Home Concepts Organizational Theory The Organizational “House of Culture”

The Organizational “House of Culture”

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Employee Engagement and Communications

A lot has been researched and written about employee engagement in recent years. The Corporate Leadership Council research (2004) often referenced show that employee engagement is at the lowest levels in decades. A key aspect of employee engagement that plays a critical role in forming culture is employee’s commitment to the purpose, vision and values of the organization – employees feel that the company does important work and makes a positive contribution to the world. If this emotional dimension of culture is strong, then the organization is much more capable of getting employees to shift strategic direction and change behavior – because they are committed to the future direction and purpose of the organization. I personally experienced the negative impact of low engagement in a utility some years ago where low engagement caused resistance to a new strategic initiative and where behaviors verged on what was tantamount to sabotage to undermine its success.

I often experience corporate communications efforts as being disconnected from employee engagement efforts – for example, not attempting to engage employees emotionally – and not performing a role in influencing culture. Employee communications potentially has a large role to play in communicating leader’s expectations, new strategic direction and the critical role that employees can and should have in helping the organization change strategic direction, shift behavior and forge a new culture. Rather than a top down type communications approach, the bigger impact that corporate communications can have is to showcase employees exhibiting new behaviors – for example, employee blogging is a powerful influencer because it’s the voice of the employee, versus c operate speak that can often be ignored or discounted.

Talent Management

Intuitively there is a connection between organizational culture and the management of talent. Given the relative newness of talent management as a formal discipline, the impact of effective talent management based on the literature, is still somewhat vague. Cooke (2011) references the following source to provide some insight into the connection:

The assessment of an organization’s culture is a must-do activity prior to launching a set of talent initiatives; a strong talent culture sets the foundation for improving talent practices. (Linda Sharkey, 2011)

Berger and Berger (2011) describe the connection between talent management and organizational culture in the following manner:

A talent management creed is composed of a widely publicized set of core principles, values, and mutual expectations that guide the behavior of an institution and its people. Collectively, the stated principles depict the type of culture an organization strives to create to achieve its unique portrait of success. The principles of the creed are embedded into both its talent management strategy and in its talent management system by incorporating its doctrines into selection criteria, competency definitions, performance criteria, and internal selection and development processes.

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