Written by 6:00 am Feature, Leadership

Identifying Organisational Culture in Business

Kris Oldland, Editor-in-Chief, Field Service News and Kevin Green, former HR Director of Royal Mail and the best selling author of Competitive People Strategy discuss what culture is within an organisation and how to identify whether a corporate culture is strong or toxic…



Does your leadership team understand the Value of Nurturing culture within the business? 

In the few short months since the Covid-19 pandemic spread around the world and we went into a global lockdown everything has changed.

As Kevin Green explained in Season Five, Epsiode, One of the Field Service Podcast, it is as if a meteorite has hit us and the world of industry went into temporary shutdown operating at minimum capacity. There is talk that in terms of economics, we could potentially bounce back as sharply as we fell, although the majority of analysts are now predicting a longer more sustained road to recovery

However, the truth remains that we are collectively waking up into a different world than that which existed pre-pandemic and that will be the case no matter how quickly we get to the recovery.

There are fundamental things that will have changed, particularly in some of the service industries which have been hardest hit such as the hospitality sector.  Yet similarly we have seen a massive boost to the digital transformation projects that were dots on the horizon for many companies just a few months earlier which have become mission-critical necessities today.  

Equally we have seen businesses become adaptive, with those leading the way pivoting in some of the most remarkable way to help battle the pandemic but also to keep their teams in work and the revenue flowing even in these most challenging of years.

But how do we create an adaptive culture? How we make sure that our team are able to continue evolving throughout the recovery processes, we move beyond into a post COVID-19 world?

“The issue for me is whether the organisation has really spent time thinking about it [the corporate culture] and understanding it and do the leaders get that developing, enhancing and reinforcing a culture is what gets great results?”

“Every organisation has a culture, whether it’s a well-articulated and something that’s been designed or created over a period of time, or whether it’s just how people behave within the business,” explained Green.

“One of the good examples I always use when I talk about culture is how do people behave when the manager is not there? Do they still work incredibly hard and do they still give discretionary effort? Or actually when the manager is not around, they just muck around, and not work hard? That will describe your culture, how people feel about the organisation.

“The other great example is when you meet someone that works for an organisation in a social setting and you ask them, what’s it like to work there? What do they say? That’s when you can, that’s a real articulation of your culture,” Green adds.

For Green though the value of culture within an organisation goes far, far beyond coping within crisis – it is where the inherent value of the business lies and is something that absolutely needs to be nurtured by the leadership team.

“The issue for me is whether the organisation has really spent time thinking about it [the corporate culture] and understanding it and do the leaders get that developing, enhancing and reinforcing a culture is what gets great results?

“My belief is that most value in today’s economy comes from human beings. It used to be about access to capital and machinery. But now it’s about you know, and if you look at the PwC survey of Chief Execs globally, the number one issue is talent. Have I got the talent? Have I got more talent than my competitors? Can I find it? And can I retain it?

“To do that, you’ve got to have a culture where people want to work, where they can turn up and do good work, you and that’s the fundamental thing about having an adaptive culture, you must articulate your purpose. Why does the organisation exist?”

As we continue to grow into a post Covid world, it is likely that it is those companies that understand what it is to establish and adaptable culture that are likely to thrive in the ‘new-normal’.

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