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Driving culture from the top

Driving culture from the top

Businesses are operating in a climate of volatility and uncertainty resulting from a broad range of factors – from the current global pandemic to the unprecedented pace of technological change, disruption, geopolitical risk, and slow economic growth. In such an environment, cultivating a strong corporate culture from the top level all the way down through the organization is key. It is a topic high on the agenda of business leaders and regulators. 

One of the fundamental roles of leadership is to create and maintain a culture that reinforces the company’s core values, encourages employees to do the right thing, and helps drive the company’s long-term strategy. Culture, done well, can be a powerful driver of organizational performance.

Given the importance of maintaining a healthy corporate culture in a challenging business and risk environment, we interviewed directors and subject matter experts from around the world to gather their perspectives on the board’s role in helping to reinforce, assess, and oversee the corporation’s culture.

In this edition of Global Boardroom Insights, we share their insights, which we hope will help you to facilitate robust boardroom discussions about the challenges and opportunities related to corporate culture oversight in your own organizations. While their individual views offer varying perspectives, some universal takeaways emerged from the discussions that should be worthwhile for all boards to consider. By making culture a regular item on the board agenda and asking the right questions, directors can help to ensure that culture supports business strategy.

Key interview insights

  • Culture is not simply a once (or twice) a year discussion. Corporate culture should be part of the board’s agenda and ongoing conversation throughout the year.
  • Strategy, risk, and culture should be tightly connected. Culture needs to be embedded in the company’s decision-making processes, including strategic thinking, risk management and compliance, performance, and the incentives driving these activities.
  • Culture should start at the top and cascade down through all levels of the organization. In addition to its monitoring role, the board plays a critical role in helping shape the tone at the top by modeling the behaviors leadership wants to drive.
  • Make sure the board is getting an unfiltered view of the company’s culture. Ensure robust reporting processes are in place, including capturing red and yellow flags as well as indicators of “good” culture.
  • Leverage internal audit to help assess and monitor culture. Consider incorporating a culture/values assessment in the annual internal audit plan to help measure whether/ how employee behavior and practices reflect the company’s culture and values.

 

Read the full publication, here below

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