Steve Browne, Vice President of HR at LaRosa’s, Inc.

Steve Browne, SHRM-SCP, Vice President of HR at LaRosa's, Inc. Have expertise in the areas of Employee Relations, Networking, and Company Culture.Steve Browne, SHRM-SCP is the Vice President of Human Resources for LaRosa’s, Inc. – a regional Pizzeria restaurant chain in the Midwest United States. He has 30+ years working as an HR professional in a variety of industries including consumer products, manufacturing, professional services and hospitality companies.

Steve is the author of the book, HR on Purpose !!, and an active blogger with his own blog, Everyday People (http://sbrownehr.com). He is a current member of the SHRM Board of Directors. Steve also runs a global HR network called the HR-Net which reaches 11,000+ HR and business professionals globally each week.

Find Steve on Twitter        @sbrownehr     

Connect with Steve on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/steveb5/


What does organizational culture mean to you?

I’ve always thought that culture, simply defined, is “the number one reason people stay with or leave, a company.”

It’s difficult to quantify organizational culture in specific terms because every company is unique and the people who work in those companies are diverse as well. I don’t believe that it’s good to have a “one size fits all” definition of culture. It’s too vast to try and fit into a neat package. It’s full of variety and is constantly evolving. Organizational culture shows up in how we view, value and treat people within the company.

What are the major determinants of organizational culture?

First and foremost are what the company values. This is more than a statement or a set of phrases that get posted on a wall. When a company sets its values, the culture will follow. For example, if the value is profitability at all costs, then activities and infrastructure will be built to support that value regardless of the people. If the value is “people first” then a company can be extremely vital, inviting and innovative. This type of company will still be productive, and hopefully profitable, but they will accomplish through their people and not in spite of them.

What is the role of employees in organizational culture?

Employees either enhance or detract from a company’s culture. It’s based on their behavior and what is allowed within the culture of an organization. The employees “act out” what the organization’s culture truly is through their actions with each other. This is true at the leadership level, between departments and in interactions between two or more people. Employees need to understand that they are the vital ingredient and key component of the fabric of an organization’s culture.

What are the common problems associated with managing organizational culture?

The best part of a culture is people, and the worst part of a culture is people. It’s more in regards to whether poor behavior and/or poor performance is allowed to grow and is never addressed. When people can float and not contribute, it hurts your culture. This is the easier topic to address because you can have conversations about performance expectations. The key is to be consistent and follow them.

Poor behavior is more difficult because it can come in many forms. It should be noted that as little as one person with a poor attitude can completely cripple a culture. We tend to avoid people who exhibit bad behavior and attitudes because we don’t want to upset others. We need to all remember that ignoring bad behavior only makes each day worse. In fact, you can lose great talent when this isn’t addressed. It can’t be ignored. Once you see the poor behavior, HR needs to be involved and take it on intentionally. It doesn’t mean a person needs to leave the company, but it can’t be allowed to continue.

What are the ways to innovate organizational culture?

For me, you should step back and review every policy and procedure you have in your company. If those systems are obstacles in allowing people to thrive and perform, they should either be removed or altered. We can’t keep believing that structure will define our cultures. They only limit them.

We need to have more faith in our people and set up an environment where they can express themselves, be creative and also have the room to fail. When we have a more people-centric culture, then a company can evolve as needed to stay relevant in the present and be able to move and adapt into the future.

Eliminating policies and simplifying HR is the easiest way to allow organizational culture to free itself up and become something more vibrant and inviting for all employees at every level of leadership.


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