Culture Matters | Volume 1

Blog March 11, 2019

Posted by Mike Penninga

Culture Matters | Volume 1 Featured Image

What is culture?  It’s our corporate beliefs, standards, and expectations.  It’s our “vibe” — an unwritten code that determines behavior.  Every organization has a culture, either by design or by default but healthy cultures never happen by accident.  They are created.

Culture is hard to measure but easy to feel.  You know when an organization has a healthy culture, and you can feel when it’s toxic.  Culture is a combination of what you create and what you allow. If you don’t like what you have, change what you tolerate and what you expect.


When I started at Refresh Financial, I used a picture of a bathtub to explain what I was trying to do.  My job was to add hot water so that the level and warmth of the water increased. But I also had to find out what was “draining” the tub, what was killing culture, and to find ways to address those things. Add water, close the drains. That’s the simplest form of what we need to do to strengthen workplace culture.

The word “culture” comes from the Latin “cultus”, which means to “care”.  I love that, because it means my title is literally “Manager of Care”. When people feel genuinely cared for, they respond by coming to work excited to do their best work.


When your culture is strong, it boosts the bottom line.  This blows people’s mind, but investing in a healthy workplace culture pays huge dividends when it comes advancing your mission and reaching your goals.  The results of a Harvard study by Kotter & Heskett show that strong culture boosts net revenues by 756% over an 11 year time period. Look at these incredible numbers that come out of healthy workplace cultures.

51% less turnover (Gallup)

66% fewer sick leaves (Forbes)

125% less burnout (Harvard Business Review)

31% increase in productivity (Greenberg & Arawaka)

37% increase in sales (Martin Seligman)

44% higher retention (Gallup)

And a whopping 300% more innovation (Harvard Business Review)

I think I’ve made my case. Culture matters!

That’s why we have started a Best Practices Culture Shaping Group in the Central Okanagan.  This free, one hour meeting takes place four times a year, and is geared to help culture shaping leaders get better. We have met twice already, with about 40 people attending one or both. This next one will be hosted at Co-Lab on St. Paul on Thursday May 16th at 2pm. If you would like to attend, all you have to do is sign up.

Connect with the author Mike Penninga, Manager of Culture & Public Relations at Refresh Financial

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