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Organisational culture: all you need to know to make it strong


October 18, 2021


December 28, 2023

Fresh fruits every day, a kicker table, sabbatical and any soft drinks on offer. All of these seemingly inconsequential benefits contribute to an organization's culture. Employees aren't just concerned about salary and location anymore. They are looking for much more, which is why corporate culture is increasingly moving into the spotlight. This new approach to our relationships with our work environment is pushing companies to concentrate more on this aspect. As much as a positive work culture can help a business to grow, a negative one can lead to real struggles.

What is organisational culture? Why is it important? What are the different types of culture? Let's discuss the key information about this aspect which is currently shaping the future of work.

What does the culture of the workplace mean?

Giving a proper definition of the culture of the workplace is not an easy task as it can be implemented in various ways. However, some common elements allow us to build a general description of how this important aspect can be perceived at work.

Workplace culture is a mix of values, beliefs, expectations, philosophy and vision, all commonly shared by leaders. Even though the way culture is presented in the workplace differs from one company to another, one thing reigns true: businesses with a strong corporate culture are usually more successful. According to McKinsey, work cultures that are more inclusive are actually more likely to be profitable.

Two people working together
Working together

➡️ Are you looking at improving how your workforce feels at work? Here is an interesting article about employee experience and why it is crucial in terms of results.

Why is the culture in the workplace important?

The fact that organisational culture can shape the success of a business shows how important it is, but how can it have such an influence? The way your workforce feels about your company and its values, beliefs, expectations, etc. has a big effect on the way they work. A positive work environment can definitely lead to more engagement, productivity, motivation and employees’ well-being as well as retention. A win-win situation according to research by the University of Oxford, “happy workers are 13% more productive." It is a core point that can either turn into attracting talents or into creating issues such as employee turnover.

58% of employees said they left their job due to poor workplace culture, specifically their manager.

As Peter Drucker, a management consultant and writer, said: “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. You can have the best plan for your business, if your corporate culture is weak, you will never get the expected results. Culture is for a company what the air we breathe is for us. If you inhale toxic air, you’re sick or die, if you have a toxic workplace culture, your company will probably have the same fate.

Moreover, as hybrid models are reshuffling the way we work, focusing on creating a strong culture in the workplace is becoming even more important. Indeed, this is a substantial benefit to reduce isolation risks and the creation of silos.

➡️ Do you want to know how to avoid a negative culture in the workplace? deskbird gives you the keys to creating a Positive Workplace Culture in 7 steps.

What are the 7 most common types of organisational culture?

1. Clan culture

Being part of a company with a clan culture feels like working with a family and is mainly focused on teamwork. This concept is inclusive and supportive towards employees, it emphasises and rewards collaboration initiatives. Workers are equally valued and, therefore, are more engaged.

76% of Generation Z employees said they would be more loyal to their company if they were recognized for their work.

Example of clan culture: Chobani.

2. Adhocracy culture

Innovation is at the centre of adhocracy culture. Taking risks is not an issue, and is even recommended. The goal is to improve, to develop and to find new ways of doing what already exists by experimenting with innovative methods. 

Person brainstorming ideas
Person brainstorming ideas

Example of adhocracy culture: start-ups and tech companies like Google

3. Market culture

Market culture is less focused on employee experience and well-being. To achieve better performance is what matters the most. This type of workplace culture is highly competitive and requires a lot of hard work. 

Example of market culture: Amazon.

4. Hierarchy culture

Most commonly seen in traditional work models, the hierarchy culture is based on several management layers. Businesses that are confronted with high-risk topics are usually based on this type of structure as it helps prevent mistakes and increase organisation as well as efficiency. 

Example of hierarchy culture: companies in the healthcare industry.

5. Customer focus culture

This type of culture is based on making customers happy, satisfied and is focused on their experience, customers come first. Employees are rewarded with a feeling of pride when receiving positive customer feedback. 

two women smiling
Happy customers

Example of customer focus culture: Whole Foods.

6. Purpose culture

People working in a company that has a purpose culture are driven by the same goal which is to act for a common cause. For them, this is more important than making a profit, and those companies are often in partnership with charities or local communities. 

Example of purpose culture: Toms shoes. 

7. Creative culture

A company with a creative culture encourages the creation of new products and services. It is more than innovating a service or a product as the main goal is to come up with something completely new, to start from scratch. 

Example of creative culture: Warner Bros.

Good to know: Other types of organisational cultures include: innovative culture, task-oriented culture, role-based culture or leadership culture for example.

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How to improve corporate culture?

Some executives assume the culture of the workplace is something that happens organically. This is actually what can create a toxic environment. Business leaders are responsible for designing and communicating about the corporate culture in order for employees to buy into it.

According to Deloitte, 80% of leaders say that wellbeing is ranked as one of the most important aspects of the company’s overall success.

Even if your culture is already implemented, now knowing how important it is for the company, you may want to take a closer look at it. There are different areas that can support you in doing so, but first, observe what the current work culture is. How are people communicating with each other? What are their main drivers and motivations? 

Man with green eyes
Focus on improving company culture

From those observations, you will notice if those characteristics match your vision, your beliefs, your values and all of the aspects that are shaping the culture you wish to see. If you dislike some of the characteristics, set up a plan to change them. However, keep in mind that this is a process that requires effort and building a positive workplace culture does not happen overnight.

Your hiring practices should also reflect your values. Not only do you wish to find a person who fits your company perfectly, but you also want to draw them with your culture. A healthy working environment that attracts talent and increases your workforce retention.

As you hire new team members, we recommend creating an onboarding program. On one hand, you can share your beliefs and expectations with newcomers, while on the other hand, you help them integrate with their new working environment and community. Starting a new job in a company can trigger a lot of questions. Showing them they chose a company that has the same values is a great way to start your collaboration!

Last but not least, promoting a culture of recognition in the workplace should be one of your top priorities. It motivates your workforce and encourages them to act according to the values you stand for. Feeling valued motivates greater engagement toward the company’s growth and goals.

The culture of the workplace is a very wide topic that needs to be taken seriously if you want to create a healthy, engaging and inspiring work atmosphere and obtain positive outcomes.

The future of organisational culture is people-centric. So if you are also a company that aims at putting your employees first, you may be interested in deskbird hot desking software. Our app is based on helping businesses to embrace the hybrid work concept while supporting employees needs.

Request a free demo from our team to learn more about one of the most useful tools for the future of work!

Organisational culture: all you need to know to make it strong

Paulyne Sombret

Paulyne is a highly respected expert in hybrid work. She's known for her writing on sustainability in the hybrid office, flexible work models, and employee experience. With a strong background in content and SEO, her work explores the exciting trends and latest news in the world of work.

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