#AskCharlesOnY!: Why your company should take ‘organizational culture’ seriously

by Charles Odii

This is an entrepreneurship development section where entrepreneurs and business managers ask entrepreneurship experts questions about economic and business challenges they come across daily.

Week 1. #AskCharlesOnY!

Dear Charles,

I noticed last year that some members of staff were demotivated towards the end of the year – very close to our end of year party. They are being paid well and my staff welfare package is competitive compared to my competitors in the industry. I went for a conference in January 2016 and I learnt organizational culture can help motivate my staff.

Questions – Do organizations in Nigeria take (organizational) culture seriously? How does it directly motivate my staff?

 

How Organizational culture helps to motivate staff.

According to Needle (2004), Organizational Culture represents the collective values, beliefs and principles of organizational members and is a product of such factors as history, product, market, technology, strategy, type of employees, management style, and national culture; culture includes the organization’s vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habit.

Great company culture is used as a yardstick to compare companies today. When a company posts a vacancy, potential applicants decide to apply or not to base on the company culture. It is much more considered as they consider the salary and benefits, because organizational culture is no longer just an option, especially for people who want to switch jobs or take on a new challenge. Employees want to see a clear career path, inasmuch as they want to be a part of the picture, self-development is key, they like to see how that helps them to achieve personal growth. This is why many of them usually avoid one- man businesses as career development and organizational culture isn’t very visible. Organizational culture encompasses values and behaviours that “contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization”. Organizational culture is a multifaceted concept today, as it is a belief or group of beliefs that’s shared by employees of an organization even though this varies from one organization to another. This belief most times are intangible and could be originated by the founder(s) of the company or experts as they help guide the actions of members of staff of a particular organization which aids productivity. Great companies do periodic researches on their Organizational culture. Other large companies have employees and consultants whose job function is directly related to improving company culture.

While starting up a business or expanding an existing business. You can learn from a few companies doing it right ere in Nigeria. Below are two companies I have worked closely with in a consulting capacity.

House Of Tara International; House of Tara has been making and selling beauty products for over a decade. The company has expanded out of Nigeria and has roots in other African countries. This company has empowered hundreds of young females to start and grow their own beauty business in Africa. Even though the company was founded by one visionary leader – Tara Fela-Durotoye, employees do not get the feeling that they are working for a ‘one-man business’. This explains why the company name is “House of Tara” and not “Tara” as the trend with her competitors in the Nigerian beauty industry, whose businesses are just a word. The name House of Tara gives one a sense of working for a company and not just an individual.

When you walk into the House of Tara office complex joy radiates, you can see commitment and fulfillment as every one of the employees greet you with a kind smile saying “Welcome to House of Tara”. If you came into the House of Tara office complex angry and upset maybe as result of Lagos traffic, impatient bus drivers, or even a personal challenge you would be forced to smile as the employees of House of Tara would try to remind you to look on the bright side – the power of a warm welcome and a kind smile. Employees have imbibed this company culture of a warm embrace and a kind smile. The impact of this intangible gesture is priceless and they do it like they have no worry in the world.

Takeaway: House of Tara hires according to cultural fit, first and foremost. It has established what the company culture is, and fitting into that culture is the most important thing managers look for when hiring. This promotes the culture and happy employees, which ultimately leads to happy customers.

 

Red Media Africa:

This is a Public Relations & Communication Agency that has been in operations for 10 years. It is Africa’s leading omni-media company focused on youth. This explains why the average age of the work force is 24. Apart from the regular movie dates, where every employee in the company goes to a movie cinema to watch a selected movie. They have the Thank God it’s Monday policy. Fortnightly on Mondays there is a cook out in the office, or the management takes care of breakfast and lunch for employees in the office encouraging employees to look forward to coming to work on Mondays.

Once a week, employees are allowed to work from home. Just like Google campuses they have a room for relaxations, where employees go to cool off during work hours or go to think creatively and refresh. This room is equipped with sound system, a ping pong table, video game consoles etc.

Takeaway: Red Media Africa has made company culture deliberate by creating a dedicated team tasked with coming up with events and programs to promote employee bonding. Great company culture doesn’t just happen.

 

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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