A group of local MBA students are conducting interviews at my organization to define our culture. Many of our senior level executives define culture as our core values. This isn’t an incorrect definition, but I think it’s missing something. It’s missing the “human element” of our culture. Core values generally represent things that affect our bottom line. For example: safety, profitability, quality, ethics, etc. What about leadership, diversity, behavior, attitude…fun? We can all appreciate going to work for a company that produces quality products or services, earns profit, provides a safe environment and adheres to a code of conduct. But, does that keep you at work? I don’t think so. Those are baseline expectations…the bare minimum.
To truly engage and retain employees, we have to look at the missing piece of the culture puzzle. We have to look at the culture of leadership: do we empower employees at all levels? Is there unobstructed, unbiased opportunity for growth? Do we listen to our employees and take action? Are employees excited to come into the office? Or is it a dreaded routine? Do we have fun? Do our employees feel valued? These are the human elements. The questions that need to be asked, but are not easy to measure.
August 2014, Business Insider published a list of “25 Best Corporate Cultures” – check it out here: http://www.businessinsider.com/25-best-corporate-cultures-2014-8?op=1
Among the top 25 are No.1, NetApp in San Francisco, CA; No. 22, REI in New York, NY; and No. 16, Nike in Portland, OR. As leaders, we have an opportunity to build a great culture and have a positive impact on people’s lives. If you’re not already listed in the top 25, discover what’s missing…and don’t forget to focus on the human elements.