By: Dr. Brittany Castonguay 30 May 23 #Management
“Organizational culture is the sum of values and rituals which serve as ‘glue’ to integrate the members of the organization.” — Richard Perrin
It is not enough to say that culture is important. Leaders must integrate culture into the “why” of the organization. Culture must become a passion within the workplace. When leaders do not aggressively accept that they own the organization’s culture, negativity and toxicity can fester. Leaders who fail to take ownership of their organizational culture will experience decreases in productivity, increases in turnover, increases in complaints, complacency, and a loss of revenue. Sure, businesses can sustain success for a period of time, but eventually, all will falter as poor cultural practices catch up to the bottom line.
Culture is more than a popular buzzword. Culture operates as the internal heartbeat of the organization and protects good employees from bad hires and bad managers. A strong and healthy culture will not prevent bad hires and bad managers from wreaking havoc on the organization. The cluster of positivity will outweigh the negativity and help prevent bad behavior from taking place. Employees will feel confident to stand up and say “no” when they see something wrong occur. Culture is important because work should be a safe space where employees feel valued and empowered to stand up against toxicity.
However, leadership often creates a blind spot in the perception of what the organization's culture should be and what the organization's culture actually is. To mitigate this blind spot, leaders can integrate a three-step process to build a collaborative and innovative culture that will foster change, positivity, and empowerment.
Create a Mission-Driven Culture
Prioritize Work/Life Balance
1. Create a Mission-Driven Culture. Organizations without a strong mission statement will flounder. A mission statement is the organization’s purpose and reason for existence. This seemingly small statement supports the values and vision of the organization and acts as a method to communicate purpose and direction. Not only internally to employees but externally to customers and stakeholders. A centralized mission statement should support the culture leaders want to produce.
2. Empower Employees. Employees embrace organizations that make them feel valued. Value can look different for different employees, but it all comes down to being recognized and supported. Recognized and supported employees will go further and do more for an organization than those who lack value. Value is a simplistic idea wrapped in layers of complexity. Leaders can empower their employees by ensuring that their internal and external reward systems match employee desires and give employees the breadth they need to operate within their scope of work.
3. Prioritize Work/Life Balance. Prioritizing a work and life balance supports the idea that employees seek empowerment and want a positive cultural environment to operate within. Leaders need to remember that work is a subset of life. The job can become so taxing that we sometimes forget this concept. Employees have lives outside of the office and want to enjoy their free time with their loved ones. Employees will feel empowered and happier with their positions by prioritizing a work and life balance. In return, task performance and productivity will increase, and the organization will experience an increase in success.
Culture is a wonderful idea that can be challenging when implementing change. As Richard Perrin stated, culture is the glue that holds the organization together. Employees assess culture and are not afraid to leave an organization when the culture does not align with their value systems. This goes back to an earlier point. Organizations with poor cultures will fail. They may not fail overnight, but they will fail, and it all begins by losing quality talent to its competitors. People don’t just leave bad bosses; they leave bad cultures.