Company culture – in one word?

Culture and people
Company culture
Considering that culture spans a vast world of sub-concepts and components, what is it then that shapes company culture and gives it its true form? To celebrate the launch of Entersekt’s people and culture blog series, Entersekt’s VP Transformation and Growth, Arno Kemp, reflects.

A plethora of words could be used to describe a company's culture. Words such as “motivating,” for example, suggest that culture is one of inspiration, where people feel driven to work hard and achieve greatness. Words such as “challenging,” on the other hand, imply that people are encouraged to explore their capabilities and stretch themselves to achieve star-studded results.

Whatever word or words come to mind when we think about company culture, it is actually and ultimately about a feeling that’s evoked – very much a living reality.

This is where we want to create, build, and ensure that we somehow share some of the same feelings both as teams, and as individuals. And the only way to get there is to evangelize the culture we wish to live more, feel more, or build on. If people do not know what kind of culture they are striving to build, they cannot talk about it, let alone live it.

Which brings us to behavior (yes, we ran out of words): the how, the feeling. But who should be doing the evangelization?

Company culture is everyone’s responsibility

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, company culture is everyone’s responsibility. It is no longer senior management or the CEO’s job to hand down culture from above, but rather to support the resources required, and to set the company’s culture as a priority.

The post-COVID era has brought about several changes that have put everyone in the same boat rowing in the same direction. So, everyone in the company must aim for the same target, on purpose, and with the same sense of deliberate pursuit to achieve the culture they have set out to build.     

Culture persists only because people act in ways that uphold certain principles and codes, and it is decidedly here where the magic lies – and not, in fact, in a single word.

Behavior is at the heart of a company’s culture, and that is exactly what needs to be demonstrated – what others feel: who switches us on and who switches us off, and why? If we want to (re)build company culture, behavior is pivotal.

Tips for re-building company culture

How do we get this right, company-wide? The London Business School offers insights and practical ways to help us along our way, including:  

  • Bring back the fun. People need laughter and to build connections
  • Break down siloes. If you are a leader, join another team’s call to see how they are spending their day.
  • Experiment with different ways of doing things, and different technologies.   

A company’s culture could be described in a word or two. But only through the deliberate actions and behavior of its people can culture be felt… and kept alive.   

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