Who's that Girl?


Who Owns Culture?

Originally posted: May 13, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

Culture by AagaardDS

Do you ever get your mind stuck on a topic and then every thing you hear, see, or read seems to be about that topic?  I’ve been like that lately on the topic of culture.  I go to Barnes and Noble or Borders and pour through books about it.  I read articles and posts online about it.  I am a sponge when it comes to learning about different perspectives on culture.  I am especially interested since I am working in a new organization and still learning about and adapting to the culture.

How important is culture fit in retaining your employees?  I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying  it is a critical component.

An organization’s culture is a mixture of many things:

  • Culture is based on the core values that define the way the company does business.
  • It is the make up of personalities and behaviors of the employees that are hired.
  • It is also the framework within which employees must work in order to be successful.

It is not always easy to pinpoint the culture, but an employee certainly knows when they do not fit within it.  It is important for hiring managers to understand their culture and hire employees who will be likely to achieve success within the framework.  In the “Can HR Keep Your Secrets?” session at HRevolution, led by Jen McClure and Lisa Rosendahl, there was quite a bit of discussion around culture and who owns it.  Jen asserted that HR ultimately owns culture because we are the ones who have some power to influence it.  While part of me knows this is true and that in many organizations HR does have the ability to influence culture, is that how it SHOULD be?

Who owns the organization’s culture?  In a mature organization, can employees actually shape culture?  Give your opinion in the comments.

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