Office Culture Isn’t Just an HR Problem
Thursday, September 21, 2017 3:10:15 PM

Organizational culture plays a huge role when focusing on the organizational goals of the company. Both goals and strategies are subject to constant change, and as a result, culture must adapt if it is to positively impact the organization as a whole. This is the reason why many companies promote a strong work culture, but having an outspoken workplace culture does not make it the right fit for the company in its current state by simply existing. Culture is dynamic both within and without the workspace, as it plays a large part in determining the type of institution you have to be to reach your goals with your chosen methods.

Ownership often jeopardizes possible transitions in workplace culture, as it may not align with the vision of the owner of the company, and many workplaces find that when ownership is switched over to another entity, it is important to shape decisions of changes in office culture with relation to this new owner. A concerning situation altogether, and it is further complicated by the fact that the responsibility of shifting office culture rests on the shoulders of their HR department. This is fundamentally inadequate and leaves large scope for error, inadequacy and/or inaccuracy, etc. Most companies transform it into a box ticking exercise, as it may interfere with other formal responsibilities and it is not given the same importance as many other routine-based practices. It is also easier to adapt to a long-standing or similar system, even if it is not the best option for the company.

Effective culture transition affects the way the company moves and breathes, with a profound shift in the behavior of workers. It affects how people make decisions, complete their work, prioritize tasks, etc. This nature of direct contribution comes only when the business leaders involved in the company play a huge role in it as well, rather than delegating the process to HR. Here are a few ways the business leaders of an organization can help in culture shifts-

  • Vision & Change- When a company is moving from its current state, to a desired one, it is vital to have an extensive process in place that provides a sense of progress in the process, as a whole. As such, planning plays a key part in this process where everyone involved is aware of the direction the change is moving. A strong advisory role must be played by business leaders to ensure the company is moving forward and, more importantly, in the right direction.
  • Initiative & Optimism- The nature in which culture transitions were taken care of in the past allowed the senior management to form an opinion that culture does not actually change once it has been set. Most have seen culture change only when major internal or external circumstances have forced it upon the organization, and was unprepared for tangible change. However, if these changes are made with close coordination with business leaders, they may more effectively prepare the workforce to operate within a changing, and altogether different environment. HR must be able to make decisions that have their own departmental confidence and the trust and backing of senior management. Change is inclusive and this is reflective in its application.
  • Teach Leaders About Culture Transition- It is simply impossible to assume that business leaders know about the culture influence, or know instinctively what is best for the company in its current state and context. That being said, it is vital for them to receive training for the same. Once a leader is equipped to understand and adapt to culture change, they may play a more direct role in career transition. Vital advisory roles and tasks are assigned to them and the success of these initiatives also rest on their shoulders, and with the right skills, they will be more likely to do it effectively.
  • Formal Handoff- Changes in leadership spark a series of reactions across the company, and the vision and business process begin to shift in other directions as well. While HR is a core tool for the facilitation of this process, it is as important as overall functioning and sales as it will directly impact both those things, so it is also directly related to the success of the company. With stakes this high, it is vital that business unit heads understand the fact that imminent changes in culture and structure are a huge part of their new responsibilities.