How would you describe the role communication plays in influencing your organization’s corporate culture?
Communication as a process identifies, educates and reinforces the current culture for stakeholders. The values and attributes of the organization can only be passed on through communication–formal and informal. The past, present and future of the organization, which reflect the culture, can only be preserved through various communication artifacts.
If the culture needs to be changed, communication is the main tool to galvanize the stakeholders around the change process. Communication, whether informing about a specific element of the culture change process or presenting a panoramic story of the entire endeavor, is the only organizational process that has the power to inform, educate and bring about cooperation and ultimately the kind of individual behavior change that leads to powerful cultural change.
Paul Sanchez, ABC, APR Communication practice leader, Mercer Human Resource Consulting London
I believe an internal communication team must take an “aerial” view of its organization to gain a clear understanding of the overarching culture and the diverse subcultures that may well exist within it. There’s rarely an effective “one size fits all” approach to communication, but we can certainly craft a vocabulary that reinforces cultural objectives and sets the desired tone across all communication media. The most effective communications are delivered face-to-face, with themes and venues tailored to specific employee groups. When staff see that you understand their unique concerns, challenges or working environment, they buy into your desired culture. By respecting their diversity and “walking the talk” on corporate culture, you will see the power that sensitive communication has in positively influencing that culture.
Head of internal communications, Air New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand
How many times have you seen employees with perfect jobs have the experience turn sour because of corporate culture and internal politics ? At Tata Chemicals Ltd. (TCL), one of the corporate communication department’s major tasks is to influence and sustain the culture of the organization through internal communication tactics. The TCL communication team uses two innovative platforms to build a culture of achievement, collaboration and learning:
Theater. Teams come together to enact topics like managing business ethics. This cuts through hierarchies as employees display their acting skills to simplify an initiative or practice within the company. It gives them a creative means to express their feelings and thought processes.
OORJA. This quarterly event was introduced as an exciting and participative program to bring out employees’ talents and build a culture of learning, development and teamwork. Each OORJA (meaning “energy”) is based on a theme. For example, the “Innovation” theme promoted creative thinking while emphasizing teamwork. Employees know that the company’s culture encourages their ideas and that their efforts will be recognized.
An employee is a company’s biggest brand ambassador, and the way employees talk about their company to others portrays the organization’s culture. You know you have a healthy culture when your employees are happy!
Assistant manager of corporate communications, Tata Chemicals Ltd.
What defines corporate culture?
* Professional growth
* Rate of turnover
* Leadership styles
* Reputation of senior leadership
* Employee morale
* Style of dress
* Length of the workday
* Support for life-work balance
* Ease and frequency of internal communication
* Values of the organization
What’s your perspective? Question for a future issue: Which measurement tool do you find most effective for measuring your programs? E-mail your perspective (in 125-150 words) to email@example.com.
COPYRIGHT 2005 International Association of Business Communicators
COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning