So much about the workplace has changed in the last decade, from office design to the technology we use, the way we dress and the hours we work. Significantly, organizational culture has undergone a dramatic transformation.
There’s little doubt that business success today is dependent on more substantial investment in people.
Company culture is now the buzzword in the business world. So, what is driving this phenomenal change?
1. New Technologies
The rapid development of new technology over the past decade has had a dramatic impact on the way we work. As technology has progressed, both communication and company culture has changed significantly.
Technologies such as mobile devices, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things are changing the way companies operate, while social networking and HR technology have changed the way companies hire, manage, and support people.
Digital technology is shaping how workers collaborate. It’s also having a positive influence on employee experiences at work. HR technologies have developed significantly in recent years, enabling more satisfying and progressive engagement with individuals at work.
Virtual meetings, screen sharing and instant messaging are proving advantageous to both employers and employees.
There is no doubt that technology has enabled more flexible and collaborative ways of working. Businesses may have embraced this initially as a cost-saving, but have also seen increased efficiency and employee satisfaction.
2. Change in the Formal, Hierarchical Business Model
There has been a significant shift in the business model from traditional, formal hierarchies to a network of teams.
Deloitte spotted the trend for deconstructing hierarchical business models a couple of years ago, writing “Companies are decentralizing authority, moving toward product- and customer-centric organizations, and forming dynamic networks of highly empowered teams that communicate and coordinate activities in unique and powerful ways.”
The Deloitte report also reports the growth of the Millennial demographic, the diversity of global teams and the need to work more closely and innovatively with customers as being the driving forces behind new organizational flexibility.
3. A Change in Attitude
CEOs, leaders and supporting executives are realizing that corporate culture is not merely a catchphrase. It is the backbone of a company’s overall performance.
Increasingly, businesses understand now that success relies heavily on getting the company culture right. Attitudes at the top are changing, as can be seen in a plethora of organizations and businesses around the globe.
The attitude amongst leaders in SMEs is shifting. Inclusiveness, transparency, a move from micro-management to personal responsibility and autonomy, a growing interest in workplace wellbeing, flexibility and strengthening of communication and workplace relationships— forward-thinking leaders in their businesses are championing all these changes.
4. Robotics, Healthy Work-Life Balance and Well-Being
Not only are businesses recognizing the benefits of promoting a healthy work-life balance within their teams, but AI and automation are also freeing up time to support those policies.
Correcting mistakes on low-level tasks is now being completed by robot technology. Machine learning and automation are also enabling workers to progress and focus on more satisfying activities.
Robotics and AI in the workplace will undoubtedly provide businesses with challenges, but greater automation in the workplace also offers significant opportunities and has the potential for positively shaping company culture in the future, with more emphasis on a healthy work-life balance and improved well-being.
5. Workforce Conscience
By 2020 Millennials will comprise nearly half the working population, and this bunch of professionals is getting choosy about their employers.
Millennials’ values are having a drastic impact on the shape of the corporate culture.
Businesses looking to employ the best talent are shifting towards more ethical company cultures and values as a direct result. Millennials want more emotional engagement at work, a better work-life balance and to lead a life with more purpose. Corporate cultures are adapting to emphasize personal growth alongside career growth.
6. Toxic Cultures Are Being Exposed
The digital age isn’t without its problems. One of the good deeds to come from the digital world is transparency and ease of communication. Poor management, discrimination, and unacceptable behaviors are being exposed and shared at the touch of a button. Finally, we are starting to unearth toxic work cultures.
Uber’s string of scandals, blunders and PR disasters have all been exposed and have significantly damaged the business’s reputation. Sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein are highlighting Hollywood’s toxic culture, and the cultural conversation that ensued has gone viral.
We live in an age of transparency. Toxic cultures in a global society will find it more and more difficult to hideaway.
7. Role Model Businesses Attracting the Best Talent
Employees today are placing much more importance on the benefits that come with the job, rather than pinning everything on salary. Attractive companies are the ones with strong company culture. As a result, businesses today are making the company culture a big part of their brand. It’s important to customers, and it’s helping to attract and retain talent.
8. Millennials Are Also Customers
Customer requirements can force a shift in culture. When a customer base demands a different approach, culture shifts in response. This can be from a change in pricing structure or how a company goes about delivering a service.
Competitive markets can be unkind to some corporate cultures which shift in the wrong direction in an attempt to manage profit margins.
However, there are signs of consumer behavior having a positive effect on company culture. Millennials don’t just work for companies; they are customers too. Culture matters to millennials from both sides of the coin.
Millennials care deeply about authenticity, transparency, and purpose. This is a digital-savvy generation that can hurt your business. If a brand fails expectations, millennials will tweet it out in an instant.
The driving force behind the incredible change in company culture over the past decade is multi-faceted. Technology, the global economy, and people are at the heart of those changes. What is clear is that workplace culture will continually evolve.
Business culture is comparable to an ecosystem that requires sunlight, food, and water to grow. Businesses who ignore the call for cultural change, or believe culture is things, do so at their peril.