"Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company," said Brian Kristofek, president and CEO of Upshot. A great workplace constitutes an accumulation of outstanding beliefs, ideologies, principles and values. This set of attributes formulate a remarkable professional sphere encircling the behaviours and attitudes of all employees of an organisation and is called organisational culture.
Organisational culture dictates the way employees interact with each other in the workplace, making diversity a challenging issue to deal with. Pat Wadors, head of HR at LinkedIn, stated, "When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive and better organisation."
Promoting diversity and inclusion
Despite Bangladesh being an ethnically homogeneous country, diversity, to an insignificant extent, does exist in the corporate world in terms of family background, races, colours and creeds. Due to such a variety of mindsets present, clashes between opinions and beliefs are likely to occur, which can result in discriminatory behaviour.
Nushrat Farzana Rumu, a global graduate of Finance in British American Tobacco Bangladesh, said, "Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace has been the latest sensation in the corporate industry. With the millennials embarking on their next chapter of adulthood, a lucrative job ought to offer more than just financial benefits to them. Diversity can serve as a competitive edge when it comes to attracting and retaining these fresh talents."
She added our neighbouring countries like Singapore and Malaysia set good examples of aggressively promoting multi-cultural integration since their independence, which over the years has translated into unprecedented economic growth. Inclusion of diversified people leads to a sense of unity and fairness, which are vital tools for employees to feel safe and motivated. The motivation eventually has the capability of generating long-term loyalty to an organisation, leading to accelerating the growth of a business.
A mix of regulations and flexibility
Organisational culture not only affects the ambience of a company but also influences the working behaviours of employees. It plays a critical role in extracting the best performances out of the jobholders. Every company has its set of rules and regulations relevant to the working hours, reporting time, deadlines, and duties. However, the strictness levels may vary depending on the type of business the organisation indulges in.
A relationship manager in a private commercial bank of Bangladesh said, "Usually financial institutions have to be very compliant to the rules and regulations of the country, the parent company (if any) and of its own. But then there needs to be flexibility in terms of empowering the employees and making their voices heard and valuing their contribution."
Bangladeshi companies are more performance-oriented and often forget to take into account the mental state of the participating employees. Hence, to retain the peak motivation level of employees to deliver their maximum level of output and attain the organisational goals, a corporate culture that can find the right mix between adherence to rules and flexibility will thrive and progress in the end.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, said, "We believe that it's imperative to come up with core values that you can commit to. In addition, by 'commit', we mean that you are willing to hire and fire based on them. If you're willing to do that, then you're well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build."
Rules and regulations of an organisation habituate all of its employees to the work methods and standards, resulting in the efficiency and prosperity of a company.
Embrace and accept that the differences
No two organisations can have the same work culture. Organisational culture is instilled in the way employees carry out their work within the company and how they display themselves to the outer world. Aurni Tasnim, co-founder of Newton's Archive- a mini-goods and giftshop startup, explains that they provide ample flexibility to part-timer and students in their jobs and has a friendly work environment to ensure that any problemcan be communicated and sorted.
Many companies in Bangladesh are unaware that work ambience is a crucial factor for employee motivation and work satisfaction. In short, employees are shadows of their respective organisation's work culture, and as a result, they are responsible for portraying the brand image of their organisation. Hence, both their intelligence and emotional state should be taken care of.
Need for more investment
In the words of David Cummings, co-founder of Pardot, corporate culture is one of the sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur. Everywhere around the world, big corporates are continually talking about work culture and are dedicatedly looking for means to improve it for aligning it with employees' needs. Majority of the organisations in Bangladesh, however, fail to invest in this aspect. They are unable to realise that structuring a proper organisational culture is not merely about employees' mental states. It acts as a sense of direction and is about inclusion and unity; a feeling that they are safe and valued.
Bangladeshi corporations should start investing in developing satisfactory work cultures. This will significantly raise the motivation and satisfaction level of the incumbents, which will, in turn, upsurge work performance. This chain reaction will eventually lead to successful businesses growth and propel the economy of Bangladesh.
It is high time Bangladeshi corporations showed their employees that their voices are heard and that they matter.
The writer is a second-year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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