Why company culture is HR’s problem as well

Companies that actively involve HR in the company culture will gain better insights into employees' mindsets (Shutterstock.com)

A company’s corporate culture needs to be closely tied to its workforce, and as a result, the HR team.

In order to stay ahead of the competition, businesses need to hire and retain the best minds in their industry. And who better to know more than a thing or two about hiring the best in the business than your human resources department?

Any clued up manager should know that company culture is not just the duty of leadership. HR should play a pivotal role in driving the corporate culture.

For many forward-thinking jobseekers, the ‘corporate culture’ is often the ultimate deciding factor when they are considering competing job offers. Potential employees will ask about salary, benefits and leave allowances, yes, but they’ll also be checking out the management style, the office layout, the team diversity and much more.

If they like what they see, they’ll likely sign on the dotted line. If they don’t, or if the culture isn’t clear, they will most likely hesitate and take another look at a competing job offer. Defining, therefore, and carrying through the culture, is crucial. 

So where does HR fit in?

A company’s corporate culture should be closely tied to its company’s workforce, and as a result, the HR team. We spoke to Tebogo Maenetja, Group Executive Head of HR at Telesure Group, who gave us further insights into the role of HR within an organisation.

HR has a critical role in assisting businesses to shape, reinforce and/or change the corporate culture, Tebogo says. “I believe a company’s culture can be a great source of emotional energy and influence and, if leveraged appropriately, can positively impact the bottom line and ensures the company’s long-term sustainability.”

Educating and coaching business leaders in defining an appropriate corporate culture for the organisation, is another important aspect which HR should take part in, says Tebogo. Business leaders usually create corporate cultures based on what they believe will provide them with a competitive advantage in the markets within which they compete.

HR can “articulate what the company considers appropriate with regards to how employees are expected to think, act and behave.” This will improve performance, for both the company and the individual. “Otherwise, there is a real danger that this can be misconstrued to be a ‘nice, touchy-feely’ exercise,” Tebogo suggests. “It is therefore crucial to link culture to tangible business outcomes, and for HR to help business leaders understand the strengths and weaknesses of the corporate cultures they create, and the potential impact these can have on the company’s ability to achieve its objectives.”

How else can HR add value?

  • Establish a culture conversation at all levels of the organisation in order to determine what currently drives and strengthens the culture.
  • Collaborate with senior leadership to determine the desired corporate culture. Without the collaborative effort of every team member, change will not occur.
  • Solicit input from employees in order to gain better insight into what needs change and why.
  • Identify the characteristics of potential candidates who show the behaviours which are desirable in the organisation.
  • Create an internal brand that supports the external brand and ensures that employees know the unique elements in their experience within the organisation that will enhance their work lives.
  • Develop leaders who will promote the company culture.
  • Where should your organisation start?

    We at Careers24 understand the important role of HR and are invested in the growth of the HR industry and in empowering job seekers. As such, we’ve partnered with The Future of HR awards that brought you the 2016 Future of HR Summit & Awards which adressed the transformation of the HR function in South African business. The aim of the event was twofold:

    1. The Future of HR Summit aimed to “address the exciting transformation of the HR function in the business environment, forecast trends for 2016, share innovative and strategic approaches to overcoming challenges, discuss practical methods of employee engagement, talent acquisition, and empowering leadership, and provide thought provoking content, and unique networking opportunities.”

    2. The Future of HR Awards “seeked to recognise South Africa’s most influential participants of people management strategies, leadership and innovation. It identifies business pioneers, highlighting their accolades for the world to see. The Awards brings South Africa’s icons from business and government together.”

    This year the Future of HR Summit and Awards were held in Johannesburg from the 20th to the 21st of July 2016.