Culture. It’s Part of Me

I recently read an article about a company that had stretched out its hand to help an employee through a rough patch. It went far beyond the normal expectations of an employee-employer relationship. The associate summed it up like this, “I don’t run the company. I’m a part of it. And, it’s a part of me.”

You can bet that’s an engaged employee. The culture of that organization permeates beyond the typical 40-hour workweek. What if all employees operated with the belief that “your work is as much a part of you as you are a part of the work?” What kind of world would that be? Would that make us rethink where we work?

The comment started me thinking about one of my favorite topics – corporate culture. How does a business culture become so fundamental that it’s part of every employee? It certainly isn’t happening by accident. And, it’s not happening in a lot of businesses. But, I think it can.

A strategic, holistic audit of culture can help drive the strategy. Asking tough questions about alignment with values and purpose will provide a certain level of insight into the culture but ultimately it’s the off-hand comments from employees that validate the culture. As leaders consider the health of their businesses, it’s important to consider the culture and whether it’s an asset or a liability.

Simple questions can identify strengths and weaknesses, or gaps and highlights, for an organization.

  • What’s the desired culture?
  • Where do we align with values?
  • What are we doing to reinforce our purpose to our employees?
  • How are we rewarding value-aligned behavior?
  • What can we do to help our employees personally and professionally?
  • How do we differ from other employers?

It takes deep thinking, creative liberties and a bit of vision to build a strong, strategic culture. Without the due diligence, culture is brittle and fluid. It needs to be nurtured and coached. It doesn’t become a part of employees without effort.

I feel the same about my company, G&S. It’s a part of me. I’m proud to be a part of it and it’s definitely a part of me. I take it as a personal challenge to help others feel the same strong connection to their work.

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Ann Camden is Managing Director, Client Service, G&S Business Communications. As a business strategist, Ann believes that strategic planning is the foundation of all communications. Ann plays an integral role in developing strategies to build and enhance corporate reputations and strong brand identities for clients in agribusiness, advanced manufacturing, technology and professional services. She also manages external and internal communication efforts on a broad array of organizational needs ranging from change management and employee outreach to marketing programs. She has led GSU, the G&S internal management training program, and is a member of the Midtown Raleigh Alliance and the International Association of Business Communicators. Ann is a long-term member of the Advisory Board of Communications at Elon University, and an active board member for EarthShare NC. Ann was honored as a Triangle Woman Extraordinaire by Business Leader in 2011 and received the Horizon Award from National Agri-Marketing Association in 2012. Ann has a degree from Purdue University. Ann applies her life philosophy of “go above and beyond” to both her client service and her training for road races.

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