of your culture change over time.
  • Stay Interviews: These interviews involve connecting with current employees on why they continue working at your organization. You’ll get direct insights into what’s working within your company culture to keep employees happy.
  • Exit Interviews: These interviews involve open conversations with leaving employees on why they decided to move on. You’ll get direct insights into your culture’s areas for improvement.

Learn more about how to measure your company culture here.


How Your HR Team Can Shape Culture

Once you’ve understood what your organizational culture looks like, you can work to improve it. High-impact HR teams focus on more than compliance and control — they actively shape a culture of trust, inclusion, and accountability. Here are four ways David recommends HR teams work to strategically shape their company culture.


Model Values — And Empower Leaders to Do the Same.

Every culture has a set of values that guide employees’ behaviors and work norms. Those values may be documented in a culture code or company deck somewhere.

But there’s a better way to ensure every employee acts according to your company values: model those values in the day-to-day. Your HR and leadership teams have a unique opportunity to shape the company culture by demonstrating those values day in and day out. Employees look to these teams to see what is appropriate, and they will align their behaviors accordingly.

Learn more on leaders’ roles in shaping culture here.


Reinforce Desired Behaviors in Others

In addition to modeling behaviors, formally recognize and reward employees based on desired behaviors. Consider adjusting performance metrics and promotion requirements accordingly.

Further, recognize that strengthening culture is an ongoing journey. Continuous dialogue between HR and employees will keep that journey moving forward in a productive way.

Focus groups, one-on-one check-ins, personalized follow-ups — these all give HR opportunities to receive and give feedback. That way, employees will recognize when they’re successfully aligned with and marching towards the desired company culture.


Understand the Link Between Culture and Performance

Culture is much more than a “soft” topic. It directly impacts employee engagement, productivity, and retention. As such, your culture should be measured and quantified. Your HR team will then better understand the direct impact culture is having on your organization.

Armed with data, your HR team can align the C-Suite and be strategic about strengthening your culture. The act of measuring culture is known as “people analytics” or “workforce” analytics” or even “human resources analytics.” Learn more about human resources analytics here.


Incorporate Culture Into Key HR Initiatives

HR is pivotal in driving initiatives that nurture high performance, facilitate employee development, and provide teams the resources they need to excel.

With each of these initiatives, HR should aim to be pioneering and personal. Pioneering, by using HR and workplace technology to stay ahead of emerging trends and deliver top-notch experiences. Personal, by treating their workforce as customers and delivering an inclusive, helpful experience to each employee.

In doing so, your HR team will incorporate your company’s culture and values into each initiative.


Becoming a High-Impact HR Organization

By understanding and strengthening company culture, your HR team shapes a culture of trust, inclusion, and accountability. They deliver consistent and flexible employee experiences, treat their workforce like customers, and leverage workplace technology to drive performance. They become a high-impact HR team that proactively prepares your organization for today’s ever-changing climate. According to the research presented during the webinar, these high-impact HR teams are 3.6 times more likely to develop capable managers, 2.3 times more likely to offer engaging work experiences, and 2.6 times more likely to supply top talent to meet current needs. Culture can truly become your competitive advantage.