Culture and HR

What is this thing called culture? I remember first hearing about this notion of “culture” in my first HR class: Organizational Behavior. Little did I know at the time just how much culture impacts the workplace in everything you do and it definitely affects an HR professional in the workplace.

Now that I have worked for 3 large companies, I can fully see that culture drives everything and can alter your effectiveness in HR. I worked for Target for 6 years and it has a very strong culture-they called it Target brand. I did not realize how strong it was until I left and went to another company. As I navigated through decisions and process changes, I mentally would bounce them through my head and conclude that whatever new decision or process I was thinking would not work. Why? Because of the culture there.

I now work for a leading utility/energy company with a drastically different culture than what I am used to. There are so many things that I do differently or do not do at all because of the engrained culture there.  Culture is the accepted standards or norms for behaviors.

But, here comes the tricky part: HR’s job is to drive the culture and move it forward. Culture, by default says it is the standard and it is the “way we have been doing it for years.” Now, you want HR (the people person) to attempt to change that or move it forward. Wow-what a task. But, it is one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of my job. It is an awesome responsibility but one that is pretty powerful. It is here of late that I have realized just how much culture plays a huge piece in your success of that. Just food for thought…

TEST-think about the culture of your workplace and compare it to a previous job? What are some things that are OK or acceptable where you work today that were different at your old job?

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