In July 2016, the CIPD released their research report entitled: “A duty of Care? Evidence of the importance of organisational culture to effective governance and leadership”. The report highlights the fact that Culture is essential for an organisation to be successful but recognises that shaping Culture is a timely complex process. The report calls for business leaders and board members to take more responsibility for sculpting organisational culture, as well as addressing cultural issues should they arise. Furthermore, the report provides recommendations on how boards can understand, measure and develop organisational culture, but what is culture anyway?
What is culture?
“The way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time”
– Cambridge Dictionary
What is organisational culture?
In the workplace, its generally accepted that organisational culture is the way that things are done. Culture determines business values, management styles, the way everyone interacts with each other internally and with external customers and even down to how people dress for work.
Organisational culture stems from those at the top of the business, but it will come as no surprise to HR professionals that a key finding from the research report is that HR processes “play a significant part in sustaining organisation cultures”. Namely the processes that seek out and reinforce desired behaviours which are in line with corporate values: Recruitment, Induction and Training and Performance management.
On reading the report I reflected on my working life prior to business, in my experiences as an employee. I recalled that the companies in which I had worked made a good job of seeking out the right behaviours at the recruitment stage. All of the companies made job applicants aware of their company mission, vision and the values they recruit on before an applicant even applied for a role. Unfortunately, I also recalled that the emphasis on these elements quickly diminished once the applicant became an employee. The company mission, vision and values were quickly forgotten or even considered irrelevant to the day to day job for the majority of employees. After reading the CIPD report and reflecting on my previous experiences I thought that I would put them to the test.
We found that less than a quarter of Business or HR professionals felt confident that their employees know their company vision, mission and values. Granted, these elements are only a small segment of the much wider remit of organisational behaviour. However, ensuring that employees know what they are working towards and what is expected of them would seem an obvious pre-requisite to ensuring buy-in and commitment before we can measure, report and scrutinise further?
Both the report and our research results led to us to question internally at Natural HR, “What can we do to support the businesses which we serve, in ensuring their company mission, vision and values are truly embedded across the organisation?”
The outcome and our first step as an HR software vendor, is to ensure that businesses have a platform whereby their company vision, mission and values can be shared with all employees. We’ve added the option for companies to display these on the homepage of the employee self-service portal in which employee’s login to update their personal details, request leave and so on – one system with regular use therefore ensuring regular reinforcement of company values.
We will be continuing to build on ensuring that HR Tech can meet with the needs of HR processes to support organisational culture. If you have ideas that you would like to see implemented, please get in touch as we would love to hear them.