3 Ways CEOs Can Strengthen Company Culture

The many changes brought about by the pandemic, including the great resignation, have made it clear that culture matters in the workplace. through my work Heydrick and the StruggleI have guided organizations of all types through the process of accelerating business performance by building strong workplace cultures.

In future focusedShape your culture. shape your futureIn the book I co-authored with my colleague Ian Johnson, we explore the important role that CEOs, leaders, and their teams play in shaping workplace culture, and how culture has a significant impact on the future of a company. In our book we share four fundamental principles for shaping culture – purposeful leadership, personal change, broad engagement and systematic alignment. Together, these principles form the basis for how successful leaders and organizations can create thriving cultures.

focus on purpose

In 2020, we saw two principles – purposeful leadership and personal change – increase in importance. Purpose-driven and human-centered organizations thrived despite the pandemic. Leaders who demonstrated empathy, compassion and inclusivity towards employees strengthened morale and organizational resilience. Take Aptiv CEO Kevin Clark, who transformed the company from a storied automotive supplier into one of the world’s top sustainable and innovative companies in the industrial tech space, leading with purpose and doubling down on his own personal growth. Is.

Starting with a culture audit, Clark aligns his leadership team around a core set of values ​​based on the company’s objective: “to enable a safer, greener and more connected future of mobility.” Involving and motivating the top 4,000 leaders in the company through a workshop on implementing this objective challenges leaders to make them real on a day-to-day basis, and a way to successfully navigate turmoil for the organization. Served as compass point.

Combine culture with performance

Many of the leaders we spoke to in the book discuss the inextricable link between culture and performance. Earlier this year, we 500 CEOs Surveyed and found that the majority of CEOs (82 percent) named culture as a priority, but little acknowledged the impact of culture on performance.

But CEOs who combined culture and performance — what we classify as “culture accelerators” — outperformed their peers in our study by generating more than double the three-year compound annual growth rate in revenue.

He did this by having a two-way dialogue with employees about the relationship between culture and strategy. They were persistent and intentional about showing empathy, support, appreciation, and recognition—and more closely linked those relationship builders as drivers of financial influence.

include all

Engagement is a vital component to building and maintaining a successful culture. Broad engagement, a third culture-shaping principle, requires everyone in an organization to live up to the promise of a persuasive purpose. Julian Mininberg, CEO of Helen of Troy, launched The Power of One, an intentional culture tour that called on top leaders to inspire and engage employees to participate in corporate transformation.

This meant ensuring that talent processes, performance management, onboarding and training were aligned to the culture and served as reinforcements. The leadership team regularly measured progress and made necessary adjustments following feedback-two-way communication that revealed challenges or opportunities for growth.

The results speak for themselves: revenue increased by more than 40 percent from 2018 to 2021 and today, Power of One Spirit maintains Helen of Troy’s culture and puts its values ​​and purpose at the center of decisions and policies .


The antidote to great resignations is strong company culture – and building a strong culture comes from above. The challenges of the past two years prove that culture really does matter, and by molding culture, leaders and organizations can shape a future that serves purpose and performance.