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Recap of CultureCon 2023 - 5 Key Takeaways

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

With a Certificate of Commendation from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, CultureCon 2023 became the largest event in CultureCon's history. Hosted in Madison, Wisconsin, over 500 attendees participated from across five countries and 33 different states. Individuals represented companies of all shapes, sizes and industries. Regardless of company role or title, we rallied behind our shared, collective mission of co-creating a better world of work.

Through debriefs with conference stakeholders, we've zeroed in on a few core themes, lessons learned and growth opportunities to expand our mission.

Here is our recap of CultureCon 2023, broken out into 5 Key Takeaways...

1. Having a Leader's "Heartset"

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, where technology and business strategies seem to change overnight, there's an often undiscussed truth: leading with heart and embracing vulnerability can have a profound impact on organizational success. When leaders prioritize empathy, compassion and authenticity, they create an environment where personal connections flourish, fostering a stronger sense of unity and purpose among team members.

When team members witness their leaders' willingness to admit mistakes and ask for help when needed, it erases the fear of failure and fosters an atmosphere of continuous improvement.

Gone are the days when leadership solely relied on a strict hierarchical structure. Modern leaders who infuse their roles with emotional intelligence and vulnerability inspire trust and loyalty among employees. By showing their own authentic selves, leaders make it acceptable for others to do the same, encouraging open communication and collaboration. This authenticity not only humanizes leaders, but also encourages a culture of mutual respect and understanding. When team members witness their leaders' willingness to admit mistakes and ask for help when needed, it erases the fear of failure and fosters an atmosphere of continuous improvement. In this way, leading with the heart and embracing vulnerability isn't just a management strategy; it's a powerful catalyst for organizational growth, connectivity and performance.

2. Social Impact x Workplace Culture

The convergence of social impact and a positive workplace culture has emerged as a transformative force that holds immense potential for both businesses and their employees. This harmonious partnership not only enhances business performance but also contributes to the overall wellbeing of the workforce, creating a win-win scenario that fuels long-term success.

At its core, a strong commitment to social impact, such as environmental sustainability or community engagement, aligns a company's values with its actions, inspiring a sense of purpose that resonates throughout the organization. When employees see their efforts contributing to a greater good, their engagement and motivation soar. This, in turn, translates into improved business performance, as dedicated and passionate employees drive innovation, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Moreover, the integration of social impact initiatives fosters a positive workplace culture built on collaboration, empathy, and shared values. Employees are more likely to feel proud of their organization's contributions beyond profits, creating a sense of belonging that bolsters their mental and emotional wellbeing.

3. Embracing Diversity in Hiring

Embracing diversity goes beyond meeting quotas; it's a strategic decision that holds the power to transform workplaces into thriving hubs of innovation, productivity, and inclusivity. When organizations commit to hiring and onboarding individuals from various backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, they create a rich tapestry that not only mirrors the global community but also redefines the very essence of success.

Diverse teams bring a multitude of viewpoints to the table, leading to more well-rounded and informed decision-making processes. This diversity of thought helps in identifying blind spots, fostering creativity and preventing groupthink. An inclusive workplace that values diversity becomes a magnet for top talent, as individuals from various walks of life feel respected and valued. This, in turn, contributes to higher employee satisfaction and retention rates.

As the collective pool of knowledge and experiences expands, so does the potential for groundbreaking innovations. When individuals with different viewpoints collaborate, they challenge each other's assumptions, leading to unique solutions that might otherwise remain undiscovered.

4. Crafting a Compelling Employer Brand

In today's competitive job market, an organization's employer brand is a beacon that guides the journey from talent identification through recruiting and onboarding. A robust employer brand isn't just a marketing buzzword; it's a powerful asset that shapes perceptions, attracts the right talent and sets the stage for long-term success. When organizations invest in defining and cultivating a compelling employer brand, they gain a strategic advantage that resonates at every stage of the talent lifecycle.

From the initial talent identification phase, a strong employer brand can act as a magnet, drawing in potential candidates who align with the company's values, mission and culture. It provides a window into what it's like to work within the organization, helping candidates self-select based on their affinity with the brand. During the recruiting process, an authentic employer brand can streamline the selection process by attracting candidates who are genuinely excited about the opportunity and are more likely to become dedicated, long-term employees. As the journey progresses to onboarding, a well-defined employer brand ensures a seamless transition for new hires, as they already have an understanding of the company's ethos and expectations. This creates a sense of belonging from day one, contributing to higher engagement, lower turnover rates, and ultimately, a workforce that is aligned with the company's mission.

5. Finding Your People

There's an undeniable allure to connecting with individuals who share our passions and interests. However, the transformative power of being part of a community of like-minded individuals goes beyond mere companionship; it's a source of inspiration, growth, and profound change. When we find our people, a space where our interests are not only accepted but celebrated, something magical happens...

Whether its in or outside of work, being in community with kindred spirits provides a unique platform for personal, professional and collective growth. As we exchange ideas, stories and experiences with those who resonate on the same wavelength, we're exposed to fresh perspectives and diverse insights. The shared enthusiasm fuels our creativity and encourages us to push boundaries, ultimately leading to individual transformation which we carry with us into work. Moreover, the support and encouragement that flow within such communities can be truly empowering. In times of doubt or challenge, having a network of like-minded individuals who understand our struggles and aspirations can provide the boost needed to persevere and overcome obstacles.



This recap is inspired by personal stories and reflections from CultureCon 2023 attendees including:

About Us:

As a Certified B Corporation®, CultureCon is on a mission to inspire positive change around organizational culture. Through large conferences, certification programs, online courses, and consulting services, we deliver experiences that provide practical tools and motivation for our customers to influence cultural change within their organizations. Our customers include business owners, CxOs, HR leaders, senior management, individual contributors, and anyone who wants to build more uplifting, inspiring, and healthy workplaces.

We invite you to join our community of #CultureGeeks and support the movement towards more uplifting, fulfilling, and healthier workplaces.

CultureCon 2024

Tickets are now on sale for CultureCon 2024, taking place on August 28th and 29th in Madison, Wisconsin. Grab your tickets today to connect with fellow Culture Geeks and learn from global executives and #CultureGeeks at companies including Google, LinkedIn, Strava, Gallup, Universal Music Group, Reebok, Harvard Business Publishing, Cisco, Hallmark, IBM, Western Digital, US Bank, Venture Well, and many human-centered organizations.

Photo Credit

Special thanks to Hedi Rudd of Hedi Lamarr Photography for beautifully capturing the essence of CultureCon 2023.


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