Organisational culture: definition and creation

It is important to create a healthy corporate culture. A healthy organisational culture ensures that employees are satisfied, enjoy their work and are productive. Every organisational culture is different, but there are some guidelines for creating a one for your company. It involves how you treat your employees and how employees treat each other. The organisational culture is a reflection of the environment (the company), but also of you as an entrepreneur. As an employer, you have to set an example for your employees. You want to ensure that they, just like you, always enjoy getting to work.

3 aspects that determine a healthy and strong organisational culture

According to Daniel Coyle, a New York Times bestselling author, a strong corporate culture consists of three different aspects: security, shared vulnerability and a clear purpose.

Security

To ensure security in the company and among employees, it is important to build trust and create a tight-knit family atmosphere. In this way, a certain ‘chemistry’ is created between teams and employees, which will improve worker productivity and the working atmosphere. Basically, three characteristics are important to create a ‘chemistry’ and therefore a bond between teams: energy, individuality and future orientation.

In order to create a sense of security among employees and to make security central to the organisational culture, it is important to pick up on subtle moments and to give targeted signals at important moments. As an employer, it is important to clearly show that you listen to your employees. Show that you are not afraid to make mistakes and, above all, admit your own mistakes. In a managerial role, this is very important, because in this way you show that it is not at all bad for employees to make mistakes. The company will only learn from this, and will be able to grow again.

In order to focus on security and connect with employees, you need to make sure employees feel heard. When giving positive feedback, it is important to ask if you can give the employee negative feedback as well. Ask for permission, as opposed to immediately mentioning it. The aim is not for the employee to experience pressure, but rather to look for a new solution based on the feedback.

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Vulnerability

It is important that you, as an employer and therefore as a company, express your vulnerability to the employees. A good connection and the connections in the team will not always be effortless, so there are sometimes moments that will not feel comfortable. By making yourself vulnerable as an employer and making it possible for employees to discuss certain situations, you ensure a strengthened bond between them. Employees are more likely to raise concerns with you as the employer, but it is also noticeable that employees are more likely to express their frustrations and/or opinions to each other.

Developing shared vulnerability in your organisation

As an employer and/or manager, it is important to be vulnerable in order to create a close bond with your employees. For example, ask your employee questions that show your appreciation and interest. Some examples of this are:

  • How can I assist you in increasing your work productivity?
  • Is there anything I can do so you feel more comfortable here?
  • What is something that I’m currently doing that you would like me to continue with?
  • What is something that I should stop doing so I don’t influence your productivity negatively?
  • What is something I could do more often to stimulate you at work?

It is important to make clear what you require and expect from an employee. Repeat this constantly, so that the employee knows that you like to focus on their development. Make sure you are crystal clear, so that no other interpretations are given and/or ambiguity arises.

Another form of developing vulnerability in the company is that you, as an employer, also allow yourself to be vulnerable. Bring negative messages to your employee personally, instead of sending these messages via e-mail. In this way, the employee immediately has the opportunity to respond personally and you can enter into a discussion together.

A company with a clear purpose

Make sure you have a clear goal for the organisation and the employees. What do we want to work towards and how do we want to achieve it? Do this by creating a team spirit and making yourself vulnerable as an employer. Plan a moment together to start the day or to evaluate the week. You can also choose to schedule an evaluation moment with an individual employee. This way, you continue to show involvement and interest, which will also work in your favour!

In another article, we will give you specific examples of a company culture. How does communication take place, what are the norms and values within the company and which way of working is being used based on the three aspects.

Debbie Smit
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Organisational culture