The answer to most organizational challenges lies in workplace culture. The right company culture shapes your businesses, helps you retain the best talents, boost performance in the long run, and contributes to the overall happiness quotient of your workforce. But don’t just take the word for it, keep reading to find out why we are claiming it to be true.
Before going deeper into it, let us understand what culture generally means.
Culture by definition means ‘the way of life a certain set of people functions and identifies with in present time and space. Institutions, organizations, societies, families, and countries live by their common ideas and beliefs that keep them aligned with their immediate surroundings to cooperate and live in harmony. These beliefs and ideas are diverse and passed on from generation to generation, thus forming a culture to live and function in order with common values. It gives them structure and belongingness to a community and plays a significant role in their growth and development. Without any intact cultural ideologies and a structure, it is quite impossible to live a balanced life.
By definition, workplace culture or organizational culture is no different. Companies that have a unique set of values and beliefs form a culture and attain their common goals together. For a company to succeed it is critical to have a definite work culture. It is the mission, vision, purpose, and values that companies believe in and advocates the same to their employees which eventually gets translated to its customer as well.
There are countless definitions of company culture. Some highlight the core essential features like innovative, performance-based, or customer-centric as its culture. Gallup, however, gives the best and simplest definition, which boils down to "How we do things here" to dilute the ambiguity of the countless definitions of workplace culture. Here, Gallup simply means the process of doing things at a workplace while keeping the core values intact throughout all workplace practices.
Whatever a company's way of doing things is, it forms a culture. And it can result in unprecedented challenges and a haphazard work environment. Therefore, leaders must carefully define the company's culture before creating one so that everyone is on the same page and knows what they are doing and why they are doing it.
One question that most leaders are unable to give a concrete answer to is when they are asked, ‘What is your culture? One of the reasons behind it is that most of them do not start with well-defined cultures and values but advocate the core work ethics or features while they work. Now the problem of not having a proper culture may not hamper initially but can bring hurdles in the long run or any big crisis. And also, impact the overall performance and engagement of the workforce.
We can see the impact of not having a well definite and advocated culture post-Covid-19. Many organizations went remote due to the pandemic but HR leaders were not ready to handle a crisis like this. All the policies and initiatives that worked well for them in the past seemed obsolete during the pandemic.
With remote work taking the center stage, many could not make the right decisions leaving many employees to resign from their jobs. This even resulted in mass resignation over two years. More than 48 million quit their jobs in great resignation in 2021 and no. continue to rise even today. What made this huge number of talent resign voluntarily? Decision makers and HR analytics have many theories and data regarding this. One of the core reasons is employee experience which is directly related to the company culture of an organization.
Employees would have trusted their organizations if they had enough evidence and support from leaders and, more specifically, if they were unified by a strong culture, wouldn't they?
Today the way we live and work has evolved. A good paycheck is not the only criterion for employees to join an organization. It is the overall experience that they have in the workplace. A company with a clear purpose and goals that can create a sense of purpose in its employees is more likely to attract employees. Also, employee recognition, work-life balance, career development, trustworthy management, and a workplace where they get a sense of community building are strong drivers for employees today.
Culture is what motivates and retains talented employees. - Betty Thompson
A toxic workplace culture and disengaged environment are not something employees like to be a part of. A toxic workplace only leads to unhappy employees, unhappy customers, and substandard work. Maintaining a healthy culture is therefore critical for better performance and overall employee experience. And it includes effective communication practices from top to bottom management, good feedback channels, and strong leadership that can keep every aspect of the organization moving in the right direction with strong motivation, values, and purpose.
The success of a company depends on many factors. You can have all the best resources in the world but still, underperform if the right values and workplace practices are not intact in the organization. For example, if the objectives and goals are not well communicated to the staff members, it could result in miscommunication and misunderstanding among the employees and thus leave them unmotivated and unproductive. Or if your employees are not recognized for their efforts, they could eventually lose morale to try harder. Lack of feedback from management is also one of the factors that impact team performance.
Now, for example, imagine a work culture that promotes and encourages open communication, timely employee recognition, and continuous feedback. Do we need to say more?
As the saying goes, one cannot keep others happy if they are happy themselves. A bad work environment cannot contribute to happy employees, which in turn cannot contribute to happy customers. Peers' and managers' internal communication gets translated into how they communicate with customers. For example, an employee resolving a customer complaint without knowing its brand ideologies and practices well can do more harm than good. A good company culture promotes its core values within the workplace as well so that it influences employees’ day-to-day work both internally and externally.
A good organizational culture encourages diverse and innovative ideas among its workforce and develops better problem-solving and decision-making skills. Transparency and openness is the key here. Leaders who encourage a culture where everyone can put forward their perspectives and are also supported to implement new ideas bring better innovation for sustainability and growth in the long run.
Business leaders who want to overcome organizational challenges may benefit from conducting a culture audit. You can start the following changes if your culture is confusing or toxic.
To benefit from a strong company culture, you must identify it correctly, measure it, and regularly monitor it against your organization's performance and experience metrics.
This article is written by Braja Deepon Roy, who is a part of the marketing team at Bigfish Benefits. He actively spends time studying new ideas and trends that can have an impact on workplace cultures as well as binge-listening to psychology and neuroplasticity podcasts. If you have any questions, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
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