6 Key Takeaways from the 13th annual Regional Cultural Summit

Nov 1 2018

The 13th annual Regional Cultural Summit took place in Vancouver at the beautifully located Pan Pacific Hotel on October 30th. A group of like-minded, culture-focused executives from all types of companies came together to hear more about creating and maintaining the ideal workspace culture. Thanks to Waterstone Human Capital for bringing the tribe together.

Corporate culture has been a buzzword for many years and continues to be an important concept in all sizes of organizations around the world. Whether the company is a small tech firm, a large corporation with worldwide offices or a group of franchisees under an umbrella brand, they all want to be recognized for their culture.

Here are my 6 main takeaways from the panel discussion with our very own Jeff Duncan, CEO of Meetingmax, Jerry Gratton VP People and culture at O2E Brands, and Melanie Mahlman, CEO The Victoria Hospitals Foundation, chaired by Lyn Currie MD, Waterstone Human Capital.

Culture is a Strategic Weapon
Peter Drucker famously stated ‘Strategy eats culture for Breakfast’. However, we have moved into an age where organizations have realized that Culture is Strategy and a well-articulated, measurable workplace culture is the asset that drives performance

Brand is Culture
Defining values and core purpose is the starting point. An organization exists because groups of people come together to achieve a common goal. Defining the cornerstones of the organization’s culture is as simple as looking inwards to discover the values that already exist. “Look at the foundation of the company and what’s important to you and build on that,” says Jeff Duncan. When there is a large company with many branches countrywide there need to be certain values that cannot be negotiated, beyond that it is up to the leaders in the unique areas to implement and nurture those values to create the ideal culture without losing geographical influences.

Unconventional Recruitment Tactics are Vital
When hiring, an organization should want to find the people that ‘find their tribe’. Ticking the boxes in the interview process is one thing but determining if the candidate is the correct cultural fit is equally and maybe even more important. A company’s culture should be strong enough that it repels those that don’t belong and attracts those that do. Hire for the fit by determining whether the candidate will be a proud ambassador and truly represent the tribe.

Leadership Drives Culture
The leaders must be passionate too as it’s up to them to align the team! All stakeholders need to understand the defined core purpose – all roles will then follow suit. Leaders need to eat it, breath it, feel it and model it. An ideal company culture enables strong performance and is actively encouraged by leaders who actually care and consistently communicate, through actions, the importance of the defined core values and purpose.

Technology Facilitates Culture
Glassdoor does matter and is one of the highest ranking sites that references and ranks companies, through anonymous employee input, and is used by job seekers worldwide. Various technology platforms give a company the opportunity to regularly communicate their values and purposes. Companies worldwide are adopting various social platforms as a transparent dashboard to support their internal culture. It is also the perfect place to stage corporate social responsibility.

It’s not your Purpose to Make People Happy
An organization’s leaders can lay the foundations for a happy workplace with the all the necessary perks but essentially they are not responsible for an individual’s personal happiness.

It’s one thing to talk about culture and have it clearly defined in your head and on paper but it’s entirely another thing to actually measure it and make sure that it is implemented throughout the whole organization. I guess it comes back to the good old saying, “actions speak louder than words”. There must be a delicate balance between having fun and driving organizational growth. Processes that can measure this balance are essential for healthy organizational performance. Personal KPI’s which translate into departmental KPI’s and collectively then impact the company’s KPI’s are the measurable components that seem often missed in many organizations.

I’m fortunate enough to be part of a company that embraces its core purpose daily and whose core values align smartly with my personal ones. For more tips on how to establish an award-winning culture read Meetingmax’s-Operation Critical: Building your Company Culture

Katherine Comberbach
Marketing Manager