Culture reporting research: Introduction

Posted in White Papers, Reporting and Engagement on 5 March 2019 By Darryl Mead, Head of Employee Communications and Engagement

A whopping 80% of leaders in a recent PwC global culture survey said their organisation’s culture must evolve in the next five years for their company to succeed, grow and retain the best people. 

Having a unique culture that people talk about is no longer the domain of clever tech start-ups, Google or Airbnb. It’s for every business. And all stakeholder groups. Investors, customers, suppliers, partners and employees all have a vested interest in how companies do business.

However, believing culture to be important and being committed to defining and measuring culture appear to be at odds with each other.

Emperor has researched 75 annual reports to understand how companies are currently reporting on the role and importance of culture in supporting and driving business success. We looked across FTSE 100, FTSE 250, different sectors and markets.

This is the first in a series of articles where we'll share our research findings. We have identified five key themes from our analysis, and over the next five weeks we'll share tips for understanding and shaping your culture and how to report on your progress against each part of our research.

What is culture?

Before we begin, we should share our definition of culture. Culture is the character and personality of your organisation. It's what makes your business unique. The sum of your values, behaviours, systems, practices, beliefs, traditions, interactions and attitudes.

Some of it is visible and acknowledged, some of it is not. Culture is not ‘soft’, it’s everyone’s responsibility and, importantly, it’s not too hard to measure.

Why is culture important now?

Most C-Suite and board members view culture as a critical strategic topic; in fact, 65% say culture is more important to performance than an organisation’s strategy or business model1.

Other factors are driving a focus on culture as a business driver such as:

New FRC Corporate Governance Code requirements2 – companies are now required to report on culture, purpose and employee engagement and, specifically, how those things are driving and influencing decision-making.

Culture attracts talent – candidates evaluate an employer using culture as one of the many measures of whether they should join and thrive.

• Culture drives engagement – creating a great place to work. Or not, if it’s not nurtured.

• Culture also drives performance – stronger cultures outperform their competitors financially – whether that’s through lower recruitment costs, higher productivity or more sales.

• Culture drives innovation, with many companies ‘transforming’ – how people work and connect creates ideas and growth. It’s not a new concept, in fact, way back in 2008 ScienceDaily3 reported that culture is the most important factor in driving innovation.

Follow our culture reporting research

Over the next few weeks we'll be releasing the findings of our research and tackling the topics that matter:

  1. Leadership

  2. Performance and strategic progress

  3. Measuring and demonstrating culture

  4. Alignment and linkage to business model

  5. Engagement and employee voice

To receive the full research findings, email Sarah Eklund at [email protected].



1. 2018 PwC Culture survey
2. FRC Corporate Governance Code
3. ScienceDaily



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