Understanding and Developing Organizational Culture
Organizational culture defines a proper way for all employees to behave within the organizational framework. This culture involves shared values and beliefs that are established by founders and leaders. The beliefs and value systems are communicated at all levels and reinforced using various methods. This ultimately shapes employee behaviors, perceptions, and understanding.
Company leaders play a vital role in developing, shaping, and sustaining the organizational culture. They set the context for everything that takes place in an enterprise. It’s critical to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all corporate culture template.
HR’s Role in Developing an Organizational Culture
Organizational culture is vital to a company’s success. This makes it crucial for HR leaders and other members to perpetuate a strong culture. HR’s role in developing a progressive culture begins with recruiting and selecting those candidates that will fit right in with the current organizational belief structure.
HR is also responsible for developing orientation, training, and performance management programs that clearly outline and reinforce its core values. These tools are necessary to ensure that appropriate recognition and rewards go to employees who truly incorporate all corporate values.
All members of the HR team are responsible for building and managing a strong organizational culture by:
- Reinforcing organizational values
- Acting as a role model
- Ensuring ethics are understood, defined, and practiced
- Enabling feedback channels and two-way communication
- Defining responsibilities, roles, and accountabilities
- Providing continuous training and learning
- Encouraging teams to embrace values and beliefs
- Sustaining recognition and rewards systems
- Promoting a healthy work environment
- Solving and recognizing issues and problems at both individual and organizational level
HR leaders are required to work with senior management if they are to influence culture. This is vital to identifying how the organizational culture should look like.
Factors Influencing the Company Culture
The way an organizational leadership team runs the company affects the rules, procedures, and policies set for employees. Employee’s behavior has a major influence on company culture, which is, in turn, impacted by purpose, market, and operations. Dominant gender at an organization plays a major role in the culture.
For instance, companies with mainly male employees will tend to follow a culture where late-night working is normal. The goals and objectives of the company also affect the culture. Procedures and strategies designed for achieving organizational targets contribute to shaping the culture. For instance, working on a government project may need to adhere to set guidelines without having to follow procedural feedback sessions.
Commonly shared values are at the heart of a company’s culture. There is no right or wrong value system, and organizations need to decide which values work best for them. However, certain behaviors are unacceptable, such as promoting only male employees or employing only female secretaries. Such procedures cannot be part of the value system.
Few values that are common to all organization types are:
- Outcome orientation
- People orientation
- Team orientation
- Attention to detail
Reshaping Organizational Culture
Culture setting starts at the top with the senior team and CEO. They need to set an example of a new organizational culture where reshaping is necessary. HR leaders usually have to bring the executive level into the reshaping process to shift their company culture.
Organizational culture can be reshaped successfully only when the following four principles are followed:
- Purposeful leadership
- Personal change
- Broad engagement
- Focused sustainability
How Are Cultures Sustained
HR professionals and leaders within an organization need to approach culture management after gaining an in-depth understanding of common business traits. This is important if culture is expected to sustain. To deeply understand a particular cultural trait, the HR department needs to identify common artifacts from a social, ideological, and material standpoint.
They may also have to convene groups of representatives at all levels, functions, and locations to assess key traits’ significance and validity. Company culture, in order to be sustainable, requires all participants to communicate effectively.
HR Practices to Develop a Company Culture
While company culture is determined by leaders, the HR team has a special role in ensuring it is developed correctly and thrives without any barriers. These are a few HR practices dedicated to developing and sustaining an exact and high-performance organizational culture.
- Hiring Practices
HR has a central role in helping the business capitalize on its culture by recruiting ideal candidates. Recruiters have an opportunity to hire people who will fit right away into the organizational culture and the way the business is run.
- Onboarding Programs
HR has a primary responsibility of ensuring new employees are introduced to company operations in an appropriate manner by designing and overseeing the complete onboarding process. HR professionals are required to help newcomers settle in and understand the basics of workplace culture.
- Rewards & Recognition
These tools are key mechanisms by which HR can motivate employees to act according to the company culture and values. For instance, bonuses should value individual performance and not teamwork if personal growth is a core value.
- Performance Management Programs
Performance management programs can have a significant impact on organizational culture if used appropriately. Employees that share aspirations and values tend to perform better than those that lack common purpose and cohesiveness.
One of the biggest challenges to organizational culture is the lack of communication. Conflicting messages regarding culture can create cynicism and distrust. It can allow employees to justify deleterious actions like embezzlement as well. Cultural inconsistency is another major challenge to corporate culture.
Workers may grow to become discouraged, doubt statements from higher-ups, and believe managerial level to be disingenuous. Employers are also open to discrimination claims if they try to emphasize cultural fit during the selection and recruitment process.
Research suggests that corporate culture is not above national culture. Managers, especially those working in a global setup, have to respond to differences in nuances while dealing with locals. They have to be mindful of different mindsets of leaders across national cultures. Not meeting such expectations may result in lost opportunities and diminished organizational success.