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Company Culture: The Key to Fueling Leadership and Growth

How to improve organizational culture.

Key points

  • Strong and positive organizational cultures lead to growth and benefits for companies.
  • During change or disruption, a strong and positive culture can help employees "weather the storm."
  • Research shows that companies focusing on a strong corporate culture see increased revenue, stock prices, net income, and job growth.

Coauthored by Brian Wallace and Ron Riggio.

There is little doubt that the global pandemic has changed the way that we work–we were physically separated for quite some time and have had to learn how to communicate primarily through technology. Employees have become increasingly anxious and disconnected. Something must be done in order to turn the tide–and changing company culture is here to help.

What is company culture? More than just a quick meeting or mission statement. It’s all-encompassing of all of an organization’s attitudes, ideals, and attributes. You can see it in the actions and behaviors of every employee, and it’s unique to every business and its employees.

Financial Benefits of Changing Company Culture

Many organizations don’t want to consider investing in a new plan of action unless they can see a dollar-and-cents difference in their bottom line. If you’re in the mindset of thinking that a company culture shift is just a nice-to-have luxury, consider the following stats. According to a decade-long study by John Kotter, companies that chose to focus on a strong corporate culture saw the following:

  • Increased revenue: +685 percent
  • Stock price: +901 percent
  • Net income: +756 percent
  • Job growth: +282 percent

Focusing on cultural transformation can bring big rewards–after five years, many saw an 85 percent net profit increase, and in only three years, a 25 percent workforce growth along with a 50-point increase in employee engagement. There was even a 20 percent increase in higher sales and 21 percent higher profitability.

Stopping Burnout in Its Tracks Through Meaning

Today’s generational workforce is not like your father’s workforce of old. Millennials and Gen Z alike seek meaning and motivation fulfillment–not just money–as part of their careers. In fact, 1 in 3 employees stays in their current job role because they find the work meaningful. These employees expect their work to help meet societal needs as well.

Why Employees Resist Culture Change

If culture change brings all of these benefits, you might ask why anyone would want to resist them. It is a natural human tendency to resist change–because it causes disruption, even if the outcome is, in the end, positive. But, resistance to change is exacerbated if there are existing trust issues in your organization, employees could feel over-burdened to added responsibilities, and there might be rules in the way that are barriers to change. Employees might have skill gaps and fear losing their jobs. Properly and carefully introducing culture change is the key for things to stick.

Does Your Organization Need to Invest in Culture Change?

It may not be abundantly clear that your organization needs to change. Here are some helpful questions to get you and your team on the right track:

  • Does the company’s culture unleash employees’ passion?
  • How is the organization dealing with barriers to change?
  • Are employees self-managed and accountable for results?
  • Do rewards align with vision fulfillment across the organization?
  • Is there a leadership program that cultivates the right values?
  • Do communication systems foster effective collaboration?

Building company culture the right way is a game-changer–far beyond the promises of digital transformation and other exercises. Invest in the future of your business and employees, and get ready to change company culture for the better.


Schein, E.H. & Schein, P. (2016). Organizational culture and leadership (5th ed.). Jossey-Bass.

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