Newer building blocks of organisational culture 

O.C. Tanner’s latest report lists out the increasing responsibilities of corporate leaders in building a positive and productive workplace

October 18, 2023 10:25 am | Updated 10:25 am IST

Representational picture

Representational picture

At any given time, organisational culture is a diamond in the rough, requiring polishing.

And like diamonds, there are many facets to it, and there are nuances to how to make them all shine bright. O.C. Tanner’s “2024 Global Culture Report” (which marks the report’s sixth edition) is essentially an effort to understand how organisations shine the various sides of this “diamond”, and what makes the effort challenging, and the rewards that result from getting it right.

Through data gathered from more than 42,000 employees, leaders, HR practitioners and executives from 27 countries, it shines the light on the challenges to building a robust organisational culture.

One, the report spells out how organisational culture is impacted for the better when business leaders manage change, show empathy, practise flexibility, build skills and develop resilience.

The leadership factor

* Employees who perceive their leaders as possessing the tools to help them manage change are:

~ 5x more likely to feel a sense of community

~ 6x more likely to thrive at work

~ 10x more likely to feel a strong sense of trust

~ 76% less likely to experience burnout

* When leaders have the tools to help employees manage change, their own risk of burnout decreases by 73%.

* When employees have a voice in organisational changes, the belief that the organisation is people-centric, trusts employees and instils a sense of community gains ground.

* Employees picture themselves staying 2.5 years longer at their organisation when their leader is empathetic.

Disturbing realities

* Only 27% of leaders feel strongly prepared to help their people navigate change.

* Only 59% of employees feel their leaders’ expressions of empathy are accompanied by meaningful action and support, and only 58% of organisations take action to improve after receiving employee feedback.

The flexibility factor

Flexibility is a massive building block of a positive workplace culture, particularly in the post-pandemic world. Employees do not want just flexibility, but equitable flexibility, one that is inclusive and not discriminatory.

The report lists five contributing factors to creating equitable flexibility — leadership support, organisational support, employee empowerment, work choice and time management.

* When flexibility is equitable, there are 8x higher odds that employees would want to stay another year.

* While people universally want flexibility for themselves, 68% feel it should also be available to every employee regardless of role. However, only about half (57%) say their culture supports flexibility in every job.

* Odds of burnout increase 5x when employees are dissatisfied with the level of flexibility at work.

Skill building

The report says there are 5x greater odds of employee fulfilment when an organisation supports skill building.

However, many organisations believe employees who want to learn new skills are “plotting” to expand their employment options. However, less than a quarter of workers (22%) say they would want to build skills to leave for a job in a new field at a different organisation.

Leadership resilience

Employees who believe their leaders are nimbly resilient are 9x more likely to think they are also nimbly resilient. But only 30% of employees believe their organisation is nimbly resilient, the report adds.

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