Does Your Company Culture Hurt Productivity?

The airwaves have been rife with importance on company culture on employee productivity.

From Columnist Harvey Mackay (access requires subscription):
“In tough economic times, when companies need to re-evaluate raises and bonuses, a positive word can ease tensions and promote productivity. … A Personnel Today survey of 350 human resources professionals found that the greatest factor in workplace productivity is a positive environment in which employees feel appreciated. The survey reports that two-thirds of the respondents said they felt a lot more productive when they received recognition for their work, while the remainder said they felt a little more productive.”

From Radio World:
“Culture is not found within a single person or document, but rather it is the social air that we breathe. Everyone contributes to creating the corporate culture and everyone is influenced by it. Regardless of his power, a CEO cannot easily change an entrenched culture. … Logical and rational arguments are no match for the power of culture. Ignore culture at your own peril. … Culture strongly influences behavior because every decision is subject to some kind of reward and punishment.”

From Harvard Business School, 10 Reasons to Design a Better Corporate Culture:
• Leadership is critical in codifying and maintaining an organizational purpose, values, and vision. Leaders must set the example by living the elements of culture: values, behaviors, measures, and actions. Values are meaningless without the other elements.
• Like anything worthwhile, culture is something in which you invest. An organization's norms and values aren't formed through speeches but through actions and team learning. … At Baptist Health Care, for example, managers constantly reinforce the culture by recognizing those whose actions exemplify its values, its behaviors, and its standards.
• Employees at all levels in an organization notice and validate the elements of culture. …
• Cultures can sour. Among the reasons for this are … the failure of leaders to reinforce desired behaviors, the breakdown of consistent communication, and leaders who are overcome by their own sense of importance.

In this fearful time caused by the recession, what are you doing to take care of your culture? Are you continuing to recognize people’s efforts and letting them recognize their colleagues as well? Are you creating an environment in which they want to be productive? Are you – personally – living by example “the elements of culture: values, behaviors, measures and actions?”

These are some of my resolutions for 2009. I am committed to them because I believe it is the best path for me, for my team, and for my company and our customers to weather this recession well, gain competitive advantage today and dominate our industry when the upturn comes.

What about you? January is done. What are your resolutions regarding keeping your company’s culture strong? Are you keeping them? Tell us your resolutions in comments.

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