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This is me speaking about DEI in Tech on Lenovo Late Night I.T. Season 2!

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DEI in 5: Bite-Sized Discussions on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Ep5: Defining Company Culture

Today, we're going to define company culture and discuss why it's essential to include it as part of an organization's DEI goals and strategy.

Company culture, also known as "organizational culture" or "workplace culture," is a set of shared values, beliefs, assumptions, and behavioral norms. These shared values and beliefs are typically defined by the organization’s leaders, and then communicated and reinforced through a variety of methods, both formal and informal.

To give you a more practical since of what we mean by company culture, some things that fall under this umbrella include things such as:

The company’s mission, vision and values

  • The company’s strategy

  • Leadership structure

  • Management’s approach

  • Overall infrastructure, Processes & procedures

  • Shared or common language

  • The People

  • Strategy & Performance

  • Even branding & marketing

Company culture sets the tone for everything an organization does, with the primary goal of influencing employee perceptions, behaviors, and understanding of the org and its shared goals. But it also sets the tone for how those outside of the organization perceive it, such as clients, partners, investors, and the general public.

However, because industries and situations vary so significantly, there isn't a one-size-fits-all company culture template. Without leadership's guidance, company culture can be subjective and interpreted differently by those interacting with the organization., both internally and externally.

In an ideal world, leaders should come together to think about the various layers and areas that define their unique organization.

It's essential to note that company culture isn't something you just define one time and then leave alone. Shaping culture takes time, and it has to be worked on consistently, with defined, measurable goals. It should be revisited regularly to ensure that it still aligns with the org and the people it touches.

It’s important to be mindful of and understand formal and informal culture. Formal culture may look like creating a clear, fair, inclusive process for decision making. While informal culture may look like the loudest voice is always heard and their ideas are pushed forward — we sometimes refer to informal company culture as “the unwritten rules.”

Having a clearly defined organizational culture that is rooted in equity and fostering an inclusive environment can set an organization apart from others. It encourages a diverse group of people to engage with the organization, both internally and externally.

However, in order for that to happen, leaders must collectively align on cultural priorities that can accommodate a diverse group of people. This requires them to be mindful not to rely on their own individual values and beliefs to set the company's culture.

So that’s it for today. Let me know how your org has or is defining company culture. Now that we’ve defined company culture, I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about “culture fit” and how it can actually stifle an orgs DEI goals.

Resources for today's discussion:

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