Organisational culture has proved to be effective in influencing the behaviour of employees and managers of businesses and contribute to their overall performance.
Human resource experts also note that recruitment strategies have gone beyond looking for people with the relevant skill set but job applicants who have the right attitude.
They add that preference should be given to candidates who are dynamic and are ready to adapt to a new culture.
When a new strategic initiative is introduced by an organisation, experts note that there is likely to be a cultural factor within it as well as other major change programmes the business is pursuing.
A PricewaterhouseCooper report states that after several years of determined effort to reshape attitudes and behaviour, many boards have been left wondering why the culture within their organisation has not really changed.
The report titled, ‘Forging a winning culture’, says that a more far-reaching change in culture will take longer but adjusting critical behaviours can help your business to set the right direction and build momentum for broader change.
Culture drives strong performance
The report notes that culture is a crucial source of competitive advantage and differentiation in the financial services sector which is facing major transformation.
It explains that culture has the ability to strengthen reputation, innovation and customer focus.
“Our analysis shows that a strong culture is more highly correlated with sustainable high performance than strategy, operating model or product coverage,” the report says.
Behaviour is proving difficult to change
The findings disclose that financial services organisations have invested heavily in cultivating a culture that promotes risk awareness and ethical behaviour, yet, regulatory challenges and allegations of misconduct have persisted.
PwC notes that if cultural change is simply driven by compliance considerations, it will be difficult to gain commitment within an organisation.
The report notes that based on experience, culture can only be changed if it is aligned with business objectives and what employees value.
In order to achieve sustainable organisational culture, the report highlights some strategies to adopt.
Set a baseline for tracking progress
Culture is often seen as too intangible to evaluate and track; but by assessing the levers that influence it, the behaviour and outcomes it generates, it is possible to develop a clear and quantifiable assessment, the report explains.
It adds that this assessment can provide a clear indication of whether employees understand what is expected, whether they are translating this into their day-to-day activities, and whether rewards and other reinforcing mechanisms appropriately support this.
It says that the results derived can form the basis for clearly targeted interventions that go beyond vague talk of cultural change.
Setting a clear and realisable agenda for change
While it may be impossible to change an entire culture and way of working overnight, key judgements and behaviours can be shifted in a relatively short space of time, by helping to build momentum for broader change, the report suggests.
“So, it’s important to concentrate efforts on the few decision points and interactions that have the most telling impact (‘moments that matter’),” it adds.
Measure behaviour and attitudes
The PwC report notes that effective measurement is crucial in creating an informed basis for this diagnosis by helping to identify key strengths, the areas that require improvement and the actions that need to be taken.
It adds that managers can gauge the attitudes and behaviour that stem from the culture.
According to PwC, it is impossible to examine all the behaviours at all times, therefore, it is important to identify and hone in on the ‘moments that matter’ – the interactions and decision points where behaviours have the most impact on outcomes.
“These might include dealings with customers in areas ranging from assessments of product suitability to how complaints or insurance claims are handled. Within the organisation itself, they might include what goes into committee agendas, the relative readiness to challenge decisions, or why some people are selected for promotion and not others,” it says.
The report notes that an analysis will enable businesses to hone in on critical behaviours that need supporting, adjusting and have most influence on outcomes in the moments that matter.
It says, “Further interventions might focus on how to simplify pricing structures, reporting lines and overly complex areas of your business, which would increase transparency and make it easier for your employees to deliver the right outcomes for you and your customers.
“The diagnostic can also help to identify vulnerabilities to conduct risk in areas such as mis-selling or sanctions’ evasion. This can then be used alongside behavioural detection software and other developments to pinpoint teams or individuals that have or could compromise your organisation.”
According to the report, communication is critical in ensuring that employees understand the relevance of any changes to their own working lives and what they might gain personally from doing more than simply following prescribed rules.
Experts say that trust is crucial to the long-term growth of your business and its ability to attract talent.
It notes that big marketing campaigns or statements from the board won’t achieve this on their own but customers need to see for themselves, for example how they’re treated when they come into a branch.
According to the report, building trust among people requires a consistent approach in which no group or individual is seen to gain special treatment, even if they are a high revenue performer.