This is the header image for the BPS Security article titled, “How Company Culture Affects Security”.

How Company Culture Affects Security

This time of year, we expect an influx of cheer… and while some deliver that with bells on, others may need a little visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past! Now, before you continue, you may be wondering, ‘What does this have to do with security?!” The short answer — everything. See, when it comes to security, company culture (which includes overall morale) plays a MAJOR role. So below, we are putting the silly holiday references on the backburner and show you how company culture affects security.

What is Company Culture?

“Company culture” is a buzz phrase right now (thanks to Silicon Valley and the woke CEOs). However, much like the Keto diet, it is here to stay, and not a fad.

According to Indeed, company culture can be broken into three categories that share a common denominator— a clear vision, mission, and list of values. See their definitions below:

  • “Leadership company culture: A business with a leadership-focused company culture supports employee growth and focuses on helping them succeed in their field. They tend to have great mentorship and coaching programs in place to help employees develop their skills and offer opportunities for advancement (e.g., internal promotions, job rotation programs, tuition reimbursement, seminars and workshops).”
  • “Traditional company culture: In a traditional business culture, everyone is typically expected to adhere to strict rules set by the company, including dress codes, company procedures and organizational hierarchy. As opposed to a more casual company culture, traditional company cultures are often more formal and corporate in nature (e.g, suit and tie).”
  • “Innovative or adhocracy company culture: Innovative or adhocracy company culture focuses on development and innovation. Tech startups are a great example of this type of company culture. It sets aside the strict pattern of communication in traditional cultures, implements easy communication of ideas and accepts individuality and ingenuity from all parts of the company. People with strong creativity often work well in this kind of business culture.”

Setting a Clear Vision, Mission, and Set of Company Values

In the above definitions of company culture, one is not necessarily better than the other. Why? Well, every single human being is different! Therefore, their wants and goals, along with their favorite ways to achieve are all different. That is where a company’s vision, mission, and set of values come in!

The vision and mission statement will help clearly identify a company’s current direction and goals. Whereas, according to Indeed, the company values, “Company values are the center of a company’s culture. While the mission, vision and goal express the purpose of the organization, values serve as behavioral guidelines and shape the mindset of your employees, giving them a purpose.”

A company’s values will help a potential (or current) employee see if their personality and driving forces will jive with the company! This is the cornerstone of how company culture affects security.

The 3 Major Issues Affecting Security

There are three primary problems to consider.

  1. Internal Theft
  2. Ability to Identify Threat
  3. Fostering Open Communication

Internal Theft

According to Loss Prevention Magazine, “Employee theft, also known as internal theft, occurs when employees steal from the organization where they are employed. Retailers that participated in the 2018 NRSS say that employee/internal theft amounted to 33.2 percent of inventory shrink in 2017, a slight increase over 2016’s 30 percent. The report also found that the average loss of dishonest employee cases decreased from $1,922.80 to $1,203.16.” Now, this is just looking at retail… below is a graph published in an in-depth risk analysis by Willis North America.

This is a pie graph from Willis North America that shows the percentage of employee theft by industry. This image is used in the BPS Security article titled, “How Company Culture Affects Security”.
Photo Credit by Willis North America

In this graph, you can clearly see how different business sectors were affected by theft in 2015. Retail only accounts for 6%.

This is where company culture comes in! In a nut shell, if an employee feels valued, supported, heard, encouraged to grow, and loves their company, the likelihood that they would steel will drastically decrease!

Ability to Identify Theft

There are two ways to combat this! First off, within a company’s core values, clearly stating the importance of security (especially in a retail environment), will help put security at the forefront.

The second way to combat this is by having extremely detailed procedures when/if a threat is spotted. (Now, this does not mean that every single person within a company should know exactly how the infrastructure of their cyber security works — that could/would backfire.) However, this will help employees feel empowered to speak up if they think there is a threat.

Fostering Open Communication

Let’s give you an example. Think back to when you were a child. How likely did you want to speak up if you thought you would get in trouble, bother your caretaker, or flat out be ignored? (Now obviously, this depends on the personality (you could have been a unicorn and not cared)!

This may not be so severe when the kid wants to ask for ice cream before dinner (they probably know the answer). However, it can be catastrophic when a child is experiencing or witnessing things like abuse (emotional/physical/sexual), neglect, kidnapping, murder, etc.

According to the Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families, one of the best ways to help prevent child abuse is by, “Teach[ing] children their rights. When children are taught they are special and have the right to be safe, they are less likely to think abuse is their fault, and more likely to report an offender.”

Frankly, adults are the same! People will report situations if they feel as though they have the right to be safe! Thus, fostering that feeling within a company is mandatory. To do so, the employees need to trust their leaders, understand the company values, and identify with them!

How to Improve Company Culture

Frankly, company culture is similar to working out. Trying to implement and foster company culture for one day will have zero impact! It takes time and dedication.
This photo is of a man shoving a wod of cash into their jean pocket. This image is used in the BPS Security article titled, “How Company Culture Affects Security”.

There are many programs and classes to help foster better company culture, and it starts from the top. Hiring individuals like Tenice Weyhmeyer to provide a company culture overhaul and workshop, and/or business events/retreats like The Grow Retreat are great ways to start.

Final Thoughts

For many companies, security is often a concern but is usually placed on the back burner until they have a problem. Avoid the problem (or at least put measures in place to help avoid/minimize a problem) by looking at your security and identifying major security gaps. Since you are now well aware that company culture affects security, make sure it is on the list of your security gaps!

Want to learn more about security gaps? Contact us today and we will provide a FREE security gap report!
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