A strong organisational culture is crucial to the success of the business. Yet, organisations often overlook the importance of having a strong organisational culture. In fact, research from TeamStage showed that while 82% of surveyed people feel that a strong organisational culture is a competitive advantage, fewer than one-third (28%) of business leaders truly grasp their organisation’s culture.
What is organisational culture?
As defined by Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), organisational culture consists of shared beliefs and values established by leaders and then “communicated and reinforced through various methods”. These methods then shape employee perceptions, behaviours and understanding, creating the definition of the proper way to behave within the organisation.
Benefits of a strong organisational culture
A strong organisational culture has the potential to maximise employee’s engagement and improve retention rates while attracting talent. Unlike certain functions such as sales and marketing which reap tangible financial benefits, a strong organisational culture seeps into the daily lives of employees and contributes to the foundation of a highly engaged and productive workforce. According to research by TeamStage, it found that satisfied employees are 12% more productive than the average worker. The same report also found that organisations that cultivate a positive and strong workplace culture could potentially see a 400% growth in revenue.
Here are 5 ways to build a strong organisational culture:
Create an organisational culture that employees wants
An organisational culture is only effective when it is in line with both corporate values and goals, and employees’ needs. The first step is to understand what employees want as part of the organisational culture. A flexible work culture? An open communication environment between managers and employees? Gather employees’ preferences through various channels such as focus groups, pulse surveys or anonymous feedback channels. Use these feedback to deep dive and analyse what truly matters to employees and key factors that motivate them at work. These insights will subsequently form the basis in which the organisational culture will be built upon.
Positioning employees for success
A strong organisational culture is one that is positioned to help employees achieve their goals from the beginning. This can be done by providing employees with the necessary tools to help them thrive throughout their entire employee lifecycle. For example, a mentor-mentee programme helps new hires and junior staff to assimilate into the organisation, and such programmes can form part of the organisational culture. Similarly, creating a unique career trajectory or career development roadmap for each employee is a great way to engage employees and incorporate that as part of the organisation’s culture.
Identifying specific employee aspects that creates value
Calling out specifically how each employee career level or segment can contribute to the overall organisational culture is more impactful than having a generalised one-culture-fits-all within the organisation. This helps employees to identify the relevant segment or group that they fall under and recognise their role in contributing to the organisational culture. For instance, creating dedicated people manager handbooks or having regular manager training programmes help to instill the necessary skills and behaviours that are critical to the overall culture. This then equips managers with the right competencies to guide employees and cascade the organisational culture down to the every single employee.
Make employees a part of the organisational culture
The organisational culture is shaped based on employees’ behaviours, needs and wants. Hence, it is integral that employees are involved in the formation of the organisational culture. Consistently communicate to employees the value of the organisational culture and their efforts in making the building blocks of the culture. Incorporate their opinions, feedback, and ideas. This helps to reinforce the fact that they are an important part of the organisation and cultivates their sense of belonging.
Have an adaptable organisational culture
Employees’ preferences, needs and wants change all the time. Similarly, the organisation’s culture should be flexible and adaptable based on employees’ preferences as well as external factors. For example, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has shown that organisations who adapt and evolve with market conditions are the ones which were able to tide through that period of uncertainty. Similarly, an organisational culture needs to grow and evolve with the changing mindsets and market conditions in order to sustain a highly engaged and motivated workforce.