What is Organizational Culture?
Organizational culture; a healthy culture helps in laying the groundwork to create and maintaining a vibrant, collaborative, supportive work environment. It will help to engage employees and create a positive work environment. But can anyone in your organization express the essence of your culture if asked to describe it? If not, you will have a hard time knowing what adjustments may be needed to maintain or build a better culture.
Organizational culture is not your mission statement. Organizational culture will affect what you do and how you do it, driven by why you do it. A positive culture helps you make better products and provide better services. You do that by attracting and retaining top talent that can do the job well and with a good attitude and superior inter and intrapersonal skills.
Smuckers, the large producer of such products as jams, jellies, peanut butter and ice cream toppings, shapes its culture on family values. It will not advertise on shows with violent or sexual content. It also hires people not just on their skills but on their good attitude.
The late Paul Smucker gave advise to all supervisors and managers. That advise was to say thank you for as job well done and to to listen to others with their complete attention. In 2010 they had sales of $4.6B and in 2016 had revenues of $7.81B. Besides manufacturing high quality products, they have a good people formula for maintaining a successful, positive work culture.
A healthy culture in a healthcare organization must support open and transparent communication between co-workers and departments. Trust between managers and employees is also a key factor. Taking actions based on the goal of creating an excellent experience for the patient and family members should be a high priority for all staff members.
Some describe culture as “how things are done” or “the right way” to do things. I believe that is true but is only a partial representation of what organizational culture is.
- Organizational culture is driven by management.
- Organizational culture has instilled shared beliefs that direct decisions and actions of all employees from parking lot attendant to doctors.
- Organizational culture support, challenge, motivate, engage, and lift employees to reach maximum potential.
I can go on and on. Some of the most successful organizations put employees first. Results follow. Many are based on core values like trust, integrity and recognition of individuals but more importantly high performing teams. Michael Watkins, professor at IMD, shared some of his thoughts in a 2013 Harvard Business Review article. He noted that organizational culture was like an immune system preventing the wrong thinking and wrong people from entering the company.
A final thought from David Novak, former CEO of YUM Brands. If you are not familiar with YUM Brands, you may be more acquainted with the company names under their umbrella such as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Pepsi. David was a strong proponent of giving recognition to employees and listening to their input.
In 2011 under his reign, he was managing 1.4 million employees in 120 countries with revenues of $12.6B. In the Harvard article David noted,”Great companies talk about their work environment and the cultures they have. Making the culture your number one priority is the biggest single thing you can do.”
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