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Imagine this. Your company has the perfect structure, a masterful workforce, deadly modern technology, and everything necessary. Despite this, you seem to have frozen in your tracks. But you wonder why. That's when it hits you! You've forgotten the most crucial thing, culture.

Culture, a common set of values and practices depicting identity and prosperity, passed on for generations—it impacts how employees feel at work. But more often than not, companies in their race to succeed have seemed to have forgotten this.

But let's first talk about Achilles, the strongest Greek warrior, who was made invulnerable by his mother, who dipped him in the River of Styx by his foot, the only part of him (heel) that escaped its powers and made it his weak spot. In the war against Trojan, Achilles dies because of this weak spot, despite his overall strength. Likewise, culture could be your Achilles heel. If not taken care of, it's sure to bring you misfortune!

Culture is like Potter's magical wand. It only works right when you know the magic spell. Your company may go down in flames if it does not know how culture can play its magic. Zappos, a US-based online retail store, has used this magic wand to establish itself. Following a robust 'clan' culture, one of the four types of culture, as classified by Quinn, prioritizes consensus and commonality of beliefs and values, treating its employees more like a family or tribe. Studies have found that this highly collaborative culture is a reliable indicator of employees' psychological empowerment. Unfortunately, companies tend to find the grass greener on the other side. But what they fail to realize is that it's greener only where you water it. For instance, Google has an adhocracy culture, with the key feature of flexibility and innovation that might not suit an insurance firm that works well in a hierarchy. Thus, Culture is unique in itself, and ergo cannot be copied or pinned down.

😨 A poor workplace cultures lead to a 157% increase in the incidence rate of burnout among employees, O.C Tanner Report, 2020.

As recruiters fairly recognize the concept of 'culture fit', the idea of 'culture add' has become a heated debate. An employee who can follow and make additions to the culture proves more beneficial than the one who follows the book. Furthermore, it is not only essential to hire a 'culture add' but the one with a high CQ – Cultural quotient. On similar scales of IQ and EQ, a high CQ person can work very efficiently, irrespective of the culture and language. Maybe, now it's time for us to improve our CQ!

All in all, culture is quintessential to a perfect corporate world. Quite often ignored of its importance, companies fail to understand why their progress is hampered. Ceteris Paribus, success is quite evident to those with a strong culture. And to work for a company with a strong culture has become the holy grail for many.

- Sinchita S


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