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CareersResearch conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) last month established a link between an organisation’s profits and its corporate culture, contradicting the traditional perception that streamlining processes alone can increase an organisation’s growth potential.

Warning signs of problems within your organisation’s culture can manifest in a variety of ways, all of which are detrimental to the business’s profits and can impede its growth if left unresolved.

While the more obvious warning signs include high levels of absenteeism and turnover, in-group harassment, bullying and inconsistent team performances, you should also keep an eye out for more subtle signals. For instance, if you notice team members focusing only on individual goals instead of collaborating, then this should alert you to an underlying problem.
At this point, a ‘Culture Assessment’ – using either an in-house panel or external consultants – is essential in order to identify the source of the problems.

According to the SHRM’s research, Culture Assessments conducted globally have concluded that the two primary causes of an unhealthy workplace culture are:

1. Lack of communication between the executive management and employees. When employees are not briefed about their roles, responsibilities and individual and team KPIs, it leaves them unaware about what contributions they are expected to make towards organisational performance.

2. Inconsistent policy implementation. When your subordinates or team members observe preferential treatment for a few and discrimination against others (such as unwarranted promotions, salary increments or access to restricted privileges), this immediately affects their morale and will to prove their mettle.

Remember, participation and ownership are the key factors of any successful organisational culture. When your employees feel they have a say in decision-making and that their growth potential is being maximised through skill building training sessions, their sense of ownership, responsibility and accountability increase, all of which contribute towards increasing business revenues substantially.

– Sahr Nadeem Tariq
The writer is a project coordinator at a multinational company. sahrnadeem@gmail.com

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on March 1, 2015.