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Can I, as an employee, impact Company Culture?


There are mainly three reasons why people leave their job. These are:

1. The work expectation did not match.

2. The compensation package was low, and

3. They did not like their Manager (Boss).

In widely researched studies around the world, it is found that sl 3 is the most common reason. It's also said that people quit bosses, not jobs. And if the manager sucks, it is obvious that culture needs a look into.

Part of the problem is the employee mindset that feels that company culture is the responsibility of the top management and from there, it flows down. As per an HBR report, 59 percent of employees think the CEO and other top leaders are responsible for changing culture. That leaves 41 percent who feel differently. Unless this 59:41 ratio changes the other way and the number can be brought as close to 100% as possible, the culture change is going to be a difficult task.

Employees can, and do impact culture. Let us see how the employees can impact the culture of their company. Here are eight things the employees can try out to make things turn around:

1. Own up your responsibility for your own role. Look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly, "Am I a part of the problem?" You may not be the problem, but the chances are bright that you can help correct the system. Mostly, there are at least a few things one can personally change. List them out, even if it is a long list - Your personal attitude, your efforts to make positive contributions to the culture, and how you communicate with subordinates under your authority - are a few things to consider.

2. Leaders are there at every level in any organization, and they can use their influence to make things better. The true leaders at a company aren't always the boss. It may even be you or your friend on the same shop floor. Join hands and as a leader, set up an example that people want to follow. Don’t underestimate yourself. If you understand the vision, explain it to your team members. Support the vision conspicuously. A group can accomplish great things if they share the same vision and mission. It's contagious. Keep on motivating yourself. Influence your circle, your department, and ultimately the total organization.

3. To start with, make yourself open, transparent, and fair. No petty, backbiting office politics and social poisoning. If there are high school mentality employees, help them to get mature. Tell them the advantages of a common culture, common goal, and common mission. It is mostly seen that sooner or later people reciprocate open, transparent, and fair people, even if it takes them a while. It's refreshing to share your ideas freely as what's best for the company--even if you may not be right, all the time.

4. Try to Educate even your boss on company culture with the help of articles from the internet. You may be surprised. She may be equally keen to change the current atmosphere but lacks drive. Share what you learn and what you're reading with the boss and makeup as if it is her idea to go to the senior management or the board.

5. Try to feel the difference after some time, maybe a fortnight, maybe a month. See, if things have changed when you walk into the office or when you know your co-workers are happy. If the effects are less whining or grumbling, teams more focused and productive, everyone working harder, it is time to show it to the boss. If the boss sees this impact--if she has any leadership capacity whatsoever--she would jump on the culture wagon ASAP.

6. Ask questions from HR. They know more about the mission and vision of the company. Find out what they think about culture and how it's communicated to employees. Sometimes HR forgets, and you might be a helpful reminder.

7. Wait for the results to come out. It is not instant coffee. You may have to follow the principle of farming. The cultural shift requires great effort and time to get just right. And frankly, it's never perfect, but we should always be working on incremental improvement.

8. Try to engage colleagues and management on culture at a regular interval. You never know, you will start getting accepted as a new thought leader.

If the employees of the company can motivate each other, in no time the top management will notice it and it will become a WIN-WIN situation for everyone in the enterprise. The purposeful and deliberate action of working on culture is one of the best things you and your company can do. But, don't bite off more than you can chew. Sit back and watch as things get better.


Follow Business Culture Club for more tips and learning material on all things organisation culture.

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