Corporate culture has gotten more and more focus among companies around the world and has become a bit of a trendy word. It is all about creating a culture that stimulates progresses, an ability in the organization to adapt to the modern pace of change. With globalization, more and more industries are becoming commodified, leading that many previously advanced products such as electronic devices, robots and cars become standard products and end up in pure price competition. To compete, many companies try to create a unique corporate culture to withstand the market noise. Corporate culture is something that exists in all organizations – however, what it looks like is not always something you have actively chosen in the company.
Corporate culture can also be said to be the company’s “personality”. Which consists of the sum of all the employees’ perceptions of how to act and behave at work. These perceptions are created by the leadership style in the organization. An authoritarian leadership style creates employees who obey orders, but do not take initiative, are unmotivated and lacking creativity, etc. A target-oriented leadership style creates employees who focus on their targets and KPIs rather on what is the best for the company.
In cases of a mediocre or even bad corporate culture with a mindset of the workers being as lazy and irresponsible and silo thinking, the initiative that the company is trying to pursue might be opposed by the employees. What can you do to change the culture to something that contributes to the development of the company?
Companies that work and want to change their culture with aggregating and cheering meetings, posters with core values and t-shirts, has generally little or no effect. The ground stone is the leadership you exercise and your view of the employees. If you want employees that are proactive, creative, solution-oriented, you should start by deciding that this is my view of the employees. At the same time, you should also start treating your employees in this way and stimulate those kinds of behaviors. The form of leadership and the way you meet your employees shapes them. If you are not satisfied – start by thinking of what kind of leadership you exercise and your view of your employees. You get the employees and the culture you deserve.
We at Core of Development have had the privilege of being able to ask employees at companies in 52 countries and the answers and unequivocal: all employees want to be considered as wanting to contribute, creative and enterprising and want to be an important part of the business’ development and success. Adopt that view of your employees and treat them accordingly:
- Be transparent
- Involve employees in decisions that affect them
- Listen to all employees and give everyone a chance to make their voice heard
- Stay fact-based to avoid opinions
- Let decisions be made at the level where employees are affected by decision
- Trust employees’ solutions
By consistently exercising a leadership that is based on the view that employees can contribute to solutions that develop and move the company forward and that allow them to contribute, you drive a cultural change in the best way. A cultural change is created in the small things, in meetings between employees, conversations in coffee breaks, experiences of how you are treated by managers. If you can maximize the number of occasions where employees are treated with respect and trust, the culture will be shaped accordingly. Commitment and responsibility will increase. Pointing out and stating which corporate culture you want has little effect, unless you live daily in accordance with what you want to achieve.