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Proving the connection between culture and profit

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Company culture is important.

Most executives believe that. Many even believe better company culture equals better business performance. So why do so few executives understand how to act on those beliefs?

Most executives haven’t had the data to quantify how their investments in culture delivered a business return. Done poorly, culture risks becoming inauthentic rhetoric and creates misalignment between executives and employees.

The resulting perception gap between executives and employees has measurable consequences.

When it comes to return on culture investment, the days of uncertainty are over.

Grant Thornton’s groundbreaking Return on Culture Report gives you hard proof that company culture drives business performance.

We combined our 94 years of consulting and advisory experience with the leading quantitative analysis expertise of Oxford Economics to evaluate the role culture plays in driving business performance.

Healthy corporate culture
=
Stronger revenue growth

  • Public companies with extremely healthy cultures are

    2.5X

    more likely to report significant stock price increases over the past year.

  • 49%

    of employees would be willing to take a lower-paying job for a better culture.

  • Companies with extremely healthy cultures are

    1.5X

    more likely to report average revenue growth of more than 15% for the past three years.

We have far too often blamed not investing in culture on a lack of data or on culture being impossible to tie to financial performance. With the data that has been uncovered in this study, there are no more excuses. Now you can.”

Chris Smith, Managing Principal
Grant Thornton Strategy & Transformation Practice

Our research clearly demonstrates that culture investments lead to financial gain. Download the report to learn where investments in culture pay off, and where they don’t.

Get the full report
Benchmark your company

How does your organization start building a culture that pays off?

First, create alignment across your culture, people and processes.

Executives and employees don’t agree on whether strong culture is critical to business performance.

Executives

75%

of execs think a strong culture is critical to business performance, while only...

Employees

56%

of employees agree

It isn’t that you get your employees engaged the first day — you have to keep them engaged.”

Ann Rhoades, Co-founder of JetBlue,
former Chief People Officer of Southwest Airlines and Promus Hotel

You need the right people to support the organization’s values and culture, and an organization that delivers on the culture it promises.

If a company that advertises an agile culture has processes that are bureaucratic and slow, those values are misaligned. You need the right people to support the organization’s values and culture, and an organization that delivers on the culture it promised.

Learn strategies to align your company culture and values

Many executives are making the wrong culture investments.

Executives disproportionately emphasize areas of investment like physical workplace. Our study found that the link between workplace design and key business outcomes is relatively limited. It is also a lower priority for employees than executives think. Investing in areas that aren’t prioritized by employees will result in misspent dollars and minimal, if any, tangible results.

Learn to prioritize the right investments
  • 57%

    of executives believe a pleasing workplace environment is critical to employee loyalty.

  • 36%

    of employees agree.

When I started at VMware, the utilization rate of our educational reimbursement program was low. I took a small team aside and said, ‘Let’s just blow this up and rethink the entire program.’ Now, our entire process is significantly more employee-friendly, and the program sells out every quarter.”

Betsy Sutter, Chief People Officer, VMware

Third, make measuring the effectiveness of your culture a priority. Big data and analytics help organizations better understand nearly every area of their business. Despite that, most companies do not measure culture. If executives can tie cultural inputs to business outcomes, they will know which elements of their culture are paying off and which are wasted investments.

Culture isn’t an unmeasurable thing. It’s all about performance. It’s all about productivity. At the end of the day, I believe it drastically affects your performance!”

Ann Rhoades, Co-founder of JetBlue,
former Chief People Officer of Southwest Airlines and Promus Hotel
  • 20%

    Only 20% of responding organizations measure productivity levels or employment data; even fewer track personal data about employees.

  • 69%

    Executives say culture is important, but 69% of companies don’t measure culture.

  • 13%

    Overall, executives lack insight into employee wants and needs. Only 13% use regular surveys to determine employee priorities.

Develop your measurement strategy

You’ve read the story...
now you can take action.

For executives looking to adopt an intentional approach to culture, determining where to start may feel like an insurmountable task. Our culture benchmarking tool jump-starts the process by helping executives identify current areas of strengths and weaknesses.

Complete the benchmarking tool and receive a report on how your company performs against five drivers that conclusively lead to healthier culture.

Grant Thornton’s benchmarking tool is really going to help executives learn what to focus on — and more importantly what not to focus on — as they start to improve their culture. After self-assessing against our five drivers of culture, they’ll understand where they sit relative to some of the best companies in the world.”

Chris Smith, Managing Principal
Grant Thornton Strategy & Transformation Practice

Our strategy and transformation teams identify and interpret the current organizational signals in order to design, launch and foster a forward-thinking, top-performing organization highlighted by engaged employees and culture aligned with the strategy.