Company Culture is More than Morale

Published: October 2, 2018

Morale is not the path to culture. Positive morale is the outcome of strong company culture. A healthy workplace draws talent in and makes them stay. The reasons people come and remain engaged are as varied as the diversity of the team. Some want growth and learning while others seek to make an impact. Some teammates prioritize compensation and benefits while others value a family-like atmosphere. Whatever the draw, the culture must attract multiple generations and a spectrum of personalities. That’s a tall order. Here’s where to start.

I want to be on your team if:

  • Your mission matches my purpose.
  • Communication is transparent and enhances trust.
  • The needs of our clients, customers, patients, students, users come first.
  • Teammate connections have the warmth of family with professional boundaries.
  • Our culture sustains through good times and bad.
  • Leadership sponsors and invests in learning and development.
  • Succession and growth are generated from within.
  • Collaboration and teamwork harness the strength of diversity.
  • Wellness, balance, and flexibility are employed to counterbalance stress.
  • Compensation is fair and resources are managed with stewardship.

A team with all these qualities would be the envy of any industry. A rare few companies achieve and sustain cultures without glitches. Like the performer spinning plates on sticks, there is always a plate or two wobbling and needing a new thrust. If neglected, they crash to the floor and break. Similarly, company culture is an exercise in continuous improvement. At any moment, one of the anchors of workplace wellness is wobbling and needs attention.

Assess all aspects of your team. Evaluate mission, communication, customer focus, family-like atmosphere, sustainability, learning & development, succession, teamwork, wellness, and stewardship. In which of these domains does your culture have strength. Where are the relative weaknesses? If you want a workplace with strong morale, this assessment will tell you where to aim your energy and resources.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.