Focus On Corporate Culture To Empower Employees And Drive Growth

June 21, 2023

By Razan Akrouk, VP – Brand, Culture & Sustainability, GMG

Building a strong brand and customer loyalty are critical to the success of any business. However, it’s equally important for companies to invest in their people to boost employee retention and loyalty. After all, a company’s employees are the backbone of its operations, and the connection they feel to its vision and mission has broad ramifications for its growth and success.

While most organizations recognize the value of investing in their people, they often lack a coherent strategy to pivot their employees into the company’s overall objective. This is where a company’s corporate culture comes in.

Corporate culture defines a set of shared ideals, principles, attitudes, and behaviors that characterize a company and direct its employees in every aspect of their job. The best definition in our case for corporate culture would be: when our values come to life through a set of behaviors driven by a born-to-win attitude to create a proud-to-partner sentiment.

I believe GMG represents a successful homegrown model of how an organization can leverage an effective corporate culture to drive innovation, creativity, and growth. Starting with a single butcher shop over 45 years ago, GMG has grown into a global conglomerate, expertly overseeing a smooth succession while managing some of the biggest international brands in our target markets. In that time, GMG has evolved a unique culture that focuses on the employee experience while rooted in our Emirati/Arab heritage.

GMG is in the middle of a massive global expansion plan. The company recently acquired aswaaq LLC, adding 11 community malls and 22 supermarkets to GMG’s rapidly expanding retail network. In April 2022, GMG acquired Géant operations in the UAE, incorporating 18 new hypermarket and supermarket outlets. GMG is also looking to increase its Egyptian workforce by ten times in the next four years, adding more than 1,000 people. The company also aims to open 100 new stores by 2025 to support its ambitious Southeast Asia expansion plans. All these acquisitions and expansion plans are landmark achievements; to succeed and sustain our growth, we had to engineer a shared vision that connects the entire organization, including the new entrants. We have learned that communication is vital to seamlessly integrating different cultures throughout a diversified organization. This can help new employees understand the company’s direction and feel part of a shared mission. Additionally, encouraging teamwork between new and existing employees helps forge stronger relationships and break down silos.

Investing in your workforce is more than a feel-good gesture. It should be instilled in your organization’s DNA with the ultimate aim of empowering your employees to be better versions of themselves every day. This should inspire employee retention and loyalty, which directly and positively impacts the bottom line.

Moreover, a robust corporate culture should also define the company’s relationship with the community it serves. In today’s world, that means building a sustainable business that protects and enhances the health and well-being of communities, customers, and the planet. Such goals must also align with broader objectives, such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to help protect the environment, promote human values, and invest in good employment practices.

And while a winning corporate culture should be built on solid fundamentals, it should be dynamic enough to embrace change, particularly in adapting to the transformative power of technology. Social media, for instance, has massively impacted corporate culture, making employees more aware of and expanding their understanding of the importance of work-life balance. Companies invest more in employee well-being, recognizing that happy, healthy employees are more productive and engaged. Employers that care about well-being show that their employees are 71% less likely to experience burnout and 3x times more engaged at work (Gallup, 2022).

Ultimately, recognize that corporate culture is not a destination; it’s a continuous work in progress.