If you ask the most successful companies of the world what is the one thing that gives them the edge over their competition, the majority would say that it is their organisational culture. Having a strong organisational culture encourages and enables the companies to take on and win more challenging challenges. Not only that, but it also boosts employee retention and productivity because employees are more satisfied with their work environment and their role in it. So how can you cultivate your company’s organisational culture?
Cultivating your organisation’s culture starts from within. It starts with you. You must decide what values and beliefs you want to be reflected and expressed within your organisation. This means having a clear vision about how your company wants to operate and what it expects of its people. These values cannot be imposed from the top down, they must start with the values and beliefs of your own people.
Once you have decided on the values to be conveyed and your organisation’s culture, you need to be consistent in them. It’s not enough to say ‘we believe X’ every time, people will become confused and may begin to question your priorities and the validity of your statements. A good way to ensure that your culture and values are shared and understood is to hold company events that reflect and promote these values. For example, you might conduct employee charity balloting or Christmas presentations. Encourage customers to share their experiences with you through customer interviews or forum discussions.
Once you’ve decided on the culture and values of your organisation, make sure that your people are trained on how to live and work according to these values. Be careful, though, not to intolerance people for having different beliefs. Allow them to participate and communicate without any criticism. By allowing people to voice their opinions, you can quickly see which ideas and concerns are being taken seriously and which are not.
To sustain and grow your business, you must be willing to adapt your organisational culture to changing times. Cultures, too, can change with times; how they used to be and how they are perceived by individual members of staff, clients and other business partners can change. If you’re looking at creating a more “open” workplace, for example, you should make it clear to all who join your organisation that any personal opinions they might have are not to be discussed within your work place. You need to provide a safe working environment for all. Also, a supportive and cooperative work environment is essential if you want your employees to develop their skills as individuals and develop their ability to work as a team.
To maintain the high standards of conduct that are expected of all staff members and to reap the rewards of a highly skilled and committed workforce, you need to reward those achievements. Rewards don’t always have to be material items. They can be as simple as a special day off or as comprehensive as an end-of-year party or holiday bash. Sometimes rewards are something as simple as an opportunity to be involved in an exciting new business project; other times they are something more meaningful, such as a personalised certificate for a job well done. Either way, the reward is important, as it helps people to recognise when they’ve done well and reward them accordingly.