Why growth companies should dismiss the Fun at Work company culture [podcast #91]

Blog header #91 Why growth companies should ditch the Fun at Work Culture - Building a modern, magnetic employer brand podcast with Susanna Rantanen

Your company culture was probably put to a test when the Covid19 pandemic struck so many workplaces in the first half of 2020.

If it was all fun and games (and good espresso) at your workplace before, but what is left after many or most of these perks and benefits were tossed aside as we went into working remotely?

In this episode of the Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast, I’m talking about what is the Fun at Work culture and why it isn’t so ideal for fast scaling and growing companies.

What is the purpose of a company culture?

A company culture should be setting clear expectations for how people in the organization behave, make work related decisions and function together in teams, departments, divisions and as a whole.

I always liked to call company culture an enterprise resource planning system (ERP) for the needed organizational behavior.

What this means is that in my view, your company culture clarifies what type of work related behavior is ideal in meeting your company business goals and objectives.

I’m seeing company culture as a strategic system bridging together every single role and the business objectives. This form of company culture I named Strategic Company Culture because it pinpoints what type of an organizational behavior is the most ideal in driving the expected business results.

Fast growing and scaling companies benefit significantly better when they treat the company culture as a strategic sense-making tool instead of a box of sugar.

Listen to episode 91 in the Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast with Susanna Rantanen

In this episode:

  • What is Fun at Work culture?
  • Why it isn’t ideal for fast growth organizations?
  • Why Strategic Company Culture is more ideal for growth organizations?

Download the free infographic: The differences between company culture and employee engagement >>

What is the difference between company culture, organizational culture and leadership culture?

Ideally, there is no difference.

In practice, there are plenty.

But this is how I like to nitpick company culture:

  • Leadership culture is the way the company is being led by its managers and directors. The larger the organization, the more random the leadership culture may be.
  • Unless properly managed, leadership cultures tend to be like a quilt patched from the preferences and leadership abilities of the managers and leaders.
  • When separated from the organizational culture, I describe company culture as what the culture needs to be and ought to be from the strategic point of view. Most often, there is no connection between the strategic point of view and the actual company culture.
  • Which takes us to the organizational culture, the ways we work here. These are the spoken and unspoken rules and cues for behaving in this organization to get the job done.

Why strategic culture matters so much?

Most of all, developing a strategic company culture can add significant transparency between a person’s role and daily tasks and how each employee contributes to the delivery of company goals and objectives.

A few years back, I read about a dissertation research done here in Finland on how well businesses actually know what their strategies are. The results were more than sad. I don’t recall the exact percentages any more, unfortunately, but it was something like:

  • less than 15% of top management really knew what strategy they were executing
  • under 10% of middle managements were familiar with the business strategy they were executing in their teams
  • not even 5% of employees had a clear picture what the company is strategically trying to achieve.

Doesn’t that make you sad? It makes me incredibly sad. That’s why I also teach how to become more strategic at Talent Marketing School.

The Strategic Culture can fix this. Fun at Work culture can not.

But let’s make it clear, no one is taking the fun away from the organization. Let’s just call it what it is: perks and benefits helping to put fun in the organization.

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The concept of Strategic Company Culture

I have my own little inkling on this topic too. I’ve podcasted about the topic of business strategy before and every time I got feedback about how can I learn more about this because we don’t talk about this at all in our organization.

When I started to develop the concept of a strategic company culture in my previous company, the mission was clear: translating the strategic emphasis of a business into the language of organizational behavior.

Everyone are better able to understand the strategic expectations when those expectations are translated into ideal or necessary organizational behavior.

The Magnetic Employer Branding Method™️ business storytells the strategic culture and the employee experiences. In other words, how we work here to pursue our mission, vision and purpose, and what our employees think about it [how we work here].

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