Organisational Culture, the art of attracting great talent

Noted life coach, Robbie Katanga beautifully paraphrases 'Organizational Culture' as "the way organizations 'do things'".

Zubin Zack
The culture of an organisation encompasses a collective behaviour that forges a unique social identity for the company. It represents the common values and beliefs that set the business aside from its peers and competition. It is this identity that is aspirational to thousands of young job seekers who yearn to place themselves amongst the likeable professional culture of the organisation.

Organisational culture is as unique as a human DNA. It is resultant of varied factors including the value stream of top management, employee traits, managerial quality, company lineage and the market conditions that it thrives in.

The company's vision, mission and values encapsulate its outlook and provide an inimitable identity which employees are proud to carry on their sleeves.

The importance of culture in an organisation can be understood from the fact that it is this entity that affects the way employees & stakeholders interact with each other and with external entities.

In simpler terms, organisational culture is part of the non-verbal work ethics that underline how we work at our workplaces. They are also the unwritten diktats, which govern our relevance and tenure of stay at a particular job. You follow the culture and survive; or you rebel the customary and perish.

So where does this organisational culture originate from? Experts believe that the norm is generally built by the founders of the organisation, who carry with them a particular set of beliefs and ideas. You may call it habit of the way they do business, but gradually this unique action takes over the conduct of the business in its entirety. Little by little this becomes the norm and eventually the culture of the organisation.

At times there stands a threat of the organisational culture going rogue. And if that happens to be the case, then steps need to be taken to bring about a cultural shift. Usually a powerful person helming the organisation, or a group of individuals who believe that the linear does not hold any good, figure out a new vision and bring about the change.

If following the new way brings about better results and a fresh charisma, then the organisation definitely strives onto the path of great success. A shining example of which is today's Apple Inc. which rose like a Pheonix once Steve Jobs decided to retake the reins of the faltering organisation.

Author and CEO of Lapin International David Lapin, says in an interaction that what differentiates the most successful business from the competition is their inherent culture that strives for excellence. This positivity in their demeanour also enables them to attract good people to do business with, and prospects who turn out to be the heroes of the organisation.

With business dynamics changing as we are firmly into the 21st century, Lapin believes that the businesses of the future will be played out with very different dynamics. He foretells that going forward the company strategy and its talent pool will be the aspects that will drive businesses and will help them achieve excellence.

Gone are the days where capital and assets played the iron hand in business dynamics. Today, an enviable talent pool armed with cutting-edge knowledge is ruling the roost. Take for example organisations like Facebook who do not create any content of their own, AIRBnB which doesn't own any F&B asset, Uber which doesn't own any cabs and Alibaba who doesn't have any inventory.

But what these successful businesses have in common is a ground-breaking business acumen run by the sharpest talent in the market which make them the most sought-after stock of the well. And driving the electric atmosphere at these mega businesses is the go-getter culture that all of them share.

Experts believe that to achieve the kind of halo Apple, G.E, Tata Sons, Exxon Mobil, Volkswagen, Toyota, Facebook, AIRBnB etc. command, an organisation needs to ensure that great employees fuel the business fulcrum. And to achieve that employee mix they need to have a 'magnet culture' to work with.

Seemingly, quite a large number of business leaders seek to create an enviable culture by spending eons of corporate gyan devising inimitable vision, mission and value statements. What they fail to realise even after faltering in their quest is that 'magnet culture' is not created by gifted wordsmiths, but worthy practitioners of the trade.

Culture amplifying programs which are executed well and are devised to nourish employee needs not only deliver cutting-edge results but also create engaging environments which are a joy to work at. Companies should strive to create a rich and meaningful culture that is filled with purpose, a clear direction and plenty of fun.

After all, thousands of employable workforce look forward to the Annual 'Best Places to Work At' survey before making a switch, in an effort to land up at a place where they are nurtured and appreciated well.

There is no doubt that today's organisations are employee-led and are driven by a unique employee demeanour which is both a boon and a bane. The talent pool that an organisation prides itself more often than not leads to its own catastrophe if not handled well.

The time-tested formula to attract and retain great talent remains constant throughout. Create a culture that empathises, and put yourself in the employees' shoes' to co-relate with them. Get these two parameters right and you are virtually assured of a job well done.

Ask successful business leaders and they would instinctively list out pearls of wisdom that help create the right culture. But all that is required to win well is to develop a culture that people feel compelled to associate with. Create a work environment that not only appreciates good work, but also rewards non-conformist thoughts.

Stark they might sound, but greatest discoveries are borne out of rebellion themselves. Let the employee bloom in an environment that nurtures their vision and celebrates their success. Appreciate, recognise and mean it. This is how you will be able to create that sustainable culture that people will look up to.

The writer is Director and Chief Recognition Strategist for O.C. Tanner