UK businesses are cultivating positive company culture to impact growth


A culture of empowered employees leads to growth. This much shouldn’t come as a surprise. Happy staff go above and beyond. Engaged employees channel their energies back into the workplace, resulting in ideas that benefit everyone. Happy staff also act as excellent brand ambassadors. When it comes to investing in company culture as a growth lever, the overall consensus in the AIB (GB) research is that it does impact growth (65 per cent).


But the degree to which it’s considered important varies greatly from industry to industry. Perhaps unsurprisingly, hospitality and professional services both rely hugely on company culture, with 91 per cent and 81 per cent of respondents in those sectors, respectively, agreeing that culture is key to growth. Just 35 per cent of healthcare respondents agree that company culture is a growth lever, though this is a statistic that looks set to change with the increase in healthcare tech solutions.


“Having a positive company culture does have an impact on growth. However, company culture needs to be fostered authentically and cultivated for the right reasons and motivations,” says Hema Chauhan, marketing manager at strategy consultancy The Leading Edge. “Employees need to feel empowered by the culture to be the best version of themselves at work. We believe that a great culture aids employee retention and leads to happy clients, both of which have a long-term impact on growth. Crucially, the right culture enables an aspirational business to strive to get better and better.”


“Company culture is too often brushed off because organisations misunderstand how powerfully it links to the front line”


Having a culture that is the best fit for where the company wants to be, not just where it is now, is crucial and needs to be cultivated, says Chauhan. “We want everyone in the business to feel connected to the aspiration of the brand and to live the ethos. We have five values: Be Brave, Nurture Relationships, Embrace Ingenuity, Stay Curious and Be Yourself, in no particular order. The values are a part of how we work every day (including being painted onto our walls), but we go beyond that and remind everyone of their importance through our quarterly Revite Days, when we literally live our values in a way that actually means something (rather than just a jolly company away day).”


It’s more important than you might think, says Isla Wilson, from business growth consultancy RubyStar Associates. “Company culture is too often brushed off because organisations misunderstand how powerfully it links to the front line. I’ve met organisations who don’t believe they need to think about culture because their retention rates for staff were on target; meanwhile the company was experiencing squeezed margins and significant over-delivery on projects.”


Having a happy, healthy, motivated workforce is important, says Wilson, “but your consideration of culture should also include a rounded view of the behaviours and attitudes which the business needs in order to deliver strategy. Your team may be very highly engaged, but you may still be incentivising behaviours which don’t move you closer to your objectives.”


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