What Is HR's Role In Shaping Company Culture?

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Picture a workplace where employees eagerly collaborate, innovative ideas flow freely, and a strong sense of belonging permeates every interaction. Now envision another setting where employees seem disengaged, communication is disjointed, and morale is low. These distinct scenarios are reflections of company culture, an intangible yet powerful force that shapes how employees think, act, and interact within an organisation.

Company culture isn’t solely a product of chance; it’s an environment meticulously crafted by human resources professionals. While culture emerges organically from the collective behaviours and values of individuals, HR plays a pivotal role in both shaping and nurturing it. This article delves into the multifaceted ways HR influences company culture, cultivating workplaces that inspire, innovate, and thrive.

The Essential Role of HR in Shaping Culture

According to research by SHRM, many employees who view their current culture as toxic and unhealthy have considered leaving their jobs. Around 90% of workers who described their current culture as poor have thought about quitting. 72% of workers thought about quitting when rating their corporate culture as average. Only 32% thought of quitting when they perceived their culture as good.

It’s clear that effective organisational culture is more than just a buzzword, it’s a powerful force that influences engagement, productivity and overall business outcomes. HR serves as the architect of this culture. HR teams play a major role in establishing a cohesive and vibrant work environment.

Beyond a trendy catchphrase and office decor, a great culture acts as the foundation upon which employee satisfaction, productivity and brand reputation rest.

Here are some ways HR professionals shape corporate culture:

  • Supporting the C-suite: HR leaders work closely with business leaders to reflect and refine the company’s culture and adapt it as it naturally evolves over time.
  • Ethical standards: Workforces are usually made up of a variety of different cultures, religions and nationalities. HR teams help maintain ethical standards by setting clear policies and providing training. This is done to enforce fair and consistent practices.
  • Onboarding: The HR department is responsible for maintaining an open dialogue with new recruits. They help new employees settle into their roles and offer guidance and support during the onboarding process.
  • Maintaining relationships: HR is the central point of call for all employee-related matters. They provide ongoing support to all employees within the organisation, ensuring employee relationships are kept open and transparent.
  • Facilitate employee engagement: HR leaders provide ongoing support and suggest initiatives that can strengthen engagement among employees.
  • Provide employee feedback tools/performance management: HR leaders facilitate employee appreciation and peer-to-peer recognition systems, rewarding employees who contribute to the corporate culture. They also provide constructive feedback tools for future improvements.
  • Review company policies: A part of HR’s duties extend to continuously reviewing company policies that impact the workforce. Adaptive methods are implemented over time when or as the company’s goals evolve. These reviews can lead to a restructuring of company culture, amongst other things.
  • Recruitment: HR identifies prospective candidates who align with the company’s culture and values. They exclude those from hiring processes that do not resonate with the company’s values.

Key Areas Where HR Plays a Significant Role

In the intricate orchestration of company culture, HR holds a pivotal position. They actively shape and nurture the workplace environment. The ways HR addresses various critical touchpoints are done to ensure that the cultural fabric remains cohesive. This helps to align the company’s values and aspirations with its key practices.

Let’s take a closer look at these key areas:

Recruitment and selection

The foundation of a strong corporate culture starts with the right people. HR leadership, armed with a deep understanding of the company’s values, is instrumental in selecting candidates who align with their desired culture.

HR is responsible for strategic recruitment practices that contribute to a harmonious and engaged workforce. They identify candidates who not only possess the required skills but also align best with the company’s culture.

Some techniques and tools HR may use to assess alignment with company culture include: 

  • Job Descriptions: Craft job descriptions that highlight technical requirements and emphasise the organisation’s cultural values, such as teamwork, diversity, or innovation.
  • Behavioral Interview Questions: Utilise behavioural questions to explore candidates’ past experiences related to collaboration, problem-solving, adaptability, and other cultural attributes.
  • Scenario-Based Assessments: Include scenario-based assessments that present hypothetical challenges to evaluate candidates’ problem-solving and adaptability skills in alignment with the organisation’s culture.
  • Culture-Related Situational Questions: Pose situational questions to assess candidates’ alignment with the organisation’s core values, such as open communication, integrity, or continuous learning.
  • Panel Interviews: Engage a panel of interviewers from different departments to evaluate cultural fit from diverse perspectives, ensuring a comprehensive assessment.
  • Cultural Compatibility Assessment: Consider introducing an assessment that simulates real workplace challenges, evaluating candidates’ responses based on desired cultural attributes.

Onboarding

A smooth onboarding process is the gateway to a positive experience for new employees and sets the tone for an employee’s journey within the organisation. HR’s involvement goes beyond procedural formalities and ensures that new hires are seamlessly integrated into the company’s cultural fabric. This fosters a sense of belonging and purpose from day one.

This early introduction to the company’s culture and company values strongly impacts an employee and has the potential to foster stronger company commitment.

You may also be interested in: What is culture-focused onboarding?

Employee engagement initiatives

HR spearheads initiatives that boost engagement among employees, creating an environment where employees feel valued and motivated. Engagement is the base upon which a vibrant and thriving culture exists.

HR departments play another pivotal role here by facilitating programmes and initiatives that resonate with employees on various levels. By using collaborative tools and programmes designed to promote recognition, collaboration and open communication, HR professionals boost morale and strengthen cultural bonds within the team.

This proactive approach to employee involvement contributes to the long-term success of the organisation.

Performance management

HR’s role extends to performance management by aligning employee behaviours and goals with the company’s cultural aspirations. Through effective feedback, coaching, mentoring and recognition mechanisms, HR helps employees understand their role in shaping this culture.

This alignment encourages a continuous cycle of improvement. It also reinforces the significance of cultural values. Performance management serves as a bridge between a company’s cultural goals and employee contributions.

Organisational development

Change is an inevitable facet of organisational growth. HR plays a central role in navigating these shifting demographics as the company evolves. HR guides the process of development while ensuring that the company’s culture remains intact.

By embracing adaptive techniques and strategies, and encouraging a learning culture, HR professionals ensure that the company’s core values remain a constant anchor – even in times of change!

The Role of HR Software in Company Culture

As technology continues to reshape HR practices, innovative software solutions have been indispensable tools. Technology has emerged as a catalyst, reshaping traditional practices and driving efficiency to new heights.

Among these, XCD’s comprehensive HR software stands out as a true ‘single solution’. A beacon of transformation that empowers HR departments to efficiently manage diverse functions like payroll, time tracking and recruitment from a single interface, our software enables HR teams to focus their energy where it matters most: Shaping the company’s cultural landscape. XCD’s software is more than just a tool, it’s a comprehensive force that empowers HR professionals.

Conclusion

The influence of HR on company culture is an indispensable component of organisational success. As we’ve explored, HR’s multifaceted role in shaping, nurturing, and reinforcing culture goes beyond mere administrative tasks. It involves strategic alignment, talent acquisition, training and development, and creating an environment where employees thrive.

Crucially, the integration of HR technology has revolutionised the way HR professionals manage and enhance company culture. Advanced software, data analytics, and digital platforms streamline processes, providing deeper insights into employee engagement, sentiment, and cultural alignment. By leveraging technology, HR professionals can identify trends, assess the impact of initiatives, and make informed decisions to foster a positive culture.

As your partner on this journey, XCD’s HR software provides the necessary digital tools for businesses looking to understand and engage with their people in the hybrid age. To witness this unified, people-centric HR solution, book a demo or get in touch with us today!