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Organisational Culture & Its Far-Reaching Impact


business culture consultant, Never Grow Up Pte Ltd

Before we jump into discussing what organisational culture means, let’s delve into what comes to mind when someone says ‘culture’. Is it music, art, language and cuisine? Or is it beliefs, laws, and customs? Truthfully, it’s all this and more. Culture is an umbrella term which groups together ideas, customs, preferences of a particular group in order to define their way of life. It translates into the same thing for organisational culture.


Organisational culture is what can be seen and experienced everyday, versus what has been defined in policy documents. How employees react to a changed situation, how managers respond to subordinates who correct their mistakes, how the leadership team handles a crisis or even how the employees across teams sit down for lunch. These traits make the company what it is.


While most of us know what organisational culture means, this context-setting is important, because on any other day culture is simply ‘something that exists’. Especially in an organisation where everyone has the same end goal - growth.


What Makes Organisational Culture a Topic of Discussion?

That’s because culture goes a long way in creating an identity for the organisation in terms of way of doing business, how the organisation interacts with the world whether it’s their stakeholders, partners, employees, or clients. It maintains a good work-life balance, manages workflow, boosts team interactions and ensures that the core values of the organisation are brought to life.


A healthy organisational culture indicates that employee satisfaction is on the higher side. And when employees are satisfied, a good reputation is created in the market. After all, not everything depends on the paycheck but on even the littlest things that come up during everyday interactions. Take for instance the case of Microsoft. Before its CEO Satya Nadella stepped in, the organisation was known to have pushed employees into aggressive competitiveness in hopes of success, but now focuses on improvement and continuous learning. His team members say that they used to spend hours coming up with answers even before they began, worried about being called out. But now, the current CEO believes in empathy and humanism. This has not only promoted harmony amongst employees but has also helped develop better and more relevant products. More importantly, his listening skills, empathetic nature, and decisiveness have inspired Microsoft’s 124,000-people strong workforce. Needless to say, this has worked in terms of employee satisfaction, retention and potential hiring as well.


Effects of Organisational Culture of Employee Behaviour

According to Glassdoor’s mission and culture survey conducted in 2019, over 77 percent of people consider company culture before applying. This goes to show that not only is an unhealthy culture responsible for losing existing employees but a healthy one is also the cause for acquiring talented new recruits. And hence there should be a focus on delivering employee happiness. This starts off with each employee’s well-being, both mental as well as physical. It’s when employees are mentally and physically fit, that their ability and motivation towards accomplishing their assigned tasks increases. Armed with like-minded and inspired teams, organisations can expect added resilience, boosted performance and integrity.


But this behaviour stems from something as basic as the feeling of psychological safety that comes with a healthy organisational culture which supports teamwork and new innovations, considers contributions from across designations, and ultimately makes every employee at the workplace feel like they matter. With increased satisfaction comes increased productivity and this can only mean one thing for the organisation - profit. Findings in Gallup’s meta-analysis workplace report state that employees who are happy and engaged at work, show 21 percent higher profitability and 17 percent higher productivity - a reason enough to invest in building a healthy, inspiring and inclusive culture.


Sustaining a Healthy Employee Culture

Investing time and resources in building organisational culture is not easy but is doubly important given that it promises ROI. It’s not a random behavioural collective which can come into being overnight, but requires meticulous planning and strategising. Also, it needs to be driven top to bottom from the leadership by setting clear goals, being value-driven, taking feedback consistently and acting on it as well. And the day revenue as well as employee happiness is on the rise, it’ll be safe to say that the organisation has been able to sustain a healthy culture.