Company Culture Your Missing Link to Digital Transformation
Posted 9 months ago03 Apr 2019
Even with all the technological advancements taking place in the modern workplace, many do not place an emphasis on developing an organizational culture.
Why is company culture so important?
Even though company culture is the main thesis of this article, we feel that we must provide you an example beforehand so that you understand what the whole article will constitute.
Company culture is like the attitude of an employee. It has a tendency to make or break you. The strength of your organizations’ internal culture can determine whether or not the business will be able to expand in the years to come.
In a business environment, especially the modern one, it is an established rule that the only thing that is constant within the business world is change.
The ability to change in the face of unforeseen and rapidly evolving environments is detrimental to the existence of a business. The change must take place with significant foresight and ability, which should pivot the company to respond to the shifts in the marketplace. Which takes us to the crux of this argument, how would you respond to such a change if your workforce is not reflective of the responsiveness you wish to achieve?
The Importance of Company Culture
Corporate culture has always been an important consideration, but only recently have we seen it become a popular topic of discussion. To business aficionados and analysts, it has gained the status of a buzzword, losing its inherent meaning due to an overabundance of content and the discussions around it.
To us, it has not really become a buzzword and we acknowledge the impact company culture has on the modern organization. Why do we feel such an impact? Read more to find out.
The Benefits of Strong Culture
First of all, there are clear benefits that you can gain from having a strong and unified company culture as the backbone of your business operations:
- Identity: As a first, we can easily say that culture contributes significantly to the values of your company. For example, if your corporate culture is focused on setting and meeting goals, then your employees will also be more likely to set and meet their own goals. It is an effective tool to maintain the direction of your employees. Without having an identity for yourself, it is tough to keep the values of your company coherent.
- Retention: When you have established a strong company culture, there is no doubt that it will attract better talent. Moreover, the culture of your company will help in retaining that talent. It is basic group psychology. When people feel that they belong to an organization, something whose values they identify with, they are more likely to stick around for the long term. This means lower turnover, fewer new hires to deal with, and better overall chemistry between team members.
- Image: A good corporate culture leads the way to a better brand identity. If you treat your employees well and provide a fun-loving and conducive atmosphere, then your customers are going to perceive you as a fun-loving and generous brand. Depending on your company’s demographics, it could prove to be a major boon for gaining sales and ensuring customer loyalty.
It is highly likely that you are familiar with these tenets of organizational culture. In the years to come, culture is going to become even more relevant in the coming years, which means that all these will increase in line.
To demonstrate the importance of a strong culture, we are going to use a case:
“Jenna just recently started at a digital agency as a digital marketing intern. While being a bright employee, with substantial marketing knowledge, she is a bit rough around the edges with handling documents. Her supervisor gives her a task of compiling last month’s analytics reports into PDF format for a meeting that will take place an hour later. To accomplish that task, Jenna first converted the images, which were in JPG to PDF.
However, the PDF conversion software didn’t give her the desired results. She then went online to find out that images with the PNG format work best with PDF. She converted the JPG files into PNG and searched online for a PNG to PDF converter. But even then the desired result did not come out. Confused, she went to her supervisor to solve this problem. The supervisor, being in the position he was in, solved the problem in minutes. All set for the meeting, he told Jenna, ‘You should have asked for help earlier. We are all in this together’. At that point, Jenna felt that she really belonged at that place”.
Trends and Competition
The biggest motivating factor for companies is the fact that corporate culture is becoming a popular consideration as the day’s progress. More and more companies are shifting their focus towards creating thorough brand cultures and preserving themselves through ongoing developments.
The shift towards company culture is at least partially due to the fact that culture is talked about more frequently. Several studies have shown an increasing turnover rate for companies that do not focus on company culture or have no culture at all. In the entrepreneurial circle as well, culture is talked about more frequently.
Now you might be inclined to think that because it is a buzzword, everyone is hopping on the bandwagon. However, we encourage you to think objectively towards culture as a whole instead of just doing so because other companies are following the status quo. Also, most of these are companies you might be directly competing against, so it is not such a bad idea to conduct research through the bandwagon. If you do not keep pace with a strong culture or find some way to differentiate yourself, you are going to fall behind.
Millennials and Their Expectations
Like it or not, the force that is driving the major changes in the modern workplace is millennials. Your growth and your brand image are going to stagnate if you do not have an active millennial talent operating in your company. Moreover, you could eventually hit a talent shortage.
