by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC

Most would agree that workplace culture is a critical factor in determining the level of success for an organization. Culture is what your customers experience when they interact or transact with your organization. Culture takes the notion of what you do and how you do it to a higher level – how your customer feels about you and the feelings they have when they use your products or services, or even when they hear or see your company’s name. At this level, culture truly becomes a competitive advantage.

However, ask people to define the word culture and you will likely get a variety of responses. Ask those you work with to describe your organization’s culture and you may observe some uncertainty and uneasiness in their response. Some say workplace culture is what happens when the manager leaves the room or what employees do when no one is looking. While we can differ on the best definition or description of culture, we should all accept a few realities. Culture is about people and their behavior. We cannot manage culture, but we can manage behaviors by encouraging and fostering the right behavior. Well-defined core values that are aligned to the vision and goals of the organization, understood by all and practiced routinely, are essential for business success.

According to Hubspot, companies with inspiring core values include American Express, Google, Coca Cola and Whole Foods. Typically, organizations address their core values when they develop or refine their strategic plans. Core values are an important part of an organization’s roadmap and help provide direction and influence behavior regardless of a person’s position or tenure with the company. Unfortunately, whether posted for others to see or not, core values sometimes are just words with no cause and effect. Core values need to be genuine, need to be promoted internally and externally, and need to be the standard of work. You probably have heard the phrase and old song title, I Am What I Am. A company core values tune title could be, We Are What We Are.

During the peak of the pandemic and working remotely, we thought it was a perfect time to engage our entire NWIRC staff in a strategic planning initiative. Although we were operating from a strategic plan, we recognized it was not in alignment with changes in our business environment and market demands. We also recognized that most of our staff did not participate in the process when it was developed a few years ago. As part of the initiative, staff contributed their feelings and thoughts through a confidential survey and interview as well as in open group discussions. As a group, we zeroed in our organizational identity and landed on five core values – Passion, Responsiveness, Integrity, Dedication, Experience. It is with PRIDE we serve our manufacturers in these ways. With Passion to help each company and manufacturing as an industry. With Responsiveness always because it matters to our clients always. With Integrity from our independent and objective assessments, to our custom recommendations, to the deliverables we promise. With Dedication to manufacturing and to meeting and exceeding the expectations of those we serve. With our proven manufacturing Experience and constant quest to expand our knowledge and skills. We proudly promote our core values. They are who we are! Here’s a core value challenge for you. Do you have core values that reflect your company?
Are they driving your culture?