New Manager

Open culture, key for today’s corporates

Sanjay Dhawan | Updated on November 18, 2014

As companies continue to expand their presence across the globe, dealing with different cultures and demographics, it has become more important than ever to establish and facilitate an open culture within a global organisation.

A positive corporate culture plays a powerful role in creating excellence, inspiring innovation, and delivering value.

CEOs and Chief People Officers today face numerous challenges in uniting employees across continental and cultural barriers. Creation of a positive corporate culture, especially for organisations that are growing fast, is hinged on one pivotal aspect: communication. Encouraging open dialogue across hierarchies can help a company create a collaborative working atmosphere, while excelling in terms of employee engagement and overall bottomline success. Facilitating an open culture also involves encouraging employees to bring ideas to the table on the topic.

So the question that is raised is this: what is the key to promoting an open culture? From my experience, some of the key aspects of building an open organisational culture involve the following steps:

Set the example: An organisation’s culture is defined by the behaviour of the management team. Company leaders need to be committed to lead by example, “talking the talk”, while also “walking the walk”. They have to put their words into action, thereby amplifying the core values and inspiring employees to follow.

For example, a CEO who encourages other team members to take the initiative and lead some discussions can demonstrate their interest in contrasting opinions and dedication to an open work environment.

Engage with employees: When business leaders recognise and respect each employee’s uniqueness and background, it brings to life interesting perspectives and specific expertise. Encouraging employees to play a tangible role in the organisation’s growth adds more to their sense of fulfillment, gives them a purpose, and drives involvement.

It becomes important for the leadership to invite employees to speak up and be an active part of what shapes the future of the company. Encouraging team leaders to institute “open forums”, at the end of internal meetings, can inspire team members to share ideas in a safe and constructive environment, regardless of hierarchy.

Use metrics to create transparency: To define success for an organisation, its employees must be able to map their individual activity to the organisation’s performance and profitability.

Having a clear understanding on the company’s goals, vision, innovation quotient and performance through greater transparency is crucial in enabling this.

For example, implementing a system of periodic and regular internal communication that highlights the key achievements and activities for a certain month or quarter is a valuable tool for creating transparency, especially across a large workforce.

Demonstrate your appreciation: Making employees feel valued for their contributions through rewards and recognitions is also a valuable tool to foster an open culture and good communication. Regularly recognising, encouraging and inspiring employees makes them feel valued.

When individuals know their long hours, successful completion of projects and winning attitudes are appreciated, it makes a significant difference to their ability to contribute and lead others. Never underestimate the power of a simple ‘thank you’.

Through an open culture and transparent communication, companies can lay a solid foundation for success and collaboration amongst employees from different cultural and geographical backgrounds, providing them a workplace that they would love to be a part of.

The writer is President & CEO, Symphony Teleca

Published on November 18, 2014

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