Company Health: Tips for avoiding Organisation Culture failures this Season

By Janique Charles, London Shaper


Whether you're stepping into a new organisation for the first time or in your sixth year working for the same company, you find yourself in the midst of a group of people who share an overall culture and way of operation. That culture is what you make of the atmosphere and gives you a good idea of the type of new world you're getting yourself into.

As we all know organisational culture (OC) is a secret or maybe very blatant code of ethics, values and expected behaviour that constitute the social and psychological makeup of the environment of the workplace. And since our environment has the power to nurture us into another version of ourselves, organisational culture should be at the forefront of every leader's minds. The workplace environment can either support you or destroy you. It can increase morale, creativity and productivity or discourage you to the point where you’ve developed a bitter resentment for your vindictive coworkers and demoralising boss and attack them with a slew of nasty words which could incur reputational breakdown and immediate separation between you and your payroll - indefinitely. So it’s better to stay away, for your health and everybody else’s. But does it really have to be this way?

Mr. Michael Watkins, out of the Havard Business Review, stated that ‘Culture is the organization’s immune system.’ Drawing parallels to a corporate environment, a healthy immune system need always be present, one that that is a working understanding enforced by management of what keeps like-minded people - people working together for the proper functioning of the business, that first screens, all incoming and existing employees on all levels for any disruptive behavior or mal practices. These mal practices like bullying, corruption, disrespect for organisational rules, intolerance, demoralising acts and second would then face elimination by reform or expulsion, to ensure the smooth and proper functioning of the business.

My five ingredients for a healthy OC:

Employee-Boss Feedback:

It’s usually the other way around. During appraisals, some company leaders call their employees to the round table for a review of their year’s work and let them know if they are satisfied, what areas need improvement or at worst, why they’re firing them. Employees certainly don't have the power to fire their bosses, but an open platform to respectfully share their sentiments on their bosses, like effective communication, respect can make employees feel like they are being heard and they are working in a democratic organisation and not a dictatorship or worse, a plantation.

Managerial screening and training:

Those who hire Senior employees who lead teams may not always find the man or woman that fits the organisation to a T, and in a world where time is money and spots need to be filled fast, it may prove beneficial to hire someone on a probational basis, allowing a warming up period where, not left to their own devices, the new kid on the block is trained for the specific requirements of the job and re-assessed after a short period for compatibility.

Don't skirt on the small stuff:

Employees notice things, like children notice their parents when there seems to be one rule for the children and another rule for the adults. To avoid retaliation, it is best to keep transparency and homogeneity on the rules and accepted behaviour.

Promote good work with reward but avoid favoritism:

Incentives can generate exceptional work. and inspire employees to be more productive and innovative. And although there are some overachievers who thrive on winning, one person cannot win all the time. The wealth needs to be shared otherwise the ten times in a row winner may be marked to be overthrown or resented. Also, when these do-gooders step out of line they need to be reprimanded or there needs to be some explanation otherwise there could be anarchy, or to a lesser extent, discord amongst employees. A precedent should be set and followed.

Invite ideas:

An business is never static and although a set of rules could have worked for the last ten years, it doesn't mean they can’t be improved. Employees, like recognition and like their ideas are valued and listened to, because they could actually be some really good ideas.

With all of these ideas, the common denominator is, avoiding disgruntled and unhappy employees. Otherwise your immune system is compromised, and the organisation could be in trouble.



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