Employees Learning of Culture
Employees can learn organisational culture in the following ways:
1) Stories: Every organisation has their own success stories that are passed on to the new employees. These provide distinctiveness to the organisation whether it is the family or the corporate house for which an individual works. Next-generation adapts these stories from the previous generation and hence becomes aware of organisational culture.
2) Rituals: Rituals are repeated actions that are not very crucial for an organisation’s goals but are still a very essential part of an organisation’s existence as they clearly state the areas of importance. For example, programmes for awarding employees, annual dinners for employees, etc.
3) Material Symbols: Material symbols or ranks are associated with every designation in the organisational hierarchy. These symbols depict the organisational culture.
For example, the facilities like vast parking spaces, large work areas, decoration, etc., and other benefits that are enjoyed by an individual according to the designation in the organisation depict the culture of an organisation. It can be an open door, informal culture of typical bureaucratic culture or multi-layered or status-oriented culture.
4) Language: In many organisations, the employees and other sub-groups prefer using their typical official language, which mostly includes professional jargon. Management people can be easily recognised by their language. In an organisation people may like to greet each other when they pass or may prefer to ignore others, i.e., the code language used by members of the same groups demonstrates the kind of culture that prevails in that organisation.
Role of Culture in an Organisation
Organisational culture is very important in binding the employees together to attain organisational effectiveness. Following are the different functional roles played by culture in an organisation:
1) Acts as Talent Attractor: For a prospective employee, organisational culture is an important factor to be considered before joining any organisation. Hence, it has become very difficult to find talented employees and those who are available have become very selective in their choice. They demand something more than higher packages, perks and incentives. They desire an environment where they can feel comfortable and become successful. In such a situation, good organisational culture helps draw excellent and promising employees.
2) Engages People: Organisational culture allows employees to be involved in their work. This results in greater productivity and hence increases the profitability of the organisation.
3) Creates Greater Synergy: A strong culture makes. It gives people a chance to come together and interact with others in a better manner thus, leading to new relationships. These relationships will facilitate the development of new and more creative ideas and hence increase synergy in employees’ work which in turn enhances productivity. It is rightly believed that 1+1+right culture= more than 10.
4) Makes Everyone more Successful: Every individual can become successful by investing proper time, and talent and focusing on the culture of the organisation. A good culture is not only beneficial for employees but also builds good business thinking.
5) Acts as Control System: Culture affects employees’ decision-making and attitude. It is a control system, which unconsciously influences an individual’s thought process Employers to assume that it is an automatic driving force that guides employees to act by the organisation’s outlook.
6) Operates as Social Bond: Organisational culture acts as a “social bond”, which connects all the employees and they consider themselves as a part of the organisation. Employees crave social identity and due to this, they are provoked to internalise the organisation’s prevailing culture.
7) Helps in Logical Thinking: Organisational culture helps employees to understand the happenings within an organisation. It also helps them to determine what others expect from them and motivates them to communicate with other employees who know the culture in a better way and also believe in it.
Barriers to Organisational Culture
Following are the barriers to organisational culture:
1) Culture Limits Organisations to Change as per Environmental Demands: Current environment ins which organisations are working is rapidly changing but culture restricts the organisation to act as per the demands of the changing environment.
2) Culture Demands New Employees to Confirm its Values: When a new employee joins an organisation he brings with him a different culture. Rather than accepting good characteristics of his culture, the organisation demands the new entrant to accept and adapt prevailing values and culture.
3) Breakage of Various Business Alliances: Today, many business associations like mergers, and acquisitions are proceeding towards splining stage due to the strong cultures of the parties.
Thus, culture has both merits and demerits. Cultures should be flexible to maximise the merits and reduce the demerits. Culture needs to be changed with time so that the organisation can also change as per the changing environment. Thus, culture must act as a catalyst to adopt the change.
Creating Customer Responsive Culture
A customer-responsive culture is one where employees are friendly and courteous, accessible, knowledgeable, prompt in responding to customer needs and willing to do what’s necessary to please the customer, Customer responsive cultures hire service-oriented employees with good listening skills and the willingness to go beyond the constraints of their job descriptions to do what is necessary to please the customer. It then clarifies their roles, frees them up to meet changing customer needs by minimising rules and regulations, and provides them with a wide range of decision discretion to do their jobs as they see fit.
For example, McDonald’s is the No. 1 fast food because of the systems or cultures that are prevalent in each outlet and its customer-oriented service. A customer-responsive culture is a path to customer loyalty and long-term profitability. Companies that have created such cultures as Southwest Airlines, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson, Nordstrom, Jet Airways and Shopper’s Stop in India – have built a strong and loyal customer base and have normally outperformed their competitors in financial performance and revenue growth.
Six key variables are important for creating customer-responsive cultures:
1) Type of Employee: First is the type of employees themselves. Successful, service-oriented organisations hire employees who are friendly and outgoing.
2) Low Formalisation: Second is low formalisation. Service employees need to have the liberty to meet varying customer service requirements.
3) Empowerment: Empowered employees have the decision discretion to do what is necessary to please the customer.
4) Good Listening Skills: Employees in customer-responsive cultures can listen to and understand messages sent by the customer.
5) Role Clarity: Service employees act as boundary spanners between the organisation and its customers. They have to agree to the demands of both their employer and the customer.
6) Organisational Citizenship Behaviour: Finally, customer-responsive cultures have employees who exhibit organisational citizenship behaviour. They are moral in their desire to please the customer.