While that is true, the thing that millennials look for the most is a strong company culture when deciding who they are going to work for. If the culture of your company is not strong or appealing, then you are going to find yourself on the losing end of the recruitment war very quickly.
The Startup Economy
With the rise of the modern startup economy, we have also seen the emergence of some interesting variables in the entrepreneurial community. The modern entrepreneur has a virtually unlimited number of digital resources to start up a business. Especially in the tech sector, these entrepreneurial endeavors can either take off or fail relatively quickly. This creates a need within the market, a need for entrepreneurs to differentiate themselves from the fray. Company culture serves that need really well, as it might let the worker decide whether or not they are going to bounce off or stay put after a short-term assignment.
High Time for a Culture Audit?
Once you are fully sold that good company culture is important to the future of a business (which it is), you might want to take a good look around your own company. You can see the company when you perform a “culture audit”. Simply put, a culture audit helps to evaluate where your current culture stands, and sees what is missing, and establishes a plan to make corrections. Here are some of the basics of what might be present in your culture audit.
- Theory: How is your company culture? Where is defined most? The theory should detail the extent to which the culture is defined, and whether or not they are available to new hires.
- Understanding: How would you analyze the level of understanding your employees have about the company culture? Are they aware of your brand values?
- Consistency: Even if the workers are aware of your culture, they might not enforce it or in other words, “make it live and breathe”. How often do you see your company leaders failing to adhere to the culture? What does that speak about the attitude of your workers?
All of that being said, there is no “correct” rubric for the company culture. Every business is different, but you will need a consistent and stronger set of values if you want to keep up with the competition in the near future. From here, culture is just going to become more important.
Developing a Company Culture Focused on Digital Transformation
Stress Test Your Organization
Cultural audits are useful in their own right. However, the best way to see where your organization stands is to test the waters. Digital transformation is a scary thing for many enterprises. It goes against the status quo of management that many companies have been practicing for centuries, similar to how power shifts from top-down. Information sharing is now a lot more organic, and the expertise develops itself.
If you think that decision-making power still belongs to the executive bunch, you might have a problem. We are no longer in the era where top-decision making means efficiency. The companies that embrace digital transformation are the ones that can survive in the long run. Risk-averse companies eventually find themselves vulnerable to change. You should conduct a mental inventory of the following things:
• A slow decision-making process: Whether or not the decision-making process is due to internal politics or inefficient communication, stalled decisions produce a vulnerable company.
• An inability to show value: When your ROI declines, the executives, stakeholders, and investors lose faith in the organization.
• Tunnel vision: When the company is too invested in one aspect of the business, it loses sight of other aspects that might be a catalyst for meaningful change.
• Fear. Senior managers might fear losing control of basic company functions due to digital transformation.
If your organization is guilty of any one of these weak spots, think of what will happen to the business if they are confronted by a larger change.
Set a Business Adaptability Goal
Once you have analyzed your weak spots, only then will you formally begin your journey towards business agility. The first step in the journey is an adaptability goal. The company culture is as important as, if not more as its strategy. A culture of toxicity will keep your business from achieving its goals in the allotted time frame. You can correct your company’s weak spots by addressing them in the right manner:
• Eliminate political infighting by establishing a clear and definite vision and purpose. Your organization from the executive level to the associates should move in the same direction. Shared values create streamlined processes because business is only as good as its people.
• Freedom trumps fear when employees are given the freedom to make their own decisions. When they do that, they prioritize effectively and innovate accordingly. Do not let the fear of losing control hold your company back from exciting possibilities.
• Be responsive to outside influences because living under the comfort of your company’s practice is a surefire way to disappoint your investors. Take a look at what the competition is doing, and then invest in newer technologies strategically.
• Distribute your decision-making by giving a sense of autonomy, making the employees productive in the long run. Centralized decision making is now obsolete. Let the people who are on the ground have a say in what works.
The common thread that joins all these solutions together is the fact that adaptability requires involvement from every end of the enterprise, whether it is executive or enterprise. Your organization cannot be adaptable to change if everyone does not pitch in with their part for the organization. When combined with the ability to execute decisions accordingly, adaptability is the only factor that brings about agility in a business. That ability is useful enough to keep pace with the competitive marketplace of today.