The Importance of Getting Your Corporate Culture Right
Every organization has a corporate culture. However, this culture can be something that draws people in and something that retains people within the organization, but it can just as easily be a true repellent for potentially fantastic employees. Get your corporate culture right, and you will see increased productivity and creativity. Get it wrong, however, and you will see higher levels of sick leaves, greater staff turn over and generally unhappy feelings. Clearly, it is very important that leadership and management are completely aware of what the current corporate culture is, and what they can do in order to improve it.
First of all, any organization should be able to identify and define their corporate culture. This starts, however, by defining exactly what an organization would like their culture to be.
“In a new company where the leadership has a lot of involvement in the operations of the business, the leadership on its own can design the culture it is committed to and see to it that the company is built on those values. In a larger and more mature enterprise, this is a much more difficult process and she recommends having key stakeholders involved with the process.” Corporate Culture Matters: Is Yours Good, Bad, or Ugly?
Once this has been completed, it is time to start defining what the culture actually is. This will then highlight the differences between the reality and the dream, and will allow an action plan or strategy to be created to make changes. This is, naturally, the hardest part of all, because changing a culture often takes a shift of consciousness.
How To Properly Assess Your Current Culture
It is difficult to get your arms around the current state of your corporate culture let alone how to improve it unless you have some baseline data of where you currently are now. The most effective way to do that is to properly assess your organization. For decades the DiSC Assessment has been used to not only provide feedback on your current culture but also provide you with individualized strategies to improve that current culture. The best DiSC Assessment to assess your entire organization, regardless of everyone’s positions or roles, is the Everything DiSC Workplace Profile.
In addition to getting valuable behavioral data on all the participants you can, at the conclusion of the assessment process, run a group report of the entire organization. The group report provides an individualized composite of your particular group’s DiSC Styles and how your group’s DiSC Styles can impact your organization’s culture. The report allows you to easily determine a group’s DiSC culture, explore its advantages and disadvantages, discuss its effect on group members, and examine its influence on decision making and risk taking. In addition, the non-threatening language and personalized results makes it easier to get group consensus about the improvement plan. There is also an Everything DiSC Workplace Profile Training Kit available for those organizations that wish to take post-assessment training to the next level and jump start improving their corporate culture.
Identifying a Bad Culture
Creating a positive organizational culture is always important, but never more so than if your current culture is truly poor. However, identifying this may be difficult, particularly because humans are creatures of habits, and a bad culture, albeit not something that they enjoy, can be something they get used to and accept. As with all things in an organization, the first place to look for signs of a poor culture is within leadership and management.
“Your leadership is the best indicator of the entire organization and so employees’ bad tempers, sloppiness, lack of collaboration, and general attitude provide valuable insight into the health of the company.”
Weekly Wrap: How You Know You Have a Bad Corporate Culture
The reality is that management is the responsible body for getting things right. They are at the top of the pyramid and have to lead by example. Too many still focus on a feeling of hierarchy, where they believe that what they say goes, rather than actually considering what the rest of the staff wants. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for managers to be on a type of power trip that has to be broken through.
“Very often Managers/Directors will dislike the culture they operate within, but stay in their position because of the personal financial hold or because of their long term conditioning. They don’t have the courage to say the culture is wrong. To stand up and say, our employees should not have to behave or be treated in such a manner.” Organizational Culture – Good or Bad is Created by the Leadership
There are a few other signs as well. Staying with management, should you notice that your leaders do not want to get down to the grass roots level, something is amiss in your company. If, as well, you notice that your employees are competing with each other more than with the actual competition, there is something wrong in your company. Finally, a company that has no “play time”, a period when employees just have a bit of fun, or take part in team building exercises, is generally a company that has a poor corporate culture.
Getting It Right
The key to creating a positive corporate culture is flexibility. Most companies offer some form of flexibility within their company, but too many of them get this wrong. The flexibility that is often offered is only available for women who have just had babies, because companies see this flexibility as an incentive for these women to stay. What they fail to understand, however, is that this same flexibility is an incentive to stay (and be more productive) for any employee, regardless of their gender, religion, age or sexual orientation. Flexibility should be a strategic decision that everyone in the company should be able to benefit from.
“Flexibility isn’t a benefit, it’s a strategic business plan that can lead to a leaner, more productive workplace that responds to changes in markets, client needs, and external factors while reducing healthcare (less stress means better health) and some fixed costs (if not everyone works at the same time, fewer desks are needed.)”
How Changing Corporate Culture Is Good for Business and Employees
Of course, it isn’t all about flexibility. There are various other things that need addressing when a full culture has to be changed. What is very important is that this new culture is not imposed, but rather agreed upon by everybody involved. Everyone across the board should have a say in how they feel the culture could be improved, and they should also be able to opt in or out of different schemes individually. This conversation is never-ending. It should be part of your strategy to review it every year, in order to make sure it is always relevant and up-to-date. Doing this in itself is a positive culture change that shows employee engagement.
Finally, a strong focus should be on training. The world is truly becoming a global market, and this requires specific skills at every level of the organization. Grass roots people have to be able to work together with people who are based on the other side of the planet. Managers need to learn how to effectively lead remote locations. This requires a new set of skills and a good organization will provide the training needed for this. However, this is once again a two-way conversation, where everybody involved identifies needs and suggests what sort of training could be beneficial, rather than imposing a type of training that not everybody will benefit from. The biggest possible positive culture change is one where everybody has a voice.