All Articles Leadership Workforce Is this the year you build a respectful culture?

Is this the year you build a respectful culture?

Senior leaders must be at the forefront of creating a respectful culture, says S. Chris Edmonds, who outlines some actions to take.

2 min read


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Video transcript:

Your work culture might suck. In a 2023 study by the American Psychological Association, 19% of American workers say their workplace is toxic. The same percentage reported that they’ve been the target of discrimination in their workplaces.

Even if your work culture is “OK,” changes are on the horizon. 450 CHROs were surveyed in DDI’s 2023 Global Leadership Forecast. Those CHROs believe that workplaces will continue to become more diverse, more flexible and more varied in where people work. These trends place heavy demands on work cultures — and they place heavy demands on business leaders to build and sustain purposeful, positive and productive work cultures that attract and retain talented, engaged staff.

Why should business leaders care about their work culture? The data is undeniable — and we can prove it.  The powerful outcomes of a respectful culture is as important as results include:

  • 40% gains in employee engagement
  • 40% gains in customer service
  • 35% gains in results and profits

Who is in charge of changing your work culture? Senior leaders must be role models and champions of your desired culture. That critical responsibility can’t be delegated to HR or OD or a cross-functional work team. Culture refinement must be driven by senior leaders.

How can leaders change their work culture? Most senior leaders have never experienced successful culture change. Far fewer have ever led a successful culture change initiative.

Our proven culture process guides business leaders to define their desired culture — and then align and refine plans, decisions and actions to their desired culture across their organization every single day.

Defining your desired culture includes formalizing your company’s values in observable, tangible, measurable terms. As an example, one of our client’s values is integrity. One of the three measurable behaviors in their integrity value is “I do what I say I will do.” Valued behaviors make clear how people in your company model their company values in daily interactions. In this example, the behavior requires everyone to keep their promises — a foundation of integrity.

How do you know if leaders and team members are living your valued behaviors? You measure them.


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