Organizational Culture: defining and developing your own

How to embed an organisational culture

You’ve decided on the key touch points through which to develop your organisational culture. Now, it’s time to put your vision into practice and ensure you properly embed your values ​​into your everyday operations.

Communicate your culture

Actions speak louder than words – but that doesn’t mean you should forget about the latter.

Share stories about your company culture in action, such as by giving a shoutout to a staff member who you think really acted with integrity during a key project. By communicating your company culture and how it enables your business, it becomes more consistent and more effective.

As a brand, Found by Few champions diversity and inclusion. Bowman says the business conveys this value “in our marketing, what we talk about, the subjects that we’re passionate about, internally with our staff, and then also to our partners as well.”

Good organisational culture is also one of the biggest value drivers for potential investors, as it typically leads to long-term business success.

Found by Few CMO Danielle Bowman and CEO Ben Elliott

Small business owners should ensure that, having made a significant investment in resources to create a positive company culture, they capitalise on the efforts by communicating any achievements to potential partners – increasing shareholder value.

Be honest

Don’t shy away from transparency about the problems within your company. If you claim to promote DEI, but discover a gender pay gap within your company, don’t hush it up. Acknowledge the issue and communicate to your staff that you are taking steps to fix it.

Your staff are not blind. If they are being fed conflicting messages about the company they work in, this could cause workers to believe management is disingenuous, and become cynical about statements from higher-ups.

The same is true of your customers. By all means, be aspirational about your company culture. But stay away from cultural inconsistencies. It might feel like a white lie, but people are increasingly clued into company falsehoods.

Largely, this is due to social media. Channels like Instagram and Facebook have empowered people to form their own views about who a company is during their own research.

Bowman stresses that, if a business is using social media to promote its culture, it should be wary of appearing dishonest by sharing conflicting messages.

“If [what they see] doesn’t add up, people aren’t going to feel like you are a safe space or a culture for them, ”she says.

Be open to change

Long-term, the main tenets of your organisational culture are likely to stay the same. But, make sure you’re not being too steadfast in your approach to company behaviours and beliefs, as these will naturally be affected by external social factors.

“People have liked to define their company culture as something static that individuals must fit into. But that concept is inherently exclusionary. What staff really want is a company culture they can add to rather than fit ”Elliott reveals. “That’s one thing that probably wasn’t the same five years ago.”

Bowman points to the COVID-19 pandemic as a global event that has had a big impact on shaping company behaviours. As attitudes towards the daily commute into the office shifted, work culture has pivoted to allow for a more flexible working dynamic.

“Prior to COVID-19, to define themselves as flexible, [a company] probably would have offered people one day a week working from home, ”says Bowman. “During COVID-19, employers [switched to] ‘if we really are a flexible company, that means letting people work where they want and as they deem best. “

Get everyone involved

The leadership team must They demonstrate a similar commitment to the company’s culture. Not doing so risks undermining the very behaviours you are trying to establish throughout your business.

If you promote a collaborative culture with an open door policy, don’t hide away in your office with the door shut every day. Instead, lead by example.

Rein in bad behavior

Embedding the ‘right’ kind of organisational culture for your business also means squashing the wrong kind – before it can take root. This will avoid causing conflict within the team further down the line.

For certain inappropriate actions, such as if a staff member exhibits prejudice or aggressive behavior, there are clear paths to follow, such as asking employees to report it to a line manager.

But, for those who simply aren’t a ‘cultural fit’, a more personalized approach is needed to help them engage with the established beliefs and practices.

Oftentimes, employees simply need to open up about issues or struggles they might be facing. Managers might organize a simple informal chat to a lunchtime walk or a coffee.

Let’s say a staff member has taken sick leave without telling their manager, exhibiting poor communication and teamwork. Remind them of the process for taking sick leave. Ask them if anything is wrong and set goals and boundaries that may help them to communicate better.

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