top of page

Complete Guide to Organizational Culture

Organizational culture has become a real competitive asset for many companies and a key element in the well-being of their employees. However, today, many organizations wonder how to improve their corporate culture and create a more productive environment for their staff.

How do we define organizational culture?

Organizational culture can be defined as a set of shared values, rituals, traditions, dress codes, ways of expression, work methods, know-how, and key events related to its history that make the organization unique.

In essence, it is a vision instilled, often by its leaders, and shared by all employees. Defining a company's culture is not an easy task because it is multifaceted and malleable. It is primarily experienced on a daily basis. However, we could say that each leader sets the tone, and the employees of the company adhere to it and contribute to the organizational culture in their own way.

In another, more succinct way, we can describe culture as what we are when no one is looking.

The values promoted and exemplified by the leaders can be varied, including:

  • Ethical sense

  • Friendliness

  • Environmental responsibility

  • Commitment

  • Empathy, listening

  • Integrity

  • Respect

  • Transparency

  • Tenacity

  • Rigor

These values allow internal talents to identify with the company they belong to. They also enable new and potential recruits to aspire to be a part of it.

How is organizational culture formed ?

Organizational culture forms in various ways. First, the organization's history must be taken into account:

  • The company's founder

  • People who have influenced its development

  • Its values and principles

  • Its greatest successes

  • Its failures

  • Its geographical location (city, region, country)

Organizational culture reflects the trades, cultures, and regions where the company is located. It must also consider its history – historical successes or failures – and the value system established by the founder and different organizational leaders. The strategies pursued by the organization during its development also play a significant role.

Culture is unique to each company

Two companies may offer the same product or service, follow the same growth strategy, implement the same management techniques and structures, but still have distinct organizational cultures.

Organizational culture is a mark of cohesion

Corporate culture helps create cohesion. It unites staff around the brand image, values, reputation, services, and products of their company. It is often a source of motivation for teams and helps limit internal conflicts.

As a powerful cohesive force, a company's culture is the expression of the deep desires of human resources at all hierarchical levels, who have chosen to be part of the organization and grow as professionals.

Giving space for innovation in your corporate culture is also crucial to reinforcing this sense of cohesion. Ideas can come from each of your employees, who will bring trends and innovations to your company's daily life.

A healthy and pleasant workspace, well-designed and organized offices, also contribute significantly to the well-being of your teams at work. However, corporate culture is not only a source of cohesion; it also plays a crucial role in the functioning of an organization by coordinating activities within the organization. By implicitly specifying certain common behaviors and references, it helps to streamline relationships between employees.

Fostering culture within a company through professional coaching, seminars, employee portraits, internal newsletters, gatherings, and participation in events is an excellent way to create a cohesive culture.

Corporate culture has the potential to become a performance and motivation factor by bringing together personnel. We will also see that this cohesion through culture is highly appealing to new employees and candidates aspiring to find their place in the company.

The importance of recruitment

Organizational culture plays a decisive role in recruiting new talents. Indeed, recruitment teams should ideally reflect the company's culture when advertising job openings. This will allow future employees to identify with and aspire to be part of this culture.

Communicating in advance about the company's objectives and ethics will create more opportunities to recruit the best people for your organization.

In summary, organizational culture optimizes both individual and corporate performance, attracts relevant new talents – those who "fit" the company – and makes a difference for the final consumer.

Forming and improving culture in an expanding company

The culture of a growing, restructuring, or recruiting company can sometimes become destabilized. By presenting a common reference to employees, organizational culture serves as a tool to calm internal tensions that may arise during periods of rapid growth.

Helping companies (re)discover and better articulate their culture will have considerable long-term effects, though not yet noticeable.

When talking about organizational culture, we must also talk about the company's project. This article specifies the overall objectives, values, and philosophy of the company while affirming its identity. The project is intended for the staff and aims to motivate them, ensure cohesion, and, ultimately, develop the company.

Its development is highly influenced by the management, but it must also be based on effective consultation with all employees so that the project remains credible. The project is imbued with organizational culture, but it can also be a tool for evolving it, such as accompanying a change in strategy, for example.

For several years, Métivier Groupe Conseil has been showcasing Quebec companies' cultures that stand out in the prestigious national program Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures organized by Waterstone Human Capital. The honored companies have understood this major challenge and are now using organizational culture as a competitive advantage, a lever for performance, and an accelerator of growth.


bottom of page