How to Build a Healthy Corporate Culture

Business success depends on having a healthy culture. A healthy culture depends on leaders who model the values and behaviors needed to build and sustain it.

How do you get there? How do you take whatever culture you have today and optimize it to endure and thrive even in this current environment of constant change and upheaval?

Bob Rosen, CEO of The Healthy Leader, and his colleagues are experts at building and sustaining healthy cultures. “Getting there may not be easy but the results that come from a thoughtful, focused cultural evolution are worth it,” Rosen said. “Imagine a future where change isn’t always some looming threat to prosperity but a grand adventure of growth and innovation. A healthy culture is the best way to get there.”

Cultural evolution starts by understanding where you are now, then looking at the culture you want to have and taking steps to bridge the gap between the desired state and the current one.

In their new eBook, Building a Healthy Culture, Rosen and his team lay out their program to bring out the best in your leaders and your people. They see a healthy culture as:

  • Purposeful
  • Resilient
  • Collaborative
  • Agile
  • Adaptive
  • High-performing

The critical first step to building the culture you want is listening to employees, according to Brandon Hall Group research. It’s important to understand that your current culture is what your employees experience, not what your leaders think it is. Sometimes there is a big difference in perception. 

The research, based on qualitative studies and more than 100 interviews with a wide variety of employees and organizations, provides examples of what employees want to experience. For example, employees want to feel:

  • They have meaningful work.
  • The organization is fully invested in their wellness and well-being.
  • Managers are invested in their performance and success.
  • They are appreciated and recognized for their contributions.
  • The employer is committed to developing employees’ potential through continuous learning.
  • Performance goals are collaborative and designed to help them succeed.

The key to making employees feel this sense of belonging and feeling valued depends on leaders who understand the value of a healthy culture and are inclusive and collaborative in how they work with their teams. Our research, How to Develop Inclusive Leaders reveals the most important inclusive leader traits and the percentage of organizations that are actively developing them:

Inclusive leaders are healthy leaders and healthy leaders are the key to building a healthy culture. “They set the tone and give people faith the company can change. And they adapt continuously as the company evolves,” Rosen says in the eBook.

Building and sustaining a healthy culture is not easy. It is an organic process, Rosen says, that must be guided and tended to carefully. It takes meticulous planning and development. And the most difficult part might be sustaining the culture once developed.

“As we look across the horizon,” Rosen said, “one thing is certain: change is here whether you like it or not. The real question is: Will your organization be up to the challenge?”

The Healthy Leader and its new eBook can help you get started — or accelerate your journey.

-Claude Werder, Senior VP and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.