The correlation between human resources practice and the retention of company culture is quite high. Human resource departments are the key affecters of culture in businesses and through new-hire education and firm-wide programs. Such programming facilitates culture acceptance on a larger level. HR departments in many businesses have the structure, reach, and resources to re-shape firm culture, thus, making it the pinnacle of sustainable change in any company.
Studies have found a trend in companies leading the industry in culture retention, thus creating a Leader versus Laggard dynamic. Successful firms looking to maintain culture, enlisted their human resource departments to reflect the changes they wanted to see overall. Leading companies began this change in the hiring process by outlining strategic initiatives and focuses; the laggards in the study did not do so. Instead, they maintained a status quo of implementing changes at the firm-member level in hopes of progress.
In a similar study conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder, the issue of retention was largely due to leadership’s lack of acceptance. The shift in culture in any organization is a trickle-down effect, even in those claiming to be non-hierarchical. Human resource departments have proved to be an effective means of formulating strategy and tailoring language to make the road to sustainability more palatable.
UC Boulder further suggests, “encouraging employee buy-in can be incredibly difficult, but it can be addressed through unilateral communication across the company, or even incentives to those that participate in new programs”.
While organizational leaders do play a key role in company culture, it is important to note that hiring people willing to embrace the culture is paramount. Implementing new policy in business is matter of shifting culture and attitudes with a top-down approach. If firm-members are unwilling to embrace change, growth is thwarted and division occurs.
Various studies depict the extent to which human resources can and does influence the firm culture, the results yielding a crushing blow to laggard firms without people-centrality and notable leadership.