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CPMA Corner - The Influence of Corporate Culture on Business Performance

Corporate culture is a hot-button term. Most companies know that it is important, but what exactly does the term mean for your business? Corporate culture, or organizational culture, encapsulates the beliefs and ideas that a company has, the way in which it affects how it does business, and how its employees behave. The culture of your organization can have a great effect on your employees’ perception of their jobs and the atmosphere they work in, which, ultimately, impacts business performance.

Ron Lemaire, President, CPMAA company’s culture can be defined by its core identity, external image, and employee value, which all work hand-in-hand. Internally, culture should follow the organization’s mission, vision, and values, in that it is used to guide employees’ actions, creating goals and alignment. Externally, the attitudes and behaviors of staff, especially while interacting with customers and the general public, broadcast an image of the organization’s culture. Employees are the building blocks of every organization. They want to be appreciated for their work, a simple—yet often forgotten—practice that defines attitudes and shapes culture. Together, these factors work jointly, similar to relations in a Venn diagram, to influence and establish corporate culture.

The benefits of a strong organizational culture are wide-ranging when best practices are in place. A clear identity leads to strong direction, allowing employees to better establish their roles within their company. A sense of value felt among staff members increases their commitment and loyalty to the organization, fosters team chemistry, and results in less employee turnover—meaning fewer resources expended to hire and train staff. Furthermore, customers can easily recognize when they’re doing business with an organization with exceptional culture by the attitudes of employees and overall clarity in business transactions. This forms customer loyalty and the brand’s identity. All of these factors working together create a snowball effect of culture enhancement.

“A company’s culture can be defined by its core identity, external image, and employee value, which all work hand-in-hand.”


Culture shifts can be difficult and take time, but the benefits of undertaking culture exercises sooner rather than later will help a company to obtain return on its investment more quickly. Research findings have shown that building a winning culture requires five key steps: setting expectations, aligning leaders, creating accountability for delivery, implementing organization‐wide consistency, and communicating and celebrating.

Successful corporate cultures tend to display six key behaviors: high aspirations for professional development, fulfillment, and successes; a focus on customer satisfaction and superiority over competitors; a sense of ownership in the work they do; a propensity to act quickly; valuing collaboration across all levels of the company; and striving for the exceptional.

To this end, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) has partnered with Waterstone Human Capital to offer our members the opportunity to assess their corporate culture at a heavily-discounted rate through a fully confidential process. The Waterstone Culture Dashboard™ is an employee survey that is designed to help organizations identify and articulate their culture and benchmark it against the behaviors that drive winning cultures—specifically, those of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures™.

All CPMA member organizations, including those outside of Canada, are able to take part in this process and have the opportunity to win the CPMA Corporate Culture Award by completing their assessment with Waterstone. The organization with the top performing culture will be named CPMA’s first annual Corporate Culture Award winner at the 2019 CPMA Convention and Trade Show in Montreal, Quebec, from April 2nd through 4th. CPMA looks forward to fostering winning corporate cultures in the produce industry and celebrating successful cultures.

Contributing Author

President, Canadian Produce Marketing Association