Several business leaders strive to thrive in today’s fast-changing global market because of new challenges that have characterized the business environment. Business leaders face challenges in establishing a workplace culture that impacts productivity and organizational performance…

It is a clear fact that every business would expect to make a profit and expand its business size. However, it would then be essential for business leaders to establish a sustainable workplace culture that can impact and assist the navigation of every challenge within the organization.

Culture in the workplace is expected to define the ideal behaviour of people within the organization. The expected behaviours are to be established by business leaders and cascaded into shared beliefs and values to shape the workforce’s perspective within the organization. Consequently, the absence of a defined culture in the workplace is the root cause of low performance within an organization. To address this gap, business leaders must demonstrate a commitment to define the desired workplace culture and model the same to improve productivity in the business. They must also take cognizance of the peculiarities of their business environment to establish the desired culture without necessarily attempting to adopt another organization’s culture.

My observation about workplace culture across organizations where I have worked reveals that the personality of the top leader often informs and reflects on the organizational culture. It is worst in organizations where the culture is undefined in any way. In such an environment, it is inevitable not to have a subset culture that will hurt organizational performance. I have worked in an environment where the top leader is very value-driven and possess a solid character. The personality of the said top leader consequently reflected on the workplace culture, and it positively impacted the overall business performance. I have also worked in an environment where the leader’s personality is poor, and even though the organization had well-crafted policies in place, the character of this poor top leader rubbed off on the workplace culture, which led to overall negative performance. The moral I picked from these two environments is that leaders must make efforts to build strong character because character informs values, and culture is a reflection of values. Leaders must deliberately prioritize building character while leading others.

As organizations evolve, it would be critical for the leaders to consciously assess and strengthen their culture, which will go a long way to impact establishing policies, initiatives, and strategies that align with the set objectives. This alignment has a role in assisting the C-suite to cascade the desired behaviour to everyone within the organization.

The big question in this article is, how can leaders build and sustain a workplace culture? To respond to this question, below are a few thoughts to be considered:

a. Communicate the Expected Culture: Fundamentally, culture must be communicated clearly and consistently to everyone in the organization. This way, everyone is aware of expected behaviours in the workplace. However, communication about culture must also be intentional to avoid distortions that may lead to a lack of trust in the leaders.

b.  Attraction Strategy: In the attempt to build and sustain the desired workplace culture, organizations would require coming up with an effective attraction strategy. This strategy can support organizations to make the most of the culture. It means that during the hiring process, the focus should not be only on skill sets but also on the personality trait that fits into the organizational culture. Studies have shown that candidates with a personality trait that fits into an organization’s culture are more likely to perform better on the job.

c. Design Intentional Onboarding Programme: Another approach to building and sustaining a workplace culture is to design an onboarding program that reflects the organizational culture. By so doing, new employees will be inducted into the organization’s culture. Moreso, one of the key motives of the onboarding program is to cascade the organization’s core values and set expected behaviours for new hires.  

d. Design Reward and Recognition Programs: Reward and recognition programs are deployable tools to motivate employees that consistently model the set workplace culture. Such employees should be put in the spotlight and rewarded.

e. Design Robust Performance Management Program: Research suggests that employees that fully imbibe the workplace culture stand a higher chance of performing well on the job. Consequently, organizations need to build a robust performance management framework that reflects the workplace culture, and feedback is provided to employees about how they are aligning to expected behaviours.

In conclusion, being part of an astonishing workplace culture generates an exciting experience for everyone within a particular organization. The priority of business leaders is to create a workplace culture where there is trust, open communication, and healthy relationship. Lastly, business leaders must be consciously committed to defining, articulating, and modelling the workplace culture.

Written By: Oludare Obadina (Organizational Leadership Enthusiast)


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