When employees are disinterested in their work and disengaged from the organization, it results in loss of productivity, efficiency, revenues and profits. Disengaged employees can bleed a company to utter ruin and collapse.

While measures like salary hikes, training sessions and motivational workshops can stem the damage to some extent, organizational culture can go a long way in solving this problem and creating a successful company with a team of motivated, engaged, collaborative employees.

Formal and informal values, behaviors, beliefs

Organizational culture is defined as the formal and informal values, behaviors, beliefs, assumptions that govern how people behave in an organization. It influences their performance, their manner of working, their way of dressing, talking and their interactions with one another.

Most companies do not consciously work on creating a suitable culture – it grows organically as the company evolves. But  companies need to deliberately design a culture and develop it through care and nurturing. Some aspects of the culture will be controllable while others will grow on their own. Every organization will have its own unique culture, one that will “fit” its varied requirements and will be based on three elements: outcomes, behaviors and enablers-&-blockers.

Outcomes:

 Outcomes include the things that you want – and those that you don’t want – your culture to achieve. You make a list of outcomes and results you don’t want viz the things you would see if your employees were disengaged (e.g. poor performance, too much absenteeism). Then make a list of outcomes you desire that will counter these negative items(e.g. high performance, regular attendance), or describe a desired result ( higher performance than last year, no absenteeism at all).

Behaviors:

 These are the positive or negative actions your employees indulge in to lead to the desired or undesired outcomes for your company. In other words what you want your employees to be doing or not doing. Here consider individual, team, and leadership behavior. Undesired and corresponding balancing desired behavior could be something like this :

Behavior Undesired behavior Desired behavior
Individual Minimal work, avoid responsibility Passion for work, ownership of work
Team Personal agenda, back-stabbing & blaming others Collaborate and work together, helpful and open
Leadership Interest in personal power Appreciative of teams, encourage and nurture people

Enablers & Blockers:

These include formal or informal policies, rituals, actions, and rules that you can leverage and use to drive your company’s culture. This in turn includes

  • Incentives – to reward results not hours worked
  • Context and rules – to decide processes that enable good work e.g. rewarding initiative, allowing flexible work hours, providing appropriate resources so that work is not obstructed.
  • People – recruit people who enable and encourage good work, not those who demotivate and discourage people
  • Leadership – Lead by setting a good example – behave the way you want your employees to behave and they will follow.

Once you have your Culture Map chalked out, use it to put your organizational culture in place and to avoid falling into the trap of undesired and unwelcome culture. The organizational culture determines the way companies conduct business and how they treat internal and external stakeholders and as such is as if not more important than business models and corporate strategy.