“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – Peter Drucker

Above quote prescribes itself that maintaining cultural coherence across a company’s portfolio should be an essential factor when determining a corporate strategy. Henceforth, there is a mighty triumvirate in corporate transformations – strategy, capabilities and culture. All three need to be designed together, aligned and enable each other to create real organisational transformation. Future organisations need to create a delicate balance on culture building through innovative capabilities aligned to the strategic intent of the business. Culture building is ever evolving and ‘each to its own’ organisational nature, yet some key attributes of this aspect can be drilled down in basic principles – 5 C’s of culture for future organisations. These attributes will give you a framework to create a great workplace culture – a culture where employees are not only happy but belong to your organisation. Let’s have a look at the 5 C’s –

 

  1. Clarity

The clarity in vision is utmost to the culture of the organisation. It is like having a past, present and future well defined – more precise the better. It will be a start point for your goal setting exercise, and further cascade of practical goals is very crucial to the success of the organisation. You may have a beautiful goal, but if it is not aligning to the vision, you will have fair chances to miss the bus. Clarity comes from typically three questions you must answer for your organisation a) whom do you want to be? (your core values) b) what do you want to be? (how do you promote your values) c) what do you want to have? (the outcome of experiences and competencies). Organisations need to be more clear and transparent on what and how do they operate. The resultant of doing this right at the right time will be the future of work, people and organisations.

 

  1. Communication

Once you have clarity, communicate it more often than required. Work on your upstream and downstream communication forums which ensure that underline theme reaches the last mile. For this, managers must be made responsible for all communication in the organisation. Make sure managers understand they need to communicate openly and regularly, too. Have regular meetings (but not too many!) – schedule one-on-one, team and all-hands meetings regularly. Use an appropriate number of meetings (perhaps one or two of each per month) to keep your team in the loop and give them a platform where they can discuss their ideas. For the best results, encourage managers to provide feedback during 1:1s. However, don’t bog your employees down with general meetings about meetings. A good practice is to create layers of communication pyramids in the organisation – who needs to communicate what? What frequency? To who all? Don’t miss out to handhold your managers with a script and consistency on messages. Be mindful of what and how to communicate.

It is imperative that your organisation invests in tools that make communication easy. Use technology to make it easier to communicate. While some employees might have an easy time sharing their ideas and opinions in a public forum, other introverted workers might not have the same confidence. Inter-office communication  — like chat options or employee feedback tools that let workers and managers share feedback easily — might make things easier for them. The easier it is for employees to share their opinions, the more often they’ll let their thoughts be known.

It is essential to make a mention of an exciting concept in working out effective space management practices for effective communication and team bonding. The man who created the cubicle, Robert Probst, went to the grave hating his invention. It might be your infrastructure that’s negatively affecting your workplace communications.

Underline statement is that communication is the key to change management about your strategy.

 

  1. Collaboration

Team camaraderie and bonding stems from a culture of trust, transparency and openness to change. More importantly. This aspect will be the resultant of useful communication forums. According to Gallup, less than one-third of U.S. professionals are engaging in their work. However, a separate Gallup study found that having friends at the office boosts employee satisfaction by 50%. Better communication can help employees bond. What’s more, employees with work friends are seven times more likely to be engaged!

Collaboration is easy said than done. It is a victim of power equations, inflated egos, inefficient organisation structures, no creativity and idea generation. Invest in some innovative ways; for example, launch a mentorship program – according to Gallup, 87% of millennial employees consider professional development opportunities to be essential components of every job. An easy way to meet this need is by establishing a mentorship program that pairs seasoned employees with rookies. Not only will this help your new hires get up to speed quicker, but it will also support the free exchange of ideas.

 

  1. Coaching

Coach your managers to be better leaders – and make this a mantra of your manager capability programs and future leadership pipeline. Invest time, money and energy in making sure that managers are role models to your next generation workforce. This mantra could be a missing link in the overall execution of the strategy where alignment to vision, communication channels and collaborations are getting hurt leading to not so effective culture. “Coach them young” – to make better decisions, productive partnerships, embrace technology and be future leaders. Coaching doesn’t refer to sending managers to top B schools and executive programs instead involve them in decision making, create shadow programs to your most important meetings, ask them to self-study and create a roadmap on their careers. Apply the rule of 70-20-10 on their leadership program. Ask them how would they like the organisation to change and how can they contribute to their roles?

Don’t teach them what to do; ask them to take overall accountability and charge.

 

  1. Competence

Let us start to create learning organisations, build more learning agility in your organisations by introducing skills of future and upskilling your workforce on critical skills. Buy, develop and retain your key team members by making an institution which operates on knowledge and content. Work on competencies of the future workforce not limited to your current work primarily on innovation, idea generation and technology. Especially for professional services, this is a competitive advantage; rather it is industry agnostic.

Build competence through content and innovation. Bring this aspect as a primarily hiring practice and not limited to developmental exercise. It is essential that your organisation can filter a scalable workforce and create future competence in both technical and behavioural aspects.

Concluding, culture building is a journey with some key ingredients in the right taste – anything less or more spoils it let your employees feel the magic!

 

Author:

Sheetal Sandhu
Group CHRO,
ICRA