Achieving Cultural Excellence

Culture is about a group of people behaving in a certain way and it is expected across the organization. If you think about it, it does translate to engagement. If you do not have the right culture, there will be people who are disjointed. Therefore, in the hiring process, the emphasis should be on looking for new candidates who can fit into the organizational culture, rather than only focusing on the right skills. When people who cannot fit into the organizational culture are hired, the conflict will arise.

“With good employee engagement, performance will be enhanced. In fact, companies with good employee engagement outperform those without engaged employees by 202 percent,” said Jwan Heah, CEO of PULSE ASIA, while giving his talk at WorkCulture.Asia on 11 April 2018, which was held at WOBB in Glomac Damansara.

“The right engagement, with the right value and the right culture, all translate to better results for the company,” said Dato’ Alan Teo, Independent Non-Executive Director of Aspen Group, in his keynote presentation. “And better results are good for everyone.”

Most organizations were set up by a founder and it moved forward from there. The founder saw an opportunity in the market and took action on it. He created a certain value that he wanted to deliver and he built the organization on it. But when the organization grew bigger, it got more complicated. A proper structure must be put in place and the right talent must be recruited. The way things are done must also be formalized. In many large organizations, the core value is unfortunately reduced to a poster on a wall.

Dato’ Teo introduced the term ‘cultural anthropology’ where he said it was important to learn from the mistakes of the past so that organizations do not make the same mistakes again in the future. He emphasized on applying the good things learned over the years, so that the organization can build on it, especially to encourage more innovation and creativity to get better results. Dato’ Teo also discussed the 4 phases of culturalisation, which are ‘create’, ‘refine’, ‘maintain’ and ‘embed’. These 4 phases are further divided into 7 stages.

“In every organization, it starts with stage 1, which is survival. Once you get through this, you progress to stage 2, where you create some form of shared culture and common objective. Next, the organization will grow to refine it in stage 3, where they share the common culture and some common behaviors,” explained Dato’ Teo. “In stage 4, there is an active promotion for a common corporate culture, while in stage 5, common culture has been put in place across pockets within the organization. In stage 6, common culture is practiced by many across the organization. Finally, in stage 7, the organization will have a fully aligned culture sharing a common platform and vision for success.”

Dato’ Teo went on to share a few insightful instances of exemplary organizational culture from Malaysian companies with the audience. Hopefully, members of the audience will return to their organizations with fresh ideas and new perspectives on how to improve their own company’s culture to encourage employee engagement, which would help to augment company performance in the long term.

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