Corporate Culture: It Either Underpins (or Undermines) Your Corporate Brand

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You create and reinforce your culture every day with the employee behaviors, actions and attitudes you recognize and reward.

Last week I wrote about IABC research that found “creating a new culture or work environment (33 per cent) was the most important goal identified by survey respondents.”

Ian Buckingham gave a thoughtful and very well phrased comment to that post and research finding. Since I can’t say it any better than Ian, I’m giving him the floor. With Ian’s permission, here’s his comment in its entirety (I’ve added a few links for details):

Ping! Is that the sound of the proverbial penny dropping in boardrooms everywhere?”Culture issues were behind the banking crash (focus on short-termism at the cost of relationship development and a flawed notion that “performance culture” = shareholder value uber alles).

Culture issues were behind the telephone scandals which nearly brought major networks to their knees.

Culture issues are behind the phone hacking scandal currently sullying the mighty Murdoch empire.

Culture either underpins or undermines brands.

Yet, while advertising spend has increased during the slump, the weight of complaints about behaviour-based issues grows!”

“Culture either underpins or undermines brands.” That is the essence of why company culture is critical to company success and the bottom line as well as why it is critical to recruiting and retention of desirable employees.

Your culture is the sum total of the behaviors, actions and attitudes you as an organization condone and encourage (formally from management and informally through what is praised and what is ignored by all employees). In tough situations (or merely questionable ones), employees will react and respond based on how they have become accustomed by what you recognize and reward in the organization.

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Strong cultures and organizations base recognition and reward on deeply held values and beliefs (and they give appropriate recognition and reward frequently and in a timely way to reinforce these values).

What is recognized and rewarded – explicitly or implicitly – in your organization? What kind of culture is being reinforced?

This originally appeared on Derek Irvine’s Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at


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