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  • Post last modified:May 13, 2021

Managing workplace culture is one of the most difficult and one of the most important aspect of organisational success nowadays. 

A positive workplace not only leads to a happier workplace, but also helps in better employee retention and catalyses innovation.

Organisations that bring everyone on board and aligns them to the purpose by ensuring well being and equal opportunities to all thrives and survives. 

Let’s discuss in this article 5 important and practical steps that would help in managing workplace culture.

What is Workplace Culture?

Before we start listing these steps, let’s quickly discuss what exactly workplace culture is all about.

Peter F. Drucker, a famous marketer and management Guru, has come up with a very popular phrase.

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.

This is how important culture can be for organisations. Any strategy is bound to fail without a culture made for success.

Workplace culture is a mix of all the values, beliefs, leadership and attitudes within an organisation. This would include peer to peer interaction, environment, politics, inclusiveness and a lot more. 

Having an inclusive and positive workplace ensures sustained success for all organisations.

Have a look at a short yet informative video on strategies and characteristics of high performance culture within an organisation.

Now moving on to a few practical steps to ensure a successful organisational culture is in place at your workplace. 

1. Bringing everyone on board – Inclusiveness

Inclusiveness is one of the most important strategies for a successful workplace culture.

It is important to bring each and every individual of the organisation on board.

Having everyone on board is one of the nano tools for successful culture as recommended by the Wharton Business School. These tools for managing culture within organisation stress on the importance of including everyone in the process of evolution.

One such example of inclusiveness of Jaguar company. Before implementing major change, the company assessed the beliefs and attitudes of all the employees. Beginning from supervisor led meeting to a two day workshop that involved all 3000 employees. It was followed up by internal facilitators and union workshops to ensure complete participation for easing in new changes. The rest as they say is history. Jaguar has been an extremely successful firm over the years.

2. Following the policy of Compassionate leadership

An organisation is as good as its leader. Top management have direct impact on organisational culture. 

Cascading effect or ripples of attitude displayed by the leaders can be seen all over the organisation. 

It’s visible in how people respond to situations and how challenges are tackled. Compassionate leaders ensure a complete accountability of team members and management without getting into blame game. Compassionate leaders are great listeners and first believers of equal opportunities.

Jeff Weiner from LinkedIn or Larry Page of Google are known for leaving an impact on the workplace culture through their compassionate leadership.

Building a conducive work environment for maximum participation by everyone is a catalyst of innovation and creativity at workplace. Compassionate leadership can help create a successful work culture.

3. Active Listening and Continuous improvisation

It is crucial for leaders and entrepreneurs to be active listeners and learners.

Active listening is one of the key traits of entrepreneurs and business heads. 

In an organisation active listening and improvisation can be incorporated by continuous assessment of culture and by utilising best practices for feedback.

It is through continuous assessment that best practices can be incorporated at workplace as far as work culture is concerned.

It is through continuous learning that businesses can move between a culture made for success.

It is important to mention the types of organisational culture here for a better clarity on what is a better type of culture and why managing culture is crucial to organisational success.

Broadly speaking, there are 4 types of organisation culture. Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor investigated the qualities that make businesses effective. They have explained the same through the Competing values framework.

These are:

  • Clan – People focused with a lot of flexibility like a lot of tech companies and startups of today.
  • Adhocracy – Innovation and creativity focus. Risk taking culture. Eg- Google, Apple.
  • Hierarchy– Focus is on discipline and structure. There is a fixed role for everyone and this lacks flexibility. Think of examples in Construction firms or a Biotechnology firm. 
  • Market – Key aim is profitability. Focus is on customers and sales. Think of Amazon and how customer centric culture they have created. 

Have a look at the parameters of the model in the below image for a visual description.

Image Courtesy- Builtin

4. Responsiveness to Change

Responsiveness to change is crucial for a successful culture.

The world is witnessing a lot of different things at the moment. From a pandemic to continuous innovation and everything in between. 

There is an information overload for employees making quick transitions difficult.

It is thus crucial for organisations to handle change in a better way.  An article by Harvard Business Review recommends embracing the below eight fundamental things for creating a culture made for success and that’s responsive to change. These are:

  • Learning
  • Enjoyment
  • Purpose
  • Caring
  • Results 
  • Authority
  • Order
  • Safety

There are numerous models available to help organisations incorporate these within the culture. Getting mentors on board or seeking support from external consultants are well worth. Benefits outweigh the expenses incurred especially for larger organisations. 

5. Aligning everyone with a common purpose

Last but not the least. It is crucial to have a purpose that everyone within the organisation can relate to.

Amazon’s Purpose is “To become most customer centric company on Earth”

PayPal’s purpose is “to build web’s most convenient, cost effective and secure payment solution”.

Walmart’s purpose if to “Save people’s money”.

And there are numerous examples. Over the years these companies have created a culture around this purpose. This helps them move forward and keep everyone on the same page.

It is thus crucial to ensure that everyone on in the organisation is aligned to the common purpose.

Conclusion

Here you go, some of the useful and actionable steps to create a sustainable and successful work culture within your organisation. 

It is also crucial to learn from the giants. The most successful organisations out there are successful not because of the product or marketing but because of their internal customers. Internal customers are the people working for them. It is these people who create a brand and express the culture displayed by the organisation. 

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