I’m always curious about corporate culture so I often ask individuals about the culture of their organization … I’ve been surprised when the answer is, “Oh, we don’t have a corporate culture.” I don’t believe that’s possible, instead what I think they are describing a lack of intention toward developing a corporate culture.
So to test my theory, I asked Chat GPT if it’s possible to have an absence of corporate culture. Here’s the response:
It is not possible for an organization to have absolutely no corporate culture. Every organization, whether intentional or not, develops a culture over time. Corporate culture is the set of shared values, beliefs, behaviors, and norms that shape the way people within an organization interact with each other and with external stakeholders. It influences decision-making, communication, and overall work environment.
Even if a company doesn’t actively define or promote its culture, one will naturally emerge based on the attitudes and behaviors of its employees, leadership, and the industry in which it operates. Therefore, every organization has a corporate culture to some extent.
However, the degree to which corporate culture is intentional, defined, and cultivated can vary widely among organizations. Some companies place a strong emphasis on shaping and promoting a positive, inclusive, and productive culture through policies, training, and leadership initiatives. Others may allow their culture to develop organically, which can sometimes lead to a less desirable or inconsistent culture.
In summary, while it is possible for a company to have a minimal or poorly defined corporate culture, it is not possible for it to have absolutely no corporate culture, as culture naturally emerges within any group of people working together. The key is whether an organization actively manages and shapes its culture or allows it to develop on its own.
I’m glad to hear that I’m in alignment with the leading AI tool, but what should be done with this knowledge? The brilliant poet Maya Angelou has the best advice when faced with this quandary, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”
According to VibeCatch co-founder and CEO, Juha Huttunen, there are five reasons why a strong company culture is the key to employee satisfaction (July 2022). Data points are added for emphasis, along with citations:
- Increased employee engagement: 12% of employees surveyed rated higher engagement results in a 1998 study when working in a positive corporate environment (Denison).
- Elevated productivity: There is a 12% spike in productivity by employees who are happy with their company’s culture (Oswald, Proto and Sgro, 2015).
- Lower staff turnover: A whopping 65% of employees will stay put in their jobs when satisfied with the culture (Glassdoor, 2019).
- Talent retention: Research indicates that when your best performers leave, it costs approximately 400% of their annual salary to replace them (Simply Benefits, 2020).
- Reduced employee stress: 25-40% of employees view their jobs as the most stressful part of their life and/or extremely stressful (American Institute of Stress). It is commonly known that chronic stress creates a host of health problems including headaches, high blood pressure, sleep disruption, fatigue, and weakened immune systems.
Fittingly, Arianna Huffington described corporate culture as “a company’s immune system.” She continued by saying, “Ultimately, your health depends on your immune system.”
There is a strong business case for building self-aware executives committed to developing a strong culture. To do that, it’s critical to have leadership willing to invest in themselves and their people. Because, when we know better, we do better.
If you are ready to lead your company to doing better, reach out to Humanidei. Our strategic DEI consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, and career path planning programs are designed to help create intentional, inclusive cultures.