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  • Writer's pictureRalph Kellogg

It's Not Human Resources Job

I cannot be the only HR professional who has heard that the HR Department is responsible for setting an organization’s culture.

This assumption oversimplifies the complex dynamics that shape workplace culture and overlooks the multifaceted contributions of various stakeholders within the organization.

I want to debunk the myth about where and how HR fits into the architecture of corporate culture.

The Role of HR in Organizational Culture:

HR plays a crucial role in influencing and reinforcing culture, but it is an oversimplification to attribute the entire responsibility to this department. HR is traditionally associated with talent acquisition, onboarding, employee engagement, and policy implementation. However, the foundation of organizational culture is laid by the collective actions and behaviors of everyone within the organization, from top-level executives to frontline employees.

Leadership's Impact:

Organizational culture often emanates from the top-down. The leadership team, including executives and managers, significantly influences the workplace environment. Their values, decision-making processes, and communication styles set the tone for the entire organization. It is not uncommon for employees to mirror the behaviors and attitudes exhibited by their leaders, contributing significantly to the overall cultural fabric.

Employee Engagement and Collaboration:

Culture is not a one-size-fits-all concept. It is a living entity shaped by the daily interactions, collaboration, and engagement of the entire workforce. Employees contribute to the culture by living out the organization's values, fostering teamwork, and promoting a positive work environment. When employees feel heard, appreciated, and empowered, they naturally become ambassadors for the organization's cultural identity.

External Influences:

Organizational culture is not an isolated entity; it is influenced by external factors such as industry trends, market conditions, and societal shifts. The business landscape is constantly evolving, and organizations must adapt to stay relevant. HR professionals must collaborate with various departments to ensure the organization's culture aligns with the broader context and remains adaptable to change.

The Need for Collaboration:

To dispel the myth that HR single-handedly sets the culture, it is essential to recognize the collaborative nature of culture-building. Successful organizations understand that creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture requires collective efforts. Cross-functional collaboration between HR, leadership, and employees fosters a shared commitment to the organization's values, creating a more robust and resilient cultural foundation.

Attributing the entire responsibility of organizational culture to HR is a simplistic and inaccurate assumption.

HR undoubtedly plays a pivotal role, but culture is a shared responsibility that involves every member of the organization. By acknowledging the collective impact of leadership, employees, and external influences, organizations can cultivate a dynamic and adaptive culture that enhances employee engagement, satisfaction, and overall success.

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