The constant focus for corporate companies lately has been paying attention to creating, fostering, and sustaining organisational culture, also called corporate culture. It is not P&G alone – all successful companies like IBM, HP, Apple, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, L&T, Tata’s, Wipro, Cognizant, or Infosys – have one underlying factor behind the success, and that is maintaining a workplace culture. Culture is like the DNA of the organisation, unique to itself. Culture has a direct proportional impact on employee attention, retention, performance and satisfaction. The value system of the workplace culture manifests itself through the language they speak, murals on the wall, their building aesthetics and a host of other artefacts. Companies with a strong workplace culture rightly consider it to be very precious. Sometimes more important than a trade secret and in some sense, unique. Organisational members begin to feel a strong bond with the company they are working for. The strong bond transcends material returns given by the organisation, and the employees begin to identify with it. The entire organisation turns into some clan.
MEANING OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
`From a wider perspective, the word ‘culture’ linguistically translates to the universal set which includes knowledge, principles, beliefs, morals, law, custom and other capabilities and habits acquired by particular individuals in a society. Two important aspects of culture are cultural history and mutual phenomenon. Cultural History is the cultural mores of a society that are transgenerational. The second term points towards the cultural ethos and the principles that are shared among the members of society. In other words, unlike one-person specific, culture is a group-specific concept. Organisational culture or company culture is a reflection of the ideologies, values, assumptions, beliefs, expectations, attitudes and norms that weave an organisation together and are shared by its employees. Organisational members tend to internalise cultural policies and practices and like to indoctrinate newcomers into such moves. Some of these practices are thoroughly internalised that no one can question them – they are taken for granted; in other words, they get institutionalised.
UNDERSTANDING ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE:
Corporate culture mainly consists of three distinct levels, namely, common assumptions, shared values and observable values.
At the surface is the observable culture, it could be considered as the first layer which manifests through symbols such as physical design, dress code, logos, gadget, and murals. It broadly includes unique office stories, traditions and rituals that add up to the history of the success of the organisation.
The second level includes shared values. Shared values apply to all organisational members, and no deviation is tolerated. Common uniformity and shared beliefs or mutual values represent a shared culture. Corporate Vision and Mission must be shared by all and must be binding all.
The third level is of Common assumptions, the deeper or hidden aspect of organisational culture. These are the taken for granted truths that every organisational member shares as a result of their collective experience. As difficult as it may be to isolate these patterns but doing so helps give a valid explanation of culture invading every aspect of organisational life. The common assumption may surface in an organisational crisis, like for example, the way a senior executive guilty of sexual harassment, is handled or an employee caught indulging in an ethical act is dealt with. How employees stand united to thwart hostile takeover bid and the way employees volunteer for pay cuts to steer the organisation from the financial crisis are also instances of the common assumptions.
ATTRACTION, SUSTENENCE AND RETENTION OF TALENT:
Few strategies that support the cause :
SELECTING AND SOCIALISING EMPLOYEES:
The main purpose of the hiring process to hire the right people for the right job. When for a given job, two or more candidates with identical skills and abilities are available final selection is influenced by how well a candidate fits into the organisation. By identifying candidates who can help with the organisational culture selection help sustain culture considerably. Job applicants to look at an organisation from its cultural perspective before seeking entry into it. More than pay and perquisites in an organisation offers, it is the cultural artefacts that often attract or detract job seekers. Along with selecting people with compatible values, companies maintain strong cultural aspects through the effective socialisation of new employees.
The socialisation of employees is the learning process of every individual to acquire values, expected behaviour, and social knowledge necessary to assume their roles in the organisation.
Pre-arrival, encounter and metamorphosis are the three central stages of employee Socialisation. Pre-arrival is the initial stage that encircles the learning aspect that occurs before a new member joins the organisation. Encounter, the next stage, where the new employee sees what the organisation is and confronts where his/her expectations diverge reality. The last stage is related to lasting changes that take place. The new employee masters and adjusts the skills required for his or her new roles in accordance with his or her work group’s values and norms.
PERFORMANCE AND SATISFACTION:
Company culture has a significant impact on performance. Culture has an innate quality of performance enhancement for at least four reasons.
- Culture makes strategy implementation
- Organisational wide common goals as employees share common goals
- a strong culture creates a high level of motivation because of the mutual values shared by the members
- strong culture provides a control mechanism without the prospect of bureaucracy
There is a correlation between organisational culture and employee satisfaction. But individual needs of employees main monetary the relationship between culture and satisfaction. In general, satisfaction will be the highest when there is congruence between individual needs and organisational culture. For instance, an organisation whose culture would be characterised is low in structure, having loose supervision and rewarding employees for higher achievement is more likely to have more satisfied employees if those employees have a higher achievement need and prefer autonomy. Thus, job satisfaction often varies according to employees’ perception of the culture.
STRONG COMMITMENT FROM EMPLOYEES:
Culture not only increases their commitment to the organisation but also creates a sense of identity in them. When employees in the values of the company define their work intrinsically rewarding and identified with their fellow workers, motivation is enhanced, and their morale has an automatic boost. The commitment of employees could be picturised as a three phases plan :
- Compliance – people confirm to obtain some material benefit.
- Identification – the demands of culture are accepted to maintain good relationships with colleagues.
- Internalisation – People find that the adoption of cultural values of the organisation produces intrinsic satisfaction because these values are in line with their personal values. In many ways, This is an ideal status as far as the acceptance of organisational values are concerned and if widespread, is indicative of a strong culture.
MAINTAINING A STABLE WORKFORCE:
An organisation’s culture is embedded and projected through the minds of its employees. Organisational stories are rarely written down; rituals and celebration do not usually exist in manual, and organisation metaphors are not found in corporate directories. Thus, a stable workforce that communicates and reinforces the dominant beliefs and values is what an organisation seeks. High turnover and downsizing can demolish the organisational culture because the ‘corporate memory’ leaves along with those employees. Organisational culture also weakens during periods of rapid expansion or mergers because it takes time for incoming employees to learn about and accept the dominant corporate values and beliefs. For this reason, some organisations keep their culture intact by keeping a mindful check on their employee growth and turnover ratios.
CULTURALLY CONSISTENT REWARDS:
Reward systems strengthen corporate culture when they are consistent and with cultural values. Aggressive cultures might offer more performance-based individual incentives, whereas Paternalistic cultures would more likely offer employee assistance programs, medical insurance, and other fringe benefits that support employees’ well being.
How important is organization culture for any organisation? Is it more important than the monetary aspects? Let is know in the comments below