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Don’t Box In Workplace Culture

Don’t Box In Workplace Culture

Make it a strategy

Oftentimes, leaders fail to respond to the periphery until it is in plain sight. For the past several decades, it would be hard to consider “culture” being a sidelined conversation. YET, the attention to changing the toxicity of the work culture has only come into its own in the last several years.

I have spent a career guiding leaders to retain top talent by creating cohesive workspaces where people have a sense of belonging, are valued, and share in mutual commitments. Unfortunately, some organizations have found themselves “boxed in.” They want to retain top talent, but have relied too heavily on the “buy it and they will come” philosophy.

“Culture is always built on how you treat people, not the treats you give them.”

Having a little fun playing off the quote associated with Peter Drucker, my advice to leaders in 2023 and beyond is to move culture out of the box’s corner and into the forefront of strategy.

“Make culture a strategy and it will eat something else for lunch.”

In a Bloomberg 2022 article, researchers reviewed 1.4 million Glassdoor reviews in over 38 industries. Their conclusion, culture is 12.4 times more likely to cause a person to leave than compensation. Money is not the biggest factor, although without having a fair and properly aligned compensation strategy in place, salary will have more prominence in a person’s decision to leave a company.

Glassdoor surveyed more than 5,000 adults in the US, UK, France and Germany. A key result written in the final report: 56% of workers ranked culture more important than salary.

Here are four ways leaders can ensure that culture is a strategy and not just a string of tactics aimed to make employees happy or satisfied.

  1.  Money needs to be allocated in the budget for the development and sustainability of culture.
  2. Advocate voice of the employee must be represented at the senior leadership table.
  3. Key objective or goal for culture must be at a level of importance to rival goals around financial, growth, business processes, consumer service, etc.
  4. Education and development is focused on culture & leadership, strategy, and change.
“Make culture a strategy and it will eat something else for lunch.”

This powerful phrase underscores the vital role of organizational culture amidst rapid change and intense competition. To not just survive but thrive, leaders must adopt an out-of-the-box mindset to make culture as important as growth. In doing so, they should initiate a comprehensive list of tactics to infuse their organizational culture with a strategic framework centered around cohesion: belonging, value, and mutual commitment. By doing so, leaders can pinpoint areas for cultural refinement and fortify the bedrock of their organization.

What the data tells us is when it comes to retaining talent, don’t put yourself in a corner or a box thinking people only leave for money.

Building a heathy and cohesive culture is not about the money. It is about the people.


Dr. Troy Hall is a speaker is the author of the Best-Selling Titles, Cohesion Culture: Proven Principles to RetainYour Top Talent, and Fanny Rules: A Mother’s Leadership Lessons That Never Grow Old. Talent retention expert who travels the globe teaching and motivating C-Suite Executives and Senior HR Leaders on how to retain their top talent. With his Ph.D. in Global Leadership, he has been honored to present at conferences across the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He is also the Chief Strategy Officer for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, a multi-billion dollar financial institution that consistently wins awards as one of the "Best Places to Work."

You may also contact Dr. Troy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.


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