Analysing culture Strategic HR
companies (the FRC code
applies to premium listed firms).
“You’ve also got the Financial
Conduct Authority… culture has been
its number one thing for the past three
years,” reports Sue Jex, a director at
Grant Thornton as well as its people,
culture and organisation lead. “So
you’ve not only got a new corporate
governance code, you’ve got this
recognition across the various
touch points into organisations that
‘actually you really need to look at
“And none of them are saying ‘this is
a good culture and this is a bad culture’.
They’re talking about alignment to
business goals, alignment to strategy –
which is as it should be,” she adds,
regarding the more nuanced and valueadding
way boards are now being
encouraged to approach the area.
Measuring to death
Which all sounds marvellous. So why
Jones’ doom-mongering? The answer:
because boards and investors like to
quickly grasp governance issues and
are used to doing so on other fronts –
finance and risk for example. And
because the FRC’s requirement to
‘assess and monitor’ culture could do
untold damage, according to Jones.
“NEDs get bombarded with paper
before meetings and they’re now
meant to get a feel for the culture.
Well they’re not going to are they?”
he says. “They say ‘I need something
I can look at before the meeting so
give me a dashboard or a measure’.
But ‘the culture is 57%’ is going to be
Jones is certainly not alone in his
concerns. “I’m sceptical about the
measuring culture industry,” agrees Inji
Duducu, people director, reward and
employee services at Morrisons.
“People are looking for quick fixes and
simplicity in something that is
inherently complex. Increasingly,
driven by corporate governance, they’re
looking to be able to demonstrate that.
But that’s like trying to measure love.”
Like Duducu, Jones worries about
suppliers and consultants leading HR
hrmagazine.co.uk November 2019 HR 17