Study reveals that only around 30% of HR leaders believe that their organization has the culture it needs.

According to Gartner’s, ‘Culture in Action – The role of leaders in making the culture perform,’ human resources officers typically lead the culture initiatives with significant investments that are as much as $2000 yearly on each employee every year.

In view of the massive investments going to create the most conducive culture in a company, it has become crucial for CEOs and CHROs to collaborate more effectually to establish a result driven culture.

Experts believe that a good enterprise model places the  responsibility and accountability of the organization’s culture on leaders, regulators, investors, and even prospective and current employees. While CEOs expect the company culture to actually drive business results and strategies, the RoI does not follow. To embed culture in a way that drives performance, HR leaders and CEOs need to focus their conversations on specific imperatives.

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These include:

Considering culture as a set of stress points

Cultural tensions cannot be avoided in a work environment and they are often integral to strategic execution. Organizations must identify points of tension in the culture and help employees translate that into the context of their specific role. A research by Gartner shows that 77% of employees encounter culture tensions that they are unsure on how to address. As employees prioritize competing mandates, they are not sure if there is room for failure if they work on  innovation.

Experts think that employees need help to navigate cultural tensions. CHROs should consult with employees and understand the issues in  the organization’s culture. CEOs should also urge and enable business leaders to identify strategically necessary tensions. With that in hand, organizations can articulate the tensions to create framework that can help employees function better in their day-to-day work. This approach improved the workforce-culture alignment by 16%, says Gartner.

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Providing space for transparency

Experts believe that it is important to remove the stigma that is associated with reporting the negative aspects of culture. This is critical to drive future business performance. It has to be the CEOs who must create that space where employees are comfortable providing honest feedback.

Few executives truly understand the effect culture has on their organization. To receive an honest view of culture, leaders need to have transparent, actionable qualitative information that can monitor employee experience. Gartner found that organizations taking the transparent feedback that approach saw an 11% more confidence in cultural understanding.

Culture leadership as business leadership

Leaders think that the answer to driving culture is role modelling. Gartner research shows that four out of five organizations rely on senior leaders’ role modelling. Effective communication, consistent with culture and the ability to successfully manage business processes in an efficient manner, are the expectations  of role model behaviours.

Experts believe that a good place to start is to create cross-functional teams that boost the impact of culture on performance .

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Prioritize culture is more than a mind-set shift

Analysts argue that since leaders are under a higher workload for them, aligning business processes with company culture is neither quick nor easy. Also, culture is often perceived as an ‘extra’ effort that is not important to achieving a business strategy. Getting leaders to prioritize culture takes more than a mind-set shift. CEOs must ensure that leaders’ are responsible to drive culture initiatives and treat it the same way they treat other business activities. This ensures that culture doesn’t become a side activity.

As the two most closely linked executives CEOs and heads of HR ensure their organization’s culture contributes to reputation, financial, and talent outcomes that will drive their competitive advantage.

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