Why culture matters may seem like an obvious question, but there are a few things we need to understand. Studies and statistics say that culture matters because we will spend about a third of our lives working.
Think about it. A third of your day, a third of your year, and a third of your life will be spent working in some capacity. If you’re spending a third of your life working, I think you’d prefer to spend that time in a cultural environment where you can personally thrive.
WORK IS MORE THAN PUNCHING A TIME CLOCK
I had a misconception about work. I once saw work as a consequence of the fall–a result of sin. But if you go back to the beginning of Genesis, God created work before the fall, before Adam and Eve sinned. He allowed us to fill the earth and subdue it. It was our task. We still have that responsibility today.
In my book, Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-given Influence, I wrote a chapter on how to find your mission in life. In the chapter, I explained that work is more than punching a time clock to pay the bills.
We’ve all experienced mediocre jobs where the culture was just okay, but it paid the bills. We don’t need to spend a third of our lives in an unfulfilling place. Work is more than a place we go to get a paycheck.
WORK IS A PARTNERSHIP WITH GOD
Work is a partnership with God to fulfill His purposes. That directive still exists today. We’re supposed to use the gifts, talents, experiences, and opportunities that have shaped who we are, and use them for the glory of God and the benefit of others. Our place of employment is part of that equation. Our jobs are more than a means to an end; it’s an opportunity to use those God-given gifts and make a difference in the world.
CULTURE PERSPECTIVE IMPACTS EVERYTHING
When we start to understand this framework, we see why culture matters.
As leaders, we can help create a culture where people can grow. This excites me. As leaders, we recognize we are part of a beautiful process. We get to be a part of creating places where people can thrive and use their God-given gifts.
There’s something divinely beautiful that happens when leaders optimize the gifts of an individual through organizational culture. When we recognize both the gifts of the people on our team and what the organization needs to accomplish, amazing things happen.
When leaders understand that our role and responsibility is to create culture, it impacts everything we do. It affects the entire team, and it significantly impacts the culture of our organization. Our perspective on culture matters significantly.
CULTURE MATCHING RECRUITMENT
For those of you who are in a leadership seat, serving as the executive of an organization, or maybe you’re the leader of a team, you have some added responsibilities. If you are involved in hiring, recruiting, or managing staff, there’s a practical reason why culture must be important to you.
When you recruit, you want a culture where people are clamoring to be a part of your team. When you have a great culture, it’s going to help you enormously because you’re going to have your pick of the best people. That’s a gift.
I once took a job at an organization that had a poor reputation for their culture. Sadly, their reputation proved to be true. I didn’t stay there very long because it wasn’t an energizing culture. It wasn’t a culture where I felt like I could thrive. When you have a healthy work culture, you will attract better staff and retain them.
CULTURE IMPACTS THE BOTTOM LINE
Retention is huge for an organization, and you will retain great staff when you have a great culture. In a Harvard Business Review article, there was a study that explained how “disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects.”
The Center for American Progress estimates that replacing a single employee, costs approximately 20% of that employee’s salary. If you deal with budgets and staffing, you understand the cost of staff turnover. It will cost your organization significantly in lost time, in cultural dynamics, and actual dollars.
LOYALTY AND TEAM CULTURE
When you have a great culture, you have a loyal team. The staff wants to stay because they have a sense of wellbeing. It’s a place where they want to belong and work. Loyalty is hard to quantify. But imagine what you’ll gain, avoiding unnecessary expenses, and the benefit of retaining people with a knowledge base that comes from being around for a long time.
Unfortunately, this loyalty factor is changing radically. People aren’t staying in their jobs like they did years ago. We need to create cultures where people don’t want to leave because they have opportunities within the organization–an organization that is energizing and engaging, so people thrive.
Culture matters significantly to you as the leader, because you are concerned about things like retention, recruiting, engagement, and loyalty. Culture also matters to team members. They want to be a part of a culture that’s strong and healthy. Both employer and employee benefit when a culture is energetic, engaging, and extraordinary—everybody wins.
About the Author
Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.
Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.