Organizational culture. How can it help you?

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Chinese culture, English culture... organizational culture?

cultura-organizationalaWe spend around 50 hours or more working every week. A lot of us spend more time with our job colleagues than with our own families. Even now, when the pandemic outbreak reshaped the way people interact with one another, and often we communicate from a distance, the synergy of a team is an important factor that determines the success of an organization.

When the majority of team members say that the time spent at the workplace is pleasant, and through their work, they feel that they add value to their life or improve the world in some way, positive behaviors and attitudes grow roots and spread across the organization, like a set of best practices. In the case in which the majority of the team members have a feeling of frustration when doing their job, this reflects in their behaviors and moreover, these behaviors spread across the whole organization like a plague.

The organizational culture is based on the values that people have, and it is represented by the sum of peoples’ behaviors. Basically, it contains all those things related to the expression “this is how we do it”. From a macro perspective of the term culture, we can affirm for example that in the Chinese culture it is polite to refuse a gift up to three times before accepting it, and you have to eat the rice with sticks instead of a fork. Referring to the term culture from the micro perspective of a team or an organization, we can observe that these types of customs exist as written rules or as unwritten/informal habits. At the same time, organizational culture is defined by what people believe and feel towards their working environment and relationships between colleagues.

Any group develops a set of behaviors that are transmitted further on and to which new members of the group have to adapt in order to be accepted. As the group increases in size or age, the organizational culture becomes richer and more developed.

As I stated above, in the same way, we can discuss the Chinese culture, we can talk about the culture of your organization. But why is the organizational culture so important? Why should you invest time, money, or other resources to develop it? Here are some reasons:

A strong organizational culture attracts the right people to your team.

cultura-organizationala-motivareImagine a rural community in which all inhabitants are people are hard-working people that cultivate their land, have beautiful houses, take care of their property and their family. What happens if in the community moves a family that is exactly the opposite – doesn’t work, have a messy yard, doesn’t take care of their property and family members? Probably that family will become a shame for the community that most people will want to erase and family members would have small chances to influence other people with their behaviors.

Let’s assume that the situation would be the other way around. In a community where most of the people are lazy, they don’t take care of their houses and they refuse to work, moves in a family of hard-working people that cultivate the land, have a beautiful house and an amazing garden. How they will be mentioned in people’s gossips? Will other people feel envious of them? Will the children of the newcomers have a high chance to influence the behaviors of other kids?

If in a group there's a critical individual or people who have similar behaviors, this group influences the behaviors of other members in a direct or indirect way. If you establish the values of the organization, a set of best practices, and then you implement them in every operational process and communicate them with consistency, you will attract in interviews people who identify with your organizational culture. People that are a match for your team will wish to join your organization without other efforts from your side and this brings an extraordinary added value.

A strong organizational culture can increase the talent retention rate.

How probably is that a talented person will stay in your company if they don’t feel good in their work environment? What will stop that person to accept a slightly better-paid job at another company? Organizational culture is one of the key components that influence the loyalty of the members of your team.

If people will find in your organization colleagues with whom they resonate with and projects in which they find meaning, the retention rate will increase. Take into account that the organizational culture that you like does not always appear naturally. Sometimes it is necessary to be created from scratch and after that nurtured through activities like identifying values, mentorship programs, setting the necessary skills and behavioral pattern for each role, creating clear recruiting and induction processes, building a career plan, ambassadors that can promote the best practices in the organization.

The right organizational culture can increase productivity.

cultura-organizationala-productivitateMost of us want to be productive in our daily projects. If we are managers, we wish that people from our team have initiative and a high productivity. According to a Gallup study in 2019, approximately 22 million employees in the United States declare that they have an extremely negative mood at work or that they are “completely demotivated”. Another 40 million say that they aren’t motivated enough to work at their full potential. This means that almost 18% of employees are totally demotivated and another 32% work under their potential. The material loss from this low productivity is estimated to reach up to 200 billion dollars annually.

The organizational culture from your company can be the fuel for intrinsic motivation and also an external motivation factor that can calibrate someone’s behaviors when they are in dissonance with the goals of the company. Basically, a powerful organizational culture contributes to the increase of productivity and therefore helps to generate a higher profit ratio.

The culture of the organization can change the meaning of “work”.

Many people associate “work” with something negative. I often encountered people to which work means only effort, a rigid schedule, constraints, discomfort. In other words, work is a sort of punishment and this happens mainly because they aren’t in the right place, they don’t have a purpose for what they do, or don’t know what activities suit their skills and personality. When you create a strong organizational culture that is attractive for the people you target to have in your organization, you will manage to change the perspective that people in your team have over “going to work”.

How can you start building a strong organizational culture?

cultura-organizationala-start​Brightway® consultants developed an audit process of your existing culture and a complex consultancy system that helps you to set a powerful organizational culture. If you want to start to work on your own, you can address the following questions:

  • ✓ How do the products and services of your organization improve people’s lives? How do they contribute to making a better world?
  • ✓ What are the main values that are important for people to have in order to achieve the results you expect from them?
  • ✓ What are the main 10 best practices with the help of which your organization produces high quality products and services?
  • ✓ What are the top attitudes and behaviors that you wish people to have in the relationships within the team and outside the team with business partners?

You have to be aware that you need the help of your colleagues to build the organizational culture that you desire. After you structured the answers to the questions above, build a team of at least five colleagues that share your beliefs. Or even better, you can involve them in the process from the beginning, and answer the questions together.

They will be your ambassadors of change who are empowered to implement values and best practices across the organization. Start with the processes that bring added value to the company and also with the selection criteria of new employees. Don’t forget to inspire the behaviors that you want also in an informal way through team building events, creative workshops, transparency, and by encouraging people to build quality relationships.

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