The Relationship Between Organisational Culture and Productivity.
Thank you to the wonderful, Luke Smith. for writing this week’s post
Every good business leader knows that a company isn’t just a business, it’s far more than a mechanism for providing products and services and generating profit. Rather, a business is an ecosystem unto itself. And the tenor of that organisational environment is the outcome of an amalgamation of forces, from the tone leadership sets for employees to the nature of the relationships between coworkers, superiors, and subordinates.
The reality is that organisational culture doesn’t just shape the work lives of your employees, but it also strongly determines an enterprise’s overall productivity. But what is the connection, exactly, between organisational culture and productivity and what can be done, on the level of workplace culture, to drive business performance?
What Is Organisational Culture, Really?
While the term, “organisational culture,” seems to circulate widely in business discourse these days, it’s actually a concept that is not so easy to define, principally because it is an amorphous, ever-evolving, and multi-dimensional concept.
Despite the challenges of clearly defining the term, there are some important basic principles for understanding and harnessing the power of organisational culture. Fundamentally, organisational culture refers to the nature of the relationships between employees, among employees, clients, and stakeholders, and between employees and the organisation itself.
Organisational culture matters because its influence will be felt across all domains of your business. It will shape leadership practices. It will define (and potentially circumscribe) employees’ roles within the organisation. And it will even determine employees’ perspective of the company and their own stake and status within it.
Building a Productive Organisational Culture
A strong, effective organisational culture is one in which workers feel invested and accountable for the overall success of the company. Thus, it is a culture that is fundamentally positive rather than punitive.
A working environment that both values and solicits employee feedback, for example, establishes a more positive culture that telegraphs to workers that their talents, skills, contributions, and feedback are valued by and necessary to the company.
And when workers feel appreciated in this way, they are necessarily going to feel more in control of their professional lives and more immediately engaged in the success of the company. For instance, when employees at all organisational levels are integrated into decision-making processes, they will almost inevitably become more engaged in the day-to-day operations of the company. Thus, work becomes about more than just a steady pay cheque and good benefits. It’s about contributing substantively and tangibly to the wellbeing of the company, one’s coworkers, and the clients the company serves.
And there’s another key benefit to cultivating an organisational culture that embraces and inspires employee engagement: When workers feel valued and invested, they will also feel more empowered, which can provide immense mental health benefits for your workforce because they will no longer feel that their professional destiny is beyond their control, situated largely in the hands of others.
For instance, anxiety disorders can easily arise when people feel as if they have little or no control over their lives. This sense of powerlessness and uncertainty can be especially problematic in the workplace.
After all, your employees’ jobs don’t typically just impact the worker alone but can have a profound effect on the worker’s family, the financial health and well-being of the entire household. If your workers feel as if they are not valued or as if they have no control over the operation, and the success, of the company, they may easily develop debilitating anxiety, resulting in depression, low morale, and motivation, and even increased absences and a greater likelihood of turnover due to the mental and physical health effects of workplace anxiety.
Creating an organisational culture that contributes to your company’s overall productivity isn’t just about nurturing strong relationships between the company and the employees. Rather, productive organisational culture is also one that supports a highly positive corporate brand, one with which employees are happy to align themselves.
For example, workers today are increasingly concerned about the reputation and the practices of their organisation. A company that prioritises social responsibility, for instance, is not only going to be more attractive to talented prospects, but it can also be deeply motivating for established workers. Employees, in other words, are more likely to deeply, fully invest their best efforts when they are working for a company whose values they share and whose practices they believe wholeheartedly in.
Organisational culture is not exactly an easy term to define, but it can be a paramount factor in optimising your company’s performance. Indeed, organisational culture is strongly linked to overall company productivity because it shapes and defines the nature of the relationship among employees, between staff and the customers they serve, and even between the workers and the company itself. When employees feel valued and empowered, for instance, they will have less anxiety and will be far more likely to devote themselves assiduously to their work. Similarly, when the organisational culture embraces values, standards, and practices in which the employees strongly believe, they’re going to be more loyal, happier, and more productive.
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but leadership and digital marketing topics are his favourite. When he isn’t writing you can find him travelling, hiking, or gaming.
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