• Maud Vanhoutte

Top 10 ways to Improve Organisational Culture


“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” - Simon Sinek, Author, Start with Why

What is organisational culture?

Organisational culture is a broad term that encompasses many things in a company from its amount of coffee machines to how an employer gives his or her feedback to the employees.

If we were to give a general definition, it could be said that organisational culture represents the personality of a company and defines the environment in which its employees work in. It determines how employees behave, how they engage with each other at work and how they view the organisation.

Ideally, every employee should know what the company wants to achieve and how it wants to do it. Therefore it’s vital that these organisational goals also align with the employees own individual goals. Employees need to believe that any organisational growth will result in personal growth and development.

Company culture varies greatly from company to company. Some companies have a team-

focused culture with compulsory employee participation on all levels and a flattened management structure. Others might emphasise on a casual workplace with a relaxed environment without many rules and regulations. Google etc. Old school and huge companies tend to favour a more traditional approach to its culture, adopting strict levels of management and a formal style of hierarchy.

Why is organisational culture important?

How to improve Organisational Culture

Establish clear and defined company values and goals

How often do you hear the question “why do you want to work here” asked at job interviews? Quite a lot in the sense that the recruiter wants to know whether this particular individual, no matter how talented he or she is, fits the values of the company. Ascertaining your organisational values and goals to every employee in the company is crucial. It constructs how your employees will view the company, its limits and its expectations of them. It is important in the recruitment process that you hire candidates who fit the values and mission of the organisation. When the employees’ goals are align with the company’s ones, they are dedicated and motivated to accomplishing those objectives.

Offer Flexibility in your hours

Recent Studies have shown a 70% increase in productivity for companies that adopt flexible working practices. With more and more younger employees valuing artistic freedom and the balance between work life and leisure, flexibility in the workplace has been adopted in popular companies such as Google, Thomson Reuters etc.

Traditionally, companies tend to treat their employees with a lack of artistic freedom; observing regular working hours and expecting them to work in their desk for long periods of time. However, newer companies found that it is most effective when employees are able to manage time on their own. When the company ensures that they have a well balance practice between work and other activities, employees are more satisfied, motivated, happier and healthier. This can include, letting employees leave early for personal commitments, offering casual dress days and encouraging employees to take their birthdays off.

Promote Trust

Building trust in your work environment is a key element in a successful organisational culture. That being said, conflict arises commonly during work and it’s how people manage them that makes or breaks the culture. Resolving conflicts immediately and fairly will ensure that there are no issues left unsolved. Every problem is an opportunity to make a positive change. Instead of running your employees into the ground and criticising them harshly, communicate with them on how to improve. When an employee is performing below standards, there’s likely to be something on their mind, or they don’t have the confidence or their motivation has gone awry. Taking the time to communicate with them will build trust and confidence.

Integrate Modern Technology

With the increasing usage of technology in the workplace, it’s not a surprise that it can affect organisational culture in several ways. Use platforms that centralise and ease the workload. Communication platforms such as slack and google hangouts streamline communication greatly in a work environment. However, technology can also isolate teams due to a lack of face-to-face interactions. As such, you should only encourage technologies that bring teams together, especially deskless and field workers.

Listen to what your employees have to say and give them regular feedback

Employees are no doubt the most important resource in a company. It is important to respect their needs and allow them to grow with the organisation. Embrace transparency with your employees, you never know if they might have any bright ideas that can improve the company or resolve any existing issues. Google News tool was created by a research scientist at Google after he figures “it would be useful to see news reporting from multiple sources on a given topic assembled in one place.” He wasn’t instructed to create it in the first place.

75% of employees would stay long at an organisation that listens to and addresses their concerns. It is very common that employees don’t get enough feedback from management, and when they do, it’s often vague and inauthentic. By providing regular feedback, you are able to ascertain employee’s motivations and build trust and inspire confidence within them. More importantly, you’re also letting them know that you care. In return, employees will be more likely to display loyalty and produce quality work.

Employee Perks

A lot of big companies such as Google, Facebook and Netflix are investing thousands of dollars each year into employee perks. A happy employee means more productivity and long-term growth. A few budget friendly ideas for employee perks include:

  • Happy hour – Many Australian companies provide free drinks and appetizers on their facilities every once in a while. It allows a more laid-back atmosphere for employees to get to know each other and build better relationships.

  • Free Health programs – offer free gym memberships or have your own company sport teams to show that the company prioritised their employees’ health.

  • Free snacks and fruits – when energy is low, people tend to get fatigue or procrastinate during the working period. Having free food will improve their productivity and keep their energy high.

  • Social activities and team building – invite your employees to get out of the office and to have fun together: bowling, escape room…

  • Volunteer as a team – select a charity with your team and offer to contribute and be involved. It can be a one-time thing or an ongoing project.

  • Lunch and learn workshops and activities – use times such as morning or lunchtime to invite your team members to bond. You can have an external facilitator or organise internal training and workshops.

And you? What are you ideas and initiatives to make your workplace a better place? Share them with us in the comment section!

Jason Zhao & Maud Vanhoutte

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