Investing in Culture? A Business Case for Leadership Buy-In
Having a strong and healthy culture works wonders for any organisation. Employees emulate the organisation's values, they know how to respond to situations and for all this, they know they will be rewarded. But how does a culture get shaped? It all starts with the founding members and their impact on the organisation’s norms and way of doing things. And then come the values they plan on living by. But as industry trends and the external environment change, so do the expectations and behaviours at the workplace. For example, an organisation that comes under the banking and finance sector may have had a bureaucratic structure that needs to follow ever-changing rules and regulations. This may never change given the nature of work, but it doesn’t mean that employees remain as burdened as they were years ago. And that’s why we get to see companies like Citi engaging their employees with programmes like #BeMore that focusses on talent, learning, and diversity to ensure they thrive at work.
But what’s most interesting about this programme is the fact that it is CEO sponsored and not HR-branded. This goes to show that for any culture building initiative to thrive, it is important to get the buy-in of leadership.
What Shapes Organisational Culture
For an organisation, culture is what moulds behaviours, and eventually earns a solid reputation in the market. This cannot be built in a day, or even months, but in fact requires continuous meticulous planning, execution and sustenance strategies as well. This includes many different factors like a hiring process to find aligned candidates, onboarding programmes that make the employees feel welcome, reward and recognition programs that help motivate employees and performance management programmes which are aimed at outlining employee expectation and receiving feedback from them as well.
While employees appreciate such programmes at the workplace, they are mentally even more at ease and motivated to do better because of the benefits and perks that come with the job - over and above their salaries. Flexibility in terms of work hours; health and wellness support that comes with gym memberships, therapy sessions, health insurance; financial benefits like pension plans, paid maternity, paternity or parental leave or periodic bonuses; and other lifestyle perks like food & beverage coupons, club activities, vacation time etc. - all this contributes towards boosting the organisational culture.
Monitoring Culture for Healthier Sustenance
Analysing the impact of these perks and privileges on employee behaviour and work is necessary in order to sustain the organisational culture everyone worked hard to build. At the same time it is crucial for any workforce behaviour to be monitored precisely to spot issues or challenges so they can be nipped in the bud. For this AI powered tools are the most effective for any HR team as they get things done seamlessly by checking up on employee happiness and overall wellness at work. But, all this comes at a cost.
To Invest or To Definitely Invest - There is No Question
Not investing in resources that help build and sustain organisational culture could cost the company more than foreseen. Without budgets allocated for expenditure towards culture building, not only does it become difficult to take care of the emotional and physical well-being of employees, but the financial well-being of the company itself can suffer. For example, onboarding people who aren’t right for the company in terms of values, or losing competent talent that cannot bear a toxic work culture - Can be detrimental due to attrition and turnover associated losses. Enabling the HR team with training, tools and cultural sensitivity themselves, could help deal with habitual absenteeism, low productivity, all by identifying culturally fit employees, conducting regular workforce check ups, and hosting engagement activities.
While it is the HR team’s job to foster a healthy culture and drive organisational values, leadership buy-in is crucial as well. After all, decisions related to investments are often dependent on the leadership team, and so it is important that they understand the importance of a healthy corporate culture. There’s no doubt that it all requires finances, and by spending wisely on culture building tools and methods, the organization can certainly earn more with the support of a diverse workforce that is highly productive.
But over and above financial support, the best formula for driving growth is the leadership team’s mental and emotional investment that can ensure encouragement, inclusivity and appreciation.