Having a strong positive organisational culture motivates everyone to do their best work. Businesses with a positive, well defined culture have systems in place and widely shared beliefs that promote employee engagement, performance and productivity. It is important to understand that workplace culture is not only about the behaviour of employees but also about the values the organisation believes in.
“A team is more than a sum of its parts. The best teams invest a tremendous amount of time exploring, shaping and agreeing on a purpose that belongs to them collectively and individually. By contrast, failed teams rarely develop a common purpose. ” Jon R. Katzenbach
What is Organisational culture?
Organisational culture can be defined as the behaviours and values that contribute to the social and psychological environment of an organisation that help to guide its employees. An organisation's culture determines the correct way to behave and interact and also determines how work activities should be carried out.
Organisational culture consists of shared beliefs, values, expectations, assumptions, philosophy and goals that are established by leaders and then communicated and reinforced, ultimately shaping employee perceptions, behaviours and understanding.
The Importance of Organisational Culture
The following are several reasons why organizational culture is important.
· Increased Productivity.
Employees who have shared beliefs, values, expectations and the resources and tools they need to succeed, increase productivity and performance levels overall.
· Improved Engagement.
A work environment that is driven by effective leadership, clear expectations and purpose, inspires employees to be more engaged. Increased engagement drives increased productivity.
· Improved Employee Satisfaction.
A positive organisational culture where employees are valued and respected, means employees are more likely to be happy and satisfied. Satisfied employees develop a strong connection to a business, which in turn creates a positive work atmosphere and improved productivity.
· Positive Team Environment.
Having a strong connection to an organization and its people creates an atmosphere of positivity. Team members who are informed and have a clear understanding of strategy, structures and processes will unify together, helping them work together with purpose, resulting in improved organisational effectiveness.
· Effective Training Programs.
An organisational culture where employees are transitioned into new roles through orientation, training and management programs, helps employees to feel more connected, needed, loyal and show increased satisfaction towards their job. Organisational culture can have a profound appeal on employees and can inspire and help attract and keep your best people.
How Do We Measure Organisational Culture?
How do you measure organisational culture to ensure you realise all its benefits? The following are two of the most common methods that can be implemented to aid in assessing the culture of your organisation.
· Culture surveys
Culture surveys enable organisations to review their beliefs, behaviours, and practices of their company against how they’re perceived by their employees. These surveys are designed to enable organisations to define and diagnose their organisational culture.
· Engagement Surveys
Employee engagement is related to the levels of commitment and enthusiasm employees have towards their organisation and their individual goals. Due to the correlations between organisational culture and employee engagement, engagement surveys are one of the best way to measure ongoing culture. The Gallup Q12 survey is one such example that provides a "Rubik Cube" style view of engagement across teams, role types, locations, tenure, etc.
Ways to improve Organisational Culture
Here are some tried and proven ways of developing a strong positive organisational culture.
· Establish clear and defined organisational values and goals.
Ascertaining your organisational values, goals and behaviours, and communicating these to every employee is crucial. Your values, goals and behaviours construct how your employees will view the company and the company's expectations of them. Understanding what is expected reduces uncertainty and ensures everyone is aligned on how things should be done. Having employees’ goals aligned with organisational goals will enhance dedication and motivation to accomplish objectives.
· Promote Trust
Building trust in your work environment is a key element in a successful organisational culture.
In a high trust culture, employees are not afraid to speak the truth. Promoting trust boosts relationships, improving a team's ability to face uncertainty and change.
· Empower Employees
All employees, no matter what their role is, will drive an organisations success. Empowering employees means giving your team members permission to make decisions and take action within your organization. Empowering employees requires effective communication, clear accountabilities and strategic delegation.
· Encourage Employees
Appreciate and reward great work. When employees perform beyond their expectations, recognize their achievements and reward them. Encouragement boosts employees and motivates them to perform better. And in doing so, reward and recognition can be use to reinforce positive organisational culture behaviours.
· Hear What Your Employees Have to Say
It is important to respect the needs and ideas of employees. Collaboration is essential so be sure to make time and opportunities to listen to employees. By hearing what your employees have to say informally or in a formal forum, you are able to build trust, gauge employee’s motivations and inspire confidence.
· Use Modern Technology
Effective use of modern technology is an important enabler to building an effective organisational culture. Communication platforms, need to be used to reinforce and enable the companies values and behaviours. Slack, Teams, Zoom, Yammer, Jira, Google Apps for Business are examples of such platforms. Once you've defined your organisational culture & behaviours, considering effective use of technology to bring these behaviours to life is crucial.
Culture is the soul of a company. It is the compass that directs a company towards success or failure.
Neglecting organisational culture is not only detrimental to an organisation's growth, but can also be detrimental to a company's brand and future. There are many examples in the public domain at present of organisations facing regulatory consequences related to poor underlying organisational cultures. The culture of your organization impacts everything from productivity and engagement to retention and growth. Through concentrating on your organisations culture, you are providing employees with clear expectations of what your company stands for and how to behave, and providing the best possible environment for your employees and business to thrive.
Collagis is committed to helping businesses like yours to optimise workforce and organisational effectiveness.
We'd love to share with you how we can help you address organisational culture in your workplace.