Silicon Valley is synonymous with speed. It’s become a common narrative: the biggest innovations of the day are suddenly deemed obsolete, seemingly overnight, by the introduction of a fast-moving disruptor. The pace has never been faster; the pressure to disrupt never stronger.
For every Google, Facebook and Salesforce, there are countless companies long forgotten. While the focus within the tech world tends to be on the product or innovation itself, leaders may be overlooking a significant contributing factor to its success: corporate culture.
Culture is critical to fostering the growth traits a company is seeking, whether it’s innovation, leadership, or ongoing product disruption. Simply put, delivering the right culture can drive high performance, influence business success and – in the case of the tech world – ensure a company’s sustained relevance in the marketplace.
According to Towers Watson , companies with engaged employees showed a 19 percent increase in operating income over a 12-month period. And more importantly for companies in the ever-evolving Silicon Valley, Gallup  found that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147 percent in earnings per share.
But in order for culture to meaningfully support the business, leaders, employees and stakeholders must be aligned. So where should a company start, and what actions should leaders take, in order to support where their company is now – and accelerate towards where they want to be?
The objective is to shape a culture by design – not by default – because culture exists whether you want it to or not.
The Basics Steps to Defining a Winning Culture:
- Evaluate current state cultures to better understand perspectives across the company
- Consider what aspects of the culture should be retained versus what needs to shift
- Provide an analysis of insights against best practices in the organizational culture
- Articulate the ideal organisational culture, priorities and essential enhancements
- Develop a platform for culture change that aligns with vision, values and business strategy and design experiences to engage employees at all levels in creating the desired culture while preparing leaders to champion the new culture
- Engage employees by developing necessary communications and training materials and establishing ongoing feedback loops
- Ensure that accountability measures are in place to reinforce desired behaviors and expectations
- Monitor and measure engagement effectiveness and stakeholder support while continuing to identify issues and manage perceptions
At the end of the day, culture should be viewed as a competitive advantage and as an accelerator of change, not an impediment to change. As such, tech companies in particular should consider basic culture change principles when developing their progressive business strategies.
Developing a culture that best positions employees to anticipate and manage all types of change can only be accomplished by driving the right behaviors and expectations at the individual level. According to the 2015 FTI Consulting Global Employee Confidence Study, almost half (44 percent) of employees are aware of their company’s business strategy but don’t understand it; for those that understand it, less than a quarter (24 percent) actively support it.
In other words, culture change must begin at the individual level because a company will not change unless its people do.
We have deep experience in guiding our clients in the technology industry through this transformation process.
Our integrated approach leverages a customized culture assessment and employee engagement platform to ensure that a company’s culture ultimately strengthens its business strategy.
FTI Consulting capabilities include:
- Culture Assessment: Evaluate, define and execute processes and functions to optimize efficiency, performance, agility and talent
- Employee Engagement: Design and implement strategies to build cultures that drive high performance and results and increase staff retention, development and recognition
- Culture Change: Ensure alignment of the company’s culture and processes with business, vision, strategy and customer focus
With a thoughtful and strategic approach to defining culture, tech companies will be better positioned in the marketplace to engage employees who work to improve both its culture and the bottom line.
 Wilton Towers Watson: 2009/2010 Communication ROI Study Report: Capitalizing on Effective Communication https://www.towerswatson.com/en-US/Insights/IC-Types/Survey-Research-Results/2009/12/20092010-Communication-ROI-Study-Report-Capitalizing-on-Effective-Communication
 Gallup: The Engaged Workplace http://www.gallup.com/services/190118/engaged-workplace.aspx