Today I read an article that called HR the department responsible “for policing personnel actions and culture.” That struck me as odd.
Culture shouldn’t be policed. Leaders model and nurture it; employees create it.
Culture is the environment and personality of a company. It is the result of thousands of interactions a day between employees in every group at every level.
If the actual culture doesn’t match the stated company culture or values, there is a disconnect that causes confusion – or worse – mistrust. It is fine to aspire to a desired culture as long as you realize 1) the difference, and 2) that you aren’t there yet. Mismatch between the stated and actual culture fools no one.
If no one takes ownership for building and managing culture, culture still happens by default.
HR may do things to encourage culture, but a single department can’t force a culture. HR’s roles are to advise the leadership on issues of culture and to ensure rules and laws relating to personnel are applied correctly.
Some may argue there isn’t much difference between policing and building a culture. I believe there is huge gulf between the two in terms of approach and attitude. Do you want to work for a company where culture is policed or one where culture is intentionally created?