According to a study by PWC in 2021, a majority (69%) of senior executives credit their success during the pandemic to culture. The 2021 Global Culture Survey by PWC interviewed 3,200 leaders and employees worldwide during a period that necessitated major changes for companies around the world. More than two-thirds of respondents said that their culture helped change initiatives. That brings us to some key questions. What is Organizational Culture and how does the leadership take an active role in building an optimal culture.
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Culture as a powerful ally during the pandemic
The overriding message from PWC’s survey in more than 40 countries is that strong cultures drive better business outcomes. 70% who said that their organisations were able to adapt over the past year also reported that their culture has been a source of competitive advantage. The majority (67%) of survey respondents said culture is more important than strategy or operations. They also agreed that top cultural priorities should include recruitment and retention, digitisation, health and safety and collaboration.
What is organizational culture
Organizational culture is the way in which people in an organization relate to each other, their work and the outside world, in comparison with other organizations. Your Organizational Culture shows how your organization works: how things get done, the interactions between people, and employee relationships to their work and the outside world. The best organizations often place equal emphasis on strategy and culture. Such organizations create a culture that motivates their teams. Organizational Culture is what differentiates your business, so it is important to know the various factors that contribute to your company’s culture.
Organic culture vs Active Culture
An organic approach means that management takes more of an observational approach to culture development so that culture develops naturally over time, or that the culture of the organization has not been considered at all. There are serious limitations and risks involved with the organic growth of your culture because it’s left to take its own direction – and this may not be aligned with your organization’s goals.
An active approach to Organizational Culture refers to organizations where the management takes the lead in proactively defining and implementing an optimal organizational culture. This can involve leading by example, training sessions, consultant guidance and more. It’s important to remember that while Organizational Culture manifests over time on its own, taking a more active approach will help you strategically design it. With proper guidance on your part, you can shape it to benefit your employees, adapt to the current business landscape, provide better customer service and stand out from competitors. Hofstede Insights can work with you and help you actively design an optimal culture to support your business strategy, both in the short and long run.
Culture is now everyone’s responsibility
The old approach to Organizational culture doesn’t hold work in a post-pandemic world. Earlier Culture was seen as a function of HR. The top leadership gave the HR team a mandate to create an effective and optimal culture. HR then rolled out a mission statement that echoes the senior management’s mandate. It was more a ‘to do’ list that needed to be ticked off. The pandemic has changed intra-company interactions and dynamics. Culture is no longer an afterthought but is now intertwined with the company’s overall business strategy and direction. Culture building in the 2020s is everyone’s responsibility and yet can’t be left undefined allowing an organic approach without clear roles and responsibilities across the board to build an optimal company culture.
What are the dangers of not taking an active approach to organizational culture
Everyone, across levels, has a role in impacting Organizational Culture. But if you are not paying enough attention to how your culture is developing and letting it evolve on its own, there’s a bigger risk that it will work against what you want to achieve as a business. These are some of the potential pitfalls in not taking an active approach:
- Issues that revolve around Organizational Culture will not be effectively addressed and resolved.
- There will be a gap between your optimal culture (the one you require) and the actual culture – the one you have.
- A culture without proper alignment can make your business disorganised by a lack of communication, create higher turnover and support poor customer relationships.
The involvement of the Top management is imperative to produce meaningful results.
- Management’s role is to design the optimal culture according to the organisation’s core values and needs.
- The activities and initiatives you implement must also clearly reflect what your business represents to ensure that your Organisational Culture is on the right track to support your company’s success.
- As the leader, it’s important to perform regular cultural assessments to determine inconsistencies and develop solutions that will address the needs of your organisation.
- It’s also critical to identify your ideal culture and share it with appropriate stakeholders so you can guide them, and they can play an active role in its development.
Employees can play a role in bridging the gap between actual and optimal culture
The involvement of every member of your team is critical in transforming the overall company culture. Here’s how they can pitch in:
- By being culture advocates – Employees must display your company’s culture in the way they relate to other workers, how they work themselves and how they represent the business to the outside world. In short, live the culture.
- By functioning as a team – Culture will only translate into success if everyone in the team is aligned and united with a common purpose
- By being accountable – If employees take accountability for making the necessary changes to keep the Organizational Culture working for the benefit of the business, they will produce better and more lasting results.
Reach out to us to discover how Hofstede Insights can help you take a more active approach and take necessary actions to improve your culture.