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Evolve Your Leadership Style and Communication to Improve Organizational Culture

Jason R. Hahn

April 16, 2019 · 3 min read
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Your organizational culture not only shapes the way employees work, but also how they feel about where they work. If the culture is positive, so is employee engagement – and vice versa. Employee engagement is critical to both the performance of your business and the customer experience.

Every employee affects an organization’s culture, but leadership is the driving force. According to Gallup, 70% of the variance between lousy, good, and great cultures can be found in the knowledge, skills, and talent of the team leader. What leaders do and say, especially in times of growth or organizational change, influences what employees do, say, and believe.

Why is organizational culture important?

Despite leaders’ profound impact on culture, they aren’t always culture experts. They’re accustomed to delivering business results, not necessarily defining and sustaining values. This sometimes results in a disconnect with employee priorities. Deloitte research found executives rank tangible elements of culture-building (such as financial performance and compensation) the highest, while employees place the most value on intangibles (such as open communication, employee recognition, and access to leadership).

That said, with the way today’s workplace is evolving, one thing that executives are starting to recognize is the importance of organizational culture to the bottom line. A recent global survey of business and HR executives found 86% said it’s an important or very important issue. The motivation to create a thriving culture is there, but the strategies and tools may not be.

With a digital destination, there are many ways to evolve your leadership and communication style to shape and strengthen company culture.

Here are some effective ways to improve organizational culture

Tell a consistent story

Organizational culture depends on a leader’s ability to communicate the company’s core values, mission, and goals. But it’s not always easy to keep employees informed and aligned in today’s working environment. The number of remote workers keeps expanding, and information siloes are everywhere in the multi-app world.

A thoughtfully-structured next-gen intranet with a dedicated space for company updates and news gets everyone on the same page, speaking the same language. It gives people a central source of company information that’s up to date and accessible, no matter where or when they work.

Be part of the conversation

Keeping employees in the know and sparking meaningful cross-company conversations is just the first step. Then it’s up to leadership to play an active part in the dialogue.

A digital leadership hub is a space for leaders to tell stories, share ideas, clarify organizational priorities, and invite feedback. From bios and blogs to social media activity and press appearances, it builds a strong connection between all levels of the organization.

Employees get to see the personal and professional side of the leadership team, which fosters stronger connections and a stronger culture. And when people believe their leaders regularly communicate the organization’s core values and beliefs, they feel happier and more valued at work.

Set clear expectations

People perform best when their roles and responsibilities are well-defined by leadership and understood by everyone at the organization. Clarity cuts the confusion and frustration that erodes engagement. For example, a digital employee handbook ensures people have a single source of truth that’s easy-to-access.

Organizational culture is underpinned by specific policies that set out what is encouraged, discouraged, acceptable, or prohibited at work. An employee handbook enables you to showcase your culture in a visually appealing guide.

Praise positive behavior

A recent survey of HR professionals found 86% agree or strongly agree that employee recognition positively affects organizational culture. The same survey found respondents are more likely to rate their recognition programs as excellent or good when the programs were tied to company values.

A culture of recognition bolsters the strength of the wider culture by demonstrating that leaders notice and value people’s efforts. Employee recognition software helps you foster a healthy culture by promoting employee behaviors that reflect organizational values. It’s a one-stop solution for rewarding employees and showcasing company culture.

Foster employee wellbeing

A poll of nearly 10,000 employees published in Wired magazine found 70% believed wellness programs positively influence organizational culture. A sense of belonging at work is an integral part of wellness, and leaders can build a vibrant culture by creating a digital focal point for the social life of the organization.

By carving out a space for company clubs, activities, events, and more, a social zone encourages human connections and healthy behaviour. It unites people across the organization and shows them that their leaders understand the importance of creating a holistic work experience.

Find out how a digital destination can help evolve your organization’s culture

The right digital workplace solutions give people at the top wide visibility and reach across the organization, allowing them to foster organizational culture by example.

At Igloo, we help organizations solve their communication, collaboration, knowledge management, and culture and engagement challenges. And what we’ve learned is when it comes to improving engagement and productivity across the business, there’s no better place to start than the top.

Learn more about the how to implement Igloo solutions in your digital workplace.