According to recent research by Glassdoor, 57% of UK employees regard company culture as a bigger contributor towards job satisfaction than their salary.

What does that mean?

The notion of company culture is somewhat nebulous. A search on ‘what does it mean to favour company culture over pay,’ shows that culture is often described by what it isn’t – top of the list is ‘toxic.’ This matches my sense that talk about creating a strong culture is often avoiding toxic or unethical behaviours. Instead, culture can go hand in hand with good management, or employee engagement. However, I also think that it requires something more tangible.

I find this adaptation of Geert Hofstede’s 6 cultural dimensions of the workplace helpful. These are noted here very briefly

  1. Means-oriented (how work gets done) vs Goal-oriented (what gets done, i.e. focus on the end-result)
  2. Internally driven (people see themselves as experts who know what is best for the client) vs Externally driven (customer-oriented and do whatever the customer wants)
  3. Easy-going (informal, devolved decisions, unpredictable, innovative) vs Strict work discipline (work with detailed instructions, decisions made at the top)
  4. Local (people identify with their boss and teammates) vs Professional (identify with profession or the content of the work)
  5. Open (inclusive and welcome newcomers) vs Closed (newcomers must prove themselves)
  6. Employee-centred (leaders take responsibility for the happiness, well-being and satisfaction of their people) vs Work-centred (focus on high task performance at the expense of employees.

Having an explicit handle on these dimensions can be helpful not only in recruitment and leadership development but in the smooth handling of company mergers.

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Janice Caplan

© Janice Caplan 2019