Office ‘microcultures’ have a huge impact on business results

As business leaders get serious about getting workers back into the office after the pandemic, the idea of ​​fostering a work culture that boosts productivity and results has become a white whale for many bosses.

But in a hybrid work world where many employees are changing how they feel about their jobs, what a company culture looks like is difficult to define, let alone develop. Still, bosses may want to start thinking small when trying to create a lifestyle across the company.

According to a new report, office “microcultures” are most important for employees to feel supported and achieve their best work. These are individual teams within an organization with slight differences in the way they communicate, engage, and get work done.

According to Deloitte, nearly 71% of business and HR leaders believe that individual teams within an organization are the best place to develop culture. 2024 Global Human Capital Trends request. But only 45% say their organizations are doing something about it, and only 12% say their organizations are doing “great things” to support microcultures in the workplace.


However, organizations are 1.6 times more likely to achieve desired business outcomes and 1.8 times more likely to achieve positive human outcomes such as creativity, collaboration and problem solving. Michael Griffiths, Deloitte’s workforce transformation offering leader, says when companies support microcultures, it leads to improvements in “things like health, well-being, mental and physical safety, stronger skills and employability and sustainable pay.”

“Organizations are really starting to have a conversation around not having a monolithic culture strategy because it hasn’t worked and it hasn’t promoted the idea of ​​human sustainability – the extent to which an organization can create value for people as people. than workers,” Griffiths says.

Many managers have realized that traditional views of corporate culture are failing—a report found that 73% of people quit because of poor culture—and that the idea of ​​company culture is less effective in an increasingly diverse workforce. more autonomy and flexibility. This is especially noteworthy in an environment where companies are clamoring to compete for and retain top talent.

While companies as a whole are beginning to recognize the importance of microcultures, figuring out how to create great cultures still eludes leaders. Half of the executives in Deloitte’s report say that “an organization’s culture is more successful with moderate variability,” but they ranked the idea of ​​having diverse cultures as the most difficult trend to address.

Moreover, the importance of microcultures is still not clear to the upper levels of organizations. Senior leaders view microcultures as less valuable than directors and employees closest to the day-to-day work. About 70% of employees and 60% of directors recognize the importance of microcultures, compared to 53% of C-suite members and 46% of board members.

So how do leaders go out of their way and enable teams to develop their own distinctive culture? According to Griffiths, setting a clear mission starts with understanding what the company values ​​beyond business metrics and having ways to measure progress toward achieving those values ​​that take into account human capital.

Companies today are equipped with all sorts of ways to measure performance, but they shouldn’t neglect less tangible goals.

“That human element is as important as the potential on the business side,” says Griffiths.

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