Developing a sustainable competitive advantage for their company is on the wish list of every CEO and business owner around the globe—but is it even possible?

Competitive advantages based on pricing, product, or processes are often short-lived. And let’s face it, it’s no easy task to drive continuous growth and sustain a competitive edge in your industry. Market conditions can be volatile. Competitors are constantly nipping at your heels with shiny new products. Technology is evolving at a breakneck pace. Customers are demanding faster, more responsive, and personalized service. Employee values and expectations are shifting, with Millennials now comprising the largest generational cohort in the workforce.

One competitive advantage you can leverage consistently—a differentiator that can’t duplicated—is your company culture. Your culture is unique to your organization, helping to shape your company’s brand identity, improve employee retention, and inspire and motivate your people. Companies are awakening to the business value of a strong company culture; eighty-two percent of people responding to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends survey characterized company culture as a potential competitive advantage.

Productivity Plus

According to a 2015 article in Harvard Business Review, a positive corporate culture helps companies achieve significantly higher organizational effectiveness, including increased productivity, employee engagement, financial performance, and customer satisfaction. A strong culture boosts commitment and engagement while fostering collaboration, communication, and teamwork—which translates to a positive employee experience and a buoyant bottom line.

Creativity & Innovation

An inspiring company culture can nurture creativity and fuel innovation, facilitating team-based problem-solving and decision-making that further business goals. In fact, research conducted with Silicon Valley companies found that firms with employee-friendly cultures are nearly four times more likely to align their innovation strategy with their overall business strategy.2

People Magnet

Strong company cultures are magnets for employees, both prospective and current. People want to be part of the organization—they want to work with people who share their values—so recruiting top talent is much less of a challenge. And employees who feel inspired by the culture, the mission, and their colleagues will not be jumping ship to another company.3 Recruiting and retention become no-brainers.

Culture 101

Developing a company culture is more about planting the seeds for an inspiring culture to take root, as opposed to trying to control it with mission statements no one reads, forced team-building exercises, or free pop in the fridge. By aligning your strategies and actions with what your employees value—inside and outside of the office—you can create a culture that drives innovation, productivity, and growth.

A sustainable competitive advantage

Company culture can be a sustainable competitive advantage for those companies willing to prioritize the values of their people. In fact, supporting the development of a positive culture can play a major role in aligning employees with the organization’s broader goals, encouraging everyone to work toward a shared vision.4 It’s a winning proposition all around.

1. http://pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers-as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force, http://pwc.com/gx/en/hr-management-services/pdf/pwc-nextgen-study-2013.pdf
2,3,4. https://inc.com/aaron-skonnard/the-most-important-change-you-can-make-to-prepare-for-2020.html

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