It happens that even honestly developed values do not convey the main meanings to the addressees. Meantone and employees see something else. Who is to blame and what to do?
They say that corporate culture can be formulated “from below.” It is also obvious that where it is called to be a management tool, the important contribution, and support of the “top” cannot be dispensed with. One of its key functions is a “contract” between management and employees, clarification of the expectations of both parties.
And on the office wall, for example, values serve only as a reminder of these arrangements. The greatest role is played by people who are aware of the meanings and can convey them while maintaining intonation.
Corporate Culture as a Management Method
Less than ten years ago, most companies dispensed with corporate culture components. Business processes, regulations, a vertical of management and a long average experience formed quite an effective space for themselves. When newcomers came, they were planted for Talmuds of documents “for familiarization,” they were told where and at what time they had lunch, and then they transferred the newly arrived employee to the chief. Further, his responsibility is what exactly and in what capacity to broadcast to his subordinates.
Then businesses found themselves in a competitive environment and under the influence of constantly changing economic factors. I had to regularly introduce “plus or minus planning” and “full edge”. They began to say that there were not enough business processes, but no one could handle this in a good way: as long as you describe the business process, it will change several times.
Then began the attempt to manage values. Many understood: if you do not know clear plans and processes, then it is important to at least fix what principles and guidelines to follow. What to rely on in making decisions. The companies have “mission”, “vision”, “values”.
Why not internal communications
Responsible for corporate culture in many companies have become specialists in the field of internal communications. It seems to be logical: he does the events internally, he writes in the corporate media, and this profession is “about people” and their interaction. And yet, this approach has several limitations.
- Somewhere, management understands that components of corporate culture are needed (mission, vision, values, principles, rules, manifesto, etc.). But, for example, formulates them, based on the practices of other companies or ideas “as it should.” The credibility of an internal communications manager may not be enough to suggest a different approach. As a result, it can turn out “like everyone else”, which, obviously, does not inspire anyone.
- It happens that during the development process, components stop working in support of a business strategy. Because the internal committee most often simply does not have access to information and top-level arrangements. As a result, when relaying, key meanings are missed.
- You should also not lose sight of the fact that the longer an internal communications specialist works in a company, the less aware of its differences from others. He does not always have enough vision of the market, knowledge of competitors and the history of the industry to assess the peculiarity of the environment.
- Even more often, it is the intercom that initiates the development of components, and they do not receive support when relaying them. Top officials, even taking part in a strategic session and formulating something, consider this sufficient.
The risks of losing meaning and ultimately not accepting company-wide principles are high. And there are not too many attempts to implement again when it comes to corporate culture. If employees realized that the previous times didn’t work, then trust and support can continue to be expected less and less.
And then who?
Specific example. One large company developed values. On the agenda, among other things, was a discussion of honesty. Management intended to make this concept a pillar and pillar of their communications. This need arose due to the fact that managers wanted to avoid cases of hiding important information by employees who prevented them from making adequate decisions.
All were unanimously in favor until a simple question was raised: “Can we always be honest ourselves? Will we answer honestly if we risk the reputation of the company? And why do we need absolute honesty in general? ”
Thanks to this issue, the meaning became clear. In addition to the fact that values are not about how one wants to, but about how they are, the important thing was not honesty, but a responsible attitude to information. And it was the essence of this dialogue that had to be put into the basics and conveyed to employees.
- Where corporate culture rests on employees who are able to interact equally with management, who know how the first person or owner wants to grow their business, there is much less convention and falsity. Such a company has a chance to be, not to seem.
- If employees who are directly related to strategic plans are responsible for preserving the meanings, this helps to maintain focus on global goals with a greater degree of efficiency.
- If holders of corporate culture are fully aware of threats and economic factors, can rely on the experience of other companies without copying it, the design of corporate rules becomes more resistant to external influences.
- If the leaders themselves formulate a request for the components of corporate culture, take part in their development and are engaged in their further relaying, then the meanings that are laid down at the start are most likely to be heard and accepted by others.
What is the chance that it is precisely such “holders” of culture that will be able to honestly articulate it, convey key principles, help rely on agreements and make corporate culture a truly effective management tool? It seems a lot more, right?
More strategy, more communication.
This is all, of course, that does not mean that the departments of internal communications need to be dissolved. However, you should avoid “overwhelming” them with responsibility for relaying meanings and maintaining significance.
In many companies, it so far turns out that a dedicated specialist is engaged in corporate culture, who is responsible for both developing its components and reporting them. And the management reserves the right to “develop and forget”, passing the “baton” to the responsible persons. And, it would seem, the obvious fact about the need to manage the corporate culture by management, unfortunately, does not find too much evidence in practice.
This has its own reasons, and nevertheless, in companies where internal communications specialists are more installed in the strategy, and management in further communications, there really is a chance to see in the corporate culture not so much a word as an effective management tool.