Leadership, Total Rewards

Becoming a Destination Employer: 4 Steps to Achieving the Right Organizational Culture

/ November 27, 2016 November 27, 2016


No matter the industry, everyone is competing for the best talent. Organizational culture is a leading competitive advantage and yet only 12% of CEOs believe that they are driving the right culture (Deloitte, 2015). In many ways, companies struggle to define what their culture is, let alone how to move the needle. Why not take the time to learn how to do it better?

  1. Do what you have to until you can do what you want to. Invariably, employers are wary of taking an honest look at themselves. No matter how broken the culture, many are wary of taking a deeper dive into the gaps between values and behaviors, policies and process. Those distinctions are at the heart of an organization’s success or failure. They drive the culture of an environment and, ultimately, the performance. An effective assessment of the good, the bad, and the ugly is the necessary starting point for strategic cultural change.
  2. “The only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and manage culture.” – Edgar Schein. Cultural change is bigger than the HR Department. If leaders aren’t aligned with change, large or small, it will not be sustainable. Studies show that in a turbulent work environment, leader integrity offers stability, drives a willingness to adapt to change and improves overall effectiveness of an organization. (Leroy, Palanski, & Simons, 2012).  Helping leaders to understand their role and impact within a culture will allow it to shift more easily.  Enabling these leaders as change agents will reinforce the behavior adoptions to come.
  3. What does this mean to me? Communication isn’t just about creating a coherent message, it’s about addressing the concerns of those experiencing change. Culture change is an ongoing, iterative process. Those involved will always question where they fit into the equation and their opinions should be heard. The goal of effective communication is to create advocates across an organization, not just stakeholders who are passively experiencing these changes.
  4. Learning is not an afterthought. Learning is an ongoing assessment of transformation. If the goal is to come to the right organizational culture, understand that it’s an evolution, not a destination. Be prepared to make mistakes and be willing to learn from them. Employees aspire to grow their individual skills and appreciate environments that foster that development.

Becoming a destination employer requires a willingness to evaluate how your organization looks and feels. Developing stronger leaders, reinforcing behaviors, and examining processes are the building blocks of defining an organization’s culture. Now is the time of year to start thinking strategically about the goals that you’d like to achieve within your organization and how a defining culture can make an impact.


Leroy, H., Palanski, M. E., Simons, T. (2012). Authentic Leadership and Behavioral Integrity as Drivers of Follower Commitment and Performance. Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 107, No. 3. 255-264.