Why is organisational culture so important?

Organisational culture refers to a system of shared meaning amongst an organisation’s members. More simply, with employees spending 40 hours or more at their workplace, certain practices and environments can be observed.



How does the organisational culture affect an employee?


An organisational culture refers to ideologies, values and norms that become the ‘social glue’ that holds an organisation together. It teaches an employee how to think and what processes are in place for certain situations.

A work culture will affect both the work and personal lives of employees. This highlights the need and importance of a healthy and beneficial work environment. The state of an organisational culture is usually a determining factor in the success of an organisation.

The culture of an organisation provides boundaries and guidelines that help the employees understand the correct way to fulfil their roles.



What is organisational climate?


Organisational climate refers to the psychological environment which is reflected in organisational members’ attitudes and perceptions. It is also reflected in their behaviour and can be described as the organisation’s key set of characteristics.

The organisational climate affects the organisational culture, particularly through leadership role modelling. Elements of climate that play a role are the following:

  • Quality of leadership
  • The amount of trust employees have for each other and their seniors
  • Processes of communication (both upward and downward)
  • The feeling of doing work that is useful and beneficial
  • Responsibility/individual autonomy
  • Fair rewards for hard work
  • Reasonable job pressure
  • Opportunities for growth/promotion/upskill
  • Employee involvement
  • Employee participation



How do organisational cultures form?


While we tend to just commit to “how things are done around here,” each organisational culture does have a starting point which is usually formed by the founders or executives. There are certain cultures, however, that are simply developed on their own.

The first step when developing an organisational culture is to assess two things; what are the three strongest culture values in the organisation now and what do you want them to be?

If you are the founder of either a new organisation or an organisation that currently has a particularly toxic organisational culture, it may be particularly helpful to ask yourself the above questions and decide how you would like your business to run going forward.


The 5 benefits of a strong organisational culture


1. Unity

When an organisation has a shared culture, this helps unite employees of all demographics. In any given organisation there will be employees who come from different backgrounds, families and traditions and thus have their own set of values.

By implementing a shared culture at the workplace, employees can foster a sense of unity and understanding towards one another. This promotes better communication, less conflict, equality and ensures no employee feels neglected in the workplace.


2. Loyalty

By looking after and paying attention to your organisational culture, your employees will stay motivated and loyal to the management of the organisation. If employees feel their values are considered in all aspects of their work, they are likely to be more eager to want to contribute to the organisation’s success.

Employees are also loyal when they feel a higher sense of accomplishment in an organisation that they care about. This means they will work harder without having to be pressured.


3. Competition

When a level playing ground is established, healthy competition among employees becomes a significant benefit. Competition drives employees to perform at their best to earn recognition and appreciation from their superiors. This translates to an increase in the quality of their work, helping the organisation to thrive and prosper.


4. Direction

Employees are given direction through an understanding of the boundaries and processes of their role. Direction also allows an employee to understand what is expected of them in their role and how it contributes to the overall success of the organisation.

When an employee understands their roles and responsibilities, they are also able to accomplish tasks prior to established deadlines.

This translates into a faster workflow, which is highly beneficial to the organisation.


5. Identity

A company’s identity is perceived by employees and customers and is all determined by the organisational culture. When employees are aware of the values and beliefs of an organisation, a certain brand image or identity is formed which customers can relate to.

The image of your company is vital and how you communicate it both publicly and internally is vital to the success of your organisation. A happy organisation is a thriving organisation and will be indicated in the work that is produced.