Written by Denise Lee Yohn
Here’s how organizational culture might have been handled in the past: The CEO commissions the Human Resources department to produce an effective company culture. HR designs a campaign to tout a mission statement and core values that the CEO and senior management developed. HR also implements some employee perks like free snacks in the break room or monthly birthday celebrations. Maybe they also field an annual employee engagement survey and report results back to the CEO. And then with their culture-building to-do lists completed, the CEO and HR move on to other priorities.
This approach no longer works for several reasons. For one, Covid-19 has upended how leaders interact with employees and how coworkers connect with each other. The need to adapt quickly and remain flexible during the pandemic has also revealed the ineffectiveness of a top-down leadership approach. Next, company culture has grown in importance, thanks to recent high-profile culture crises such as those at Uber and Wells Fargo, the intensified push for DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), and the continuing battle for talent. Culture has become a strategic priority with impact on the bottom line. It can’t just be delegated and compartmentalized anymore.
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