We spend one third of our lives at work. According to the research, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) tracks the average annual hours actually worked per worker, and found that Canadians worked an average 31.6 hours per week in 2020, while those in the United States worked an average closer to 34 hours per week in 2020.
In 2021, Statistics Canada found the average Canadian full-time worker spent 39.9 hours per week working.
Many of us spend more time with those we work with than we do our families. For us to be content and fulfilled people, that time must be valuable and the company’s culture plays a big role in making it worth spending a third of our lives working there.
Employees want to be engaged in their work. They yearn for work that is enjoyable, meaningful and engaging. When they are engaged they are safer on the job, more productive and more willing and able to delight customers.
It is for these basic reasons that organizational culture matters. It is the right thing for an organization to do – to think about the work environment, working relationships and “how we do things here.”
Focusing on building and sustaining an organizational culture is one way of showing that the organization’s people are its most valuable asset.
There are of course many other bottom line business reasons to focus on and build organizational culture. Here are seven of those reasons:
1. A strong culture is a talent-attractor
Your organizational culture is part of the package that prospective employees look at when assessing your organization. Gone are the days of selecting the person you want from a large eager pool. The talent market is tighter and those looking for a new organization are more selective than ever. The best people want more than a salary and good benefits. They want an environment they can enjoy and succeed in.
2. A strong culture is talent-retainer
How likely are people to stay if they have other options and don’t love where they are? Your organizational culture is a key component of a person’s desire to stay.
3. A strong culture engages people
People want to be engaged in their work. According to a Gallup survey at least 22 million American workers are extremely negative or “actively disengaged” – this loss of productivity is estimated to be worth between $250-$300 Billion annually. Your culture can engage people. Engagement creates greater productivity, which can impact profitability. Need I say more?
4. A strong culture creates energy and momentum
Build a culture that is vibrant and allows people to be valued and express themselves and you will create a very real energy. That positive energy will permeate the organization and create a new momentum for success. Energy is contagious and will build on itself, reinforcing the culture and the attractiveness of the organization.
5. A strong culture changes the view of “work”
Most people have a negative connotation of the word work. Work equals drudgery, 9-5, “the salt mine.” When you create a culture that is attractive, people’s view of “going to work” will change. Would you rather see work as drudgery or a joy? Which do you think your employees would prefer? Which will lead to the best results?
6. A strong culture creates greater synergy
A strong culture brings people together. When people have the opportunity to (and are expected to) communicate and get to know each other better, they will find new connections. These connections will lead to new ideas and greater productivity – in other words, you will be creating synergy. Literally, 1 + 1 + right culture = more than 10. How is that for leverage?
7. A strong culture makes everyone more successful
Any one of the other six reasons should be reason enough to focus on organizational culture. But the bottom line is that an investment of time, talent and focus on organizational culture will give you all of the above benefits. Not only is creating a better culture a good thing to do for the human capital in the business, it makes good business sense too.
Hopefully this article has helped you see that time spent enhancing your organizational culture will be time wisely invested. Regardless of your current culture, it is never too late to enhance it and to begin creating the benefits described above.