Will the real workplace culture please stand up?

Workplace Culture is one of the most heard and talked about organizational topics these days. Placed as an important trend of the future, by Deloitte’s Global Human Resources Trends Report (2016), good work culture is definitely a differentiating factor for any organization’s success.

We have often heard about the stellar profits and revenues of big multinationals like Google, Zappos, Southwest Airlines, and Patagonia, companies that are also known to have some of the best work cultures. But one thing very few know is that these companies achieve these magnanimous results and have even managed to increase their profits 10 folds by just focusing on building a strong culture. So in a way, financial growth is directly correlated to an organization’s culture. Such is the importance and gravity of workplace culture, that many companies in the western world are laying special emphasis on building and sustaining a strong cultural DNA.

“ If you have the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself” 

– Tony Heish, CEO and Founder of Zappos

In simple terms, organizational culture is the values the organization stands by, the beliefs that its employees have, and the experiences that its employees go through. As simple as this may sound, building and sustaining a good culture is often one of the biggest challenges an organization faces. Some companies who have managed to achieve this feat have invested years of efforts to create a winning environment by following one simple rule,

From leadership to policies, focus on all culture touchpoints in an organization construct

In India however, organizational culture is perceived quite differently. Most often it is mistaken as the perks or benefits an organization gives its employees. We often believe that an organization has a good culture when they provide employees with flexible work times or give them fully stocked up pantries or organize frequent office parties and get-togethers etc. Although these perks are important, they don’t guarantee engagement or performance. Most organizations seldom realize that in a workplace they are dealing with employees who think and rationalize things based on the experiences they go through and the beliefs they hold.

So is the definition of organizational culture in corporate India flawed?

Well, to put it in a softer sense, the definition of organizational culture in India is skewed and maybe even abused. On a deeper thought, many companies in India focus on superficial attributes of culture. Whereas, in order to create a good culture, companies need to focus on creating a good and rational workplace experience, which will help them achieve high performance and engaged employees

Workplace Experience is actually the foundation for high performing organizations

So what exactly is workplace experience? In a broad sense, it is the sum total of all experiences that employees go through in an organization, which forms the base for any organization. This has been explained very well by Rogers Connors’ and Tom Smith’s ‘Result Pyramid Structure’

In any organization, there are two ways to look at this pyramid. An employee view, which defines experiences as an outcome of the result-oriented actions of the leadership team coupled with the employee’s beliefs. On the other hand, there is a leadership view, which defines these experiences that employees should go through leading them to formulate beliefs that eventually culminate into actions yielding results.

In any given view, experiences form the base for a result-oriented high performing organization. Companies that focus on creating the right workplace experience enable their employees to form the right beliefs and take the right actions, which eventually lead to stellar results. Some of the tangible outcomes of a good workplace experience are high performance, engaged and happy employees, low attrition, superior customer experience but the intangible outcomes are above and beyond.

Good organization culture is actually a result of good workplace experience

Companies in the western world have recognized this and are acting upon it, but the ideology of creating a good workplace experience leading to good work culture is still trying to find its foot in India. Indian companies need to start focusing on creating the right workplace experiences, frequently measuring these experiences, and taking interventions to course correct. We need to have our own Google’s, of the world and until and unless we do this right it will just be a dream.

At Culturro, we strongly believe in the importance and impact of workplace experience in an organization. We think that companies can truly achieve their strategic objectives by focusing on creating the right workplace experience.

Get in touch with us to know how we can help you craft the right workplace experience to achieve your strategic objectives

Send us a shout at [email protected]

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