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What’s Organizational Culture and Why Should Small Businesses Care?

All hands in!
All hands in!
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Alex Gallacher

Managing Director, ENGAGE HR

Creating an effective organizational culture is an important part of a company’s success — but what is it exactly?


In today’s business environment, organizational culture is often spoken about as being an important part of the work experience for employees and management, but what is it exactly? 

According to research from the Hofstede Insights, organizational culture is defined as the way in which members of an organization relate to each other, their work, and the outside world. It can either enable or hinder an organization’s strategy.

Alex Gallacher is the Managing Director of ENGAGE HR, a human resources consulting practice,  and is one of only a handful of Canadians certified to use Hofstede Insights tools. “Organizational culture is like a company’s operating system,” he says. “It’s an important part of what makes an organization run effectively.”

Motivating employees

To operate effectively, an organization needs to have employees who are motivated.

“It’s proven that companies who foster better organizational cultures see increased profitability,” says Gallacher. “This can include increased efficiency, better returns to shareholders, or exceeded fundraising goals — however a company may define its organizational purpose.”

The Hofstede model that Gallacher and his team use to guide organizations looking to affect a productive company culture involves elements that are both conscious (symbols, behaviours, attitudes, and rituals) and unconscious (values).

“Businesses can help shape organizational culture by taking these conscious actions to guide it by ensuring employees understand the company’s mission and objectives, and then continuing to support it throughout,” says Gallacher. “The underlying unconscious values of a company may be less tangible but are the most important component of organizational culture.” He adds, “Organizations can take planned, conscious actions to show employees what the company stands for, weaving it into the fabric of what the company represents.”

ENGAGE HR can assist businesses in achieving their optimal organizational culture and support their broader human resources needs at the same time.

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