16th September 2016


by: Jo Dodds


Categories: Engage for Success Blog

Why Great Organisational Cultures Advance Winning Business Strategies & Which Companies are Leading the Way

A great organisational culture has been viewed in the past as a “nice-to-have”, but not a business imperative. The evidence is becoming increasingly irrefutable, however, that:

  • Companies who have taken steps to create outstanding cultures see an impact on their bottom line.
  • Companies who don’t, pay the price in terms of staff turnover and lower customer loyalty and trust.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” famously said Peter Drucker. Successful companies need a point of difference, and culture is more powerful than strategy in this regard. While competitors can imitate your strategy, they can’t copy your culture.

We’ve compiled this list of the top 5 stats underlining why great company culture is a must:

  1.  A recent Glassdoor survey found that company culture is one of the top five most important things job-seekers consider before accepting a new job.
  2. To be recognised as a “Best Workplace”, you have to demonstrate a great workplace culture. By far the most important factor, at 56%, when professionals consider an employer, is whether it’s a great place to work.
  3. A 4-year study at the London Business School, showed that the Best Workplaces financially outperform their competitors by 2-3% per year.
  4. Places that are considered great to work at have much lower voluntary turnover rates compared to their peers, by as much as 65%.
  5. This improved retention is hugely significant when you consider that it costs over £30K to replace a staff member, and that the average time taken to recruit a non-executive candidate is more than 2 months, increasing for more senior level appointments.

Not only are the figures compelling, but the string of recent corporate scandals is pushing corporate culture higher up the agenda. A Culture Coalition project, set up last year by key bodies including the CIPD, Financial Reporting Council, Institute of Business Ethics, and CIMA, has highlighted the issues that can arise when organisations do not focus on company culture. They have stressed the need for leaders to embody the desired culture, for values and incentives to be aligned to culture, and for culture to be better measured. [6]

Just announced! Finalists in the Awards for Organisational Culture Excellence 2016

oc excellence awardsWith all of this is mind, the following organisations have been singled out by a panel of 18 top HR leaders as leading the way in creating outstanding organisational culture. They have all approached the objective of creating a winning culture in a variety of different ways, reflecting the fact that culture is unique to every organisation. Their achievements are listed here:

Achieving a culture transformation or turnaround: Amnesty International – Aviva – BaxterStorey – Lindt &Sprüngli – Orbis – Sanofi Pasteur

Driving culture on an international scale: ARM – Coats – The Gap Partnership – Innocent Drinks – PepsiCo – Sanofi Pasteur

Culture “champions” who have demonstrated passion and commitment to creating a unique workplace: BNP Paribas – Caring Homes Group – Hain Daniels – Health Education England – Orbis

Putting inspirational innovation at the heart of culture: DHL – Lindt & Sprüngli – LV= Manning Gottlieb OMD – Portico – RHP

Creating a “learning culture”: DHL – GKN – Great Ormond Street Hospital – Lindt & Sprüngli – Punch Taverns – Tao Leadership

Focussing on diversity and inclusion: Ardmore Construction – BNP Paribas – Caring Homes Group – Civil Service Resourcing – PepsiCo – Virgin Media

Demonstrating a people-first approach to using technology: Amnesty International – Aviva – Caring Homes Group – Great Ormond Street Hospital – Hain Daniels – LV=

Putting the recruitment and development of the next generation at the heart of their culture: Broads Authority – Civil Service Resourcing – GKN – Manning Gottlieb OMD – RMP

Enacting a focus on corporate social responsibility: Ardmore Construction – ARM – Hain Daniels – Innocent Drinks – RHP

Nurturing outstanding culture within a large company: ARM – Aviva – Coats – PepsiCo – Sanofi Pasteur – Virgin Media

Nurturing outstanding culture within an SME: Ardmore Construction – The Gap Partnership – Innocent Drinks – Punch Taverns – RHP – RMP

Nurturing outstanding culture within a Public or Not-for-Profit Sector organisation: Amnesty International – Broads Authority – Civil Service Resourcing – Great Ormond Street Hospital – Health Education England – Orbis

The very best-performing organisations from this list will be announced on 16th November, 2016 at the Tower Hotel, St Katharine’s Way, London, by actor, comedian and host Ben Bailey Smith aka Doc Brown, along with top HR professionals and business leaders.

For more information about excellence in organisational culture, please also visit ocexcellence.com


  1. Glassdoor, Top 25 Companies for Culture and Values
  2. Geoff Colvin, How to Build the Perfect Workplace
  3. 4 year academic study of Fortune Best Companies, Prof A Edmans, London Business School.
  4. The 10 Best Ways To Build Company Culture, business.com, 2016
  5. Oxford Economics Report 2016
  6. HR Magazine 2016, FRC calls for stronger focus on corporate culture