The legendary management consultant Peter Drucker famously wrote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Few truer things have been said about the world of work. It’s even truer today as millennials place a higher emphasis on culture when choosing where to work and from which companies to buy. All evidence suggests the same is true—if not even more—of Generation Z, which is just now entering the workforce.
What exactly is company culture? One definition says it is simply “the way things are done around here.” What drives the way things are done includes the organization’s vision (which provides it with purpose), its values (guiding leader and employee behaviors), practices (the way things get done), and other factors. Some companies seek to reinforce their existing cultures while others want to change theirs to something better. (Consider Uber, whose new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is so determined to change the company’s toxic culture that he published the company’s “new cultural norms” on LinkedIn, where they could be seen by employees, prospective employees, investors, and every other stakeholder. Those norms were crafted as part of a process that involved inviting employees to play a significant role; 1200 submitted recommendations that received more than 22,000 votes.)
Communicators clearly have a significant part to play in changing or bolstering a company’s culture, from crafting and communicating a strategic narrative to shining a light on desired behaviors.
In this episode of Circle of Fellows, four IABC Fellows spent an hour discussing the communication angle of creating a corporate culture that attracts and retains employees. The panelists for this live conversation included Amanda Hamilton-Attwell, Kellie Garrett, Sheri Rosen, and Mark Schumann (bios appear below).
You can watch the panel below or on YouTube. You can also subscribe to the Circle of Fellows podcast to get the audio for listening later (and never miss a future episode). Past episodes are also available on the Circle of Fellows podcast page.
About the panel
Dr. Amanda Hamilton-Attwell is accredited by both IABC and PRSA. She is Managing Director of Business DNA, based in South Africa, which provides strategic research and consulting, including communication audits, customer service and other focused research and training in communication skills. Her career has also included a 15-year stint as a research manager for the National Productivity Institute.
Kellie Garrett, based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, Kellie is a speaker, coach, and strategist, as well as an associate professor at Royal Roads Univesity. Before launching her own business, Kellie was Senior VP of Strategy, Knowledge, and Reputation for Farm Credit Canada.
Sheri Rosen is vice president of Employee Communication at Frost Bank in San Antonio, Texas. Before assuming that role, Sheri spent 14 years as president of Rosen Communication Group. For 10 years before that, she was assistant vice president of Employee Communications for USAA, the financial services company. She is accredited by IABC.
Mark Schumann is the director of graduate business communication programs for the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, City University of New York. He is also founder and principal of re-communicate. Most recently, he was VP of marketing and communications for Western Connecticut Health Network. He served as IABC’s chair in 2009-2010. He was a managing principal and global communication practice leader at Towers Perrin for 26 years.