The Ultimate Guide to Building Organizational Culture


The Ultimate Guide to Building Organizational Culture

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New age elements of organisational culture and how to develop them

“Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company.”
  • Brian Kristofek, President - Upshot

Organisational culture in today’s context goes beyond the Key Metrics discussed earlier in this guide. New concepts of employee wellness and cultural enrichment have taken roots and are fast being considered accepted norms of working. Let’s try to understand them in greater depth:

Remote work

The Covid-19 Pandemic has heralded an unprecedented shift in the way we work, globally. It has normalized a concept that had so far struggled to find mass credibility  - Remote work. Even as offices are reopening and economies are getting back on track, many companies worldwide have discovered the benefits of a large portion of their workforce working remotely.  Some are even making plans to trim office spaces and move such roles permanently to remote work. Benefits of remote work include:

A greater pool of potential talent and opportunities

Employers can now hire skilled talent from any part of the world and not have to worry about regulatory norms or the cost of additional employee benefits. Similarly, employees can also find exciting work opportunities around the world without moving base or uprooting their families.

Increased employee productivity

As employees lose less time on long commutes, parking, and other office interruptions, they can divert more productive hours towards work, operate with a more flexible schedule, experience less physical fatigue, and still maintain their usual business hours.

Higher autonomy

Employees can completely customize their working setup including space, acoustics, temperature, and meal timings.


Reduced need for expensive commercial real estate, decrease in fuel spends and an overall reduction in carbon footprint

Despite the exceptional circumstance of the pandemic, remote work has its critics. It’s not for everybody and comes with its challenges. Here’s rounding up some of the main arguments:

Loss of human connection

Remote work affords lesser opportunities to connect with other employees and build human relationships. It can also breed a sense of isolation and feeling of being overlooked among employees who like to interact with their leaders and be coached from time to time.

Loss of work-life balance

Excessive time flexibility in time can lead to continuous multitasking and cause employees to lose all semblance of work-life balance. Also, many employees have to juggle dual responsibilities and distractions of home along with work causing increased stress and burnout. This is particularly relevant for female employees who are more often the primary caregivers for children, elders, and pets in the family.

Difficult to perform leadership functions

It is harder to build team spirit, foster peer-to-peer connections, and manage individuals in a remote work setup. Conflict resolution, brainstorming sessions, project coordination, and other team activities become difficult to conduct with a distributed workforce operating with so much flexibility. It is also difficult to supervise and evaluate remote work, where OKRs are not easily distinguishable or measurable remotely

How to sustain an organisational culture with remote work

  1. Call out or Reinforce the Culture You Want to Develop

This can be done by adopting office culture practices even while working remotely. Examples of such practices are daily stand-up meetings, brainstorming sessions, or 1:1 feedback sessions

  1. Trust Your Employees 

Leaders should empower employees with collaboration tools and their confidence instead of resorting to micromanagement activities that will further hamper productivity and employee wellbeing.

  1. Mentor your team to adopt the desired Culture

Leaders need to work harder to develop and maintain team spirit among remote team members. To inculcate a culture of excellence, collaboration, and integrity even when working remotely, reach out to employees with support, coaching, and encouragement steering their behavior towards the desired cultural framework.

  1. Maintain transparency in communication

Ensure timely and transparent communication practices continue to drive employee trust and inspire confidence while working remotely just as they did in office environments.

Be open and empathetic to employees raising their concerns about their professional and personal lives, particularly mental health issues.

  1. Initiate and promote practices that boost Work-Life Balance

Encourage employees to maintain a work schedule similar to the one in the office without impeding their flexibility. Implement rules such as ‘No late night emails’ and ‘Zero Zoom Meeting Fridays’ to counter overwork burnout.


A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organisations hire independent workers for short-term commitments. There are two sides to the acceptance of the gig economy;

  1. organisations hiring temporary resources such as freelancers and consultants for limited time and tasks

This arrangement helps organisations save money on expensive full-time resources they may not need for long and also opens a vast, global talent pool to choose from. Freelancers and consultants bring a razor-sharp focus on the project and often possess speciality knowledge on the subject matter at hand. They are committed to completing the project successfully and to delivering customer satisfaction to receive positive feedback, ratings, and references.

  1. Employees pursuing alternate part-time careers while being engaged in full-time employment.

Having a second career or a parallel pursuit of passion has become a popular trend, particularly as remote work is opening up more time for employees to relax and unwind. Professionals are reigniting their past interests such as music and sport while using their additional free time to develop new skills such as coding, designing, and teaching. In the volatile job market as witnessed over the pandemic-ravaged 2020, pursuing an alternate career part-time and full-time instead of being engaged in a full-time employment contract is taking roots. Employees are relishing the sense of satisfaction in doing something they care about.

Platform-enabled gigs are gaining popularity as highly skilled professionals can leverage their knowledge and talent to generate sizable incomes while maintaining flexibility and freedom to choose how much and what work they do, for whom, and when.

DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)

Diversity is the presence of differences within the workplace including those of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and socioeconomic class.

Equity is defined as the act of ensuring processes and programs are fair, unbiased, and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual.

Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that every employee feels an overall sense of belonging in the workplace.

Significance of DEI on organisational culture:

Besides being a trending buzzword, DEI is a serious responsibility of every organisation regardless of its size, nature of business, and overall culture. It is fast evolving as a key parameter of evaluation for customers, employees, and investors for strategic reasons. Looking inward, these are the factors you must consider to blend DEI into your organisational culture: 

  • Employee satisfaction:

Research has proven that organisations where employees experience a diverse work environment record higher levels of employee satisfaction.

  • Higher productivity, innovation, and better decision-making:

With a diverse set of perspectives on key decisions, where every employee feels their voice is heard and that their opinion matters, employee productivity levels show a marked increase along, team innovation gets enhanced and quality of overall decision-making improves.

  • Collaboration:

DEI  fosters a more open culture of acceptance and tolerance. Employees tend to collaborate more as one unit and develop stronger interpersonal relationships.

Tips for effectively deploying DEI in your organisation:

As a newly popularized concept, DEI is subject to interpretation and constant evolution. Use these tips to get the most out of your DEI focus and stay true to its true intent.

  • Prioritize all 3 aspects equally

Diversity without equity is meaningless and ineffective without inclusion.

  • Encourage inclusive behavior and acceptance of diversity

You can accelerate a DEI-positive environment by holding individuals accountable for their behavior, undertaking initiatives to sensitize employees towards its intricacies,   and rewarding cultural evolution in the right direction.

  • Celebrate DEI

It is equally important to announce the DEI vision of the organisation to the world and celebrate milestones achieved in its implementation.

  • Continuous progress tracking

Maintain consistent oversight on fostering DEI and take corrective steps whenever gaps are identified

Checklist: 5-step guide to adapting to the New Way of Working

The new ways of working are changing not just the way we work but the work itself. It isn’t only about survival anymore. The post-pandemic world requires a 3-stage growth for the organisation – Survive, Revive and Thrive. Here are 5 simple steps to accelerate your organisation’s adoption of the New Way of Working.

Step 1: Embrace a leadership style that adapts to the digital evolution and accepts the inevitable changes it brings. Be open to increased autonomy at the employee level and develop a flatter, empowered organisational structure.

Step 2: Define your digital vision and communicate your digitalization strategy with your employees.

Step 3: Adopt agility as a mindset and not just as a business strategy. Be proactive in finding ways to address customer requirements and keep a keen eye on market shifts. Boost cross-functional collaboration and multi-skilled teamwork to drive innovation and faster action.

Step 4:  Foster creativity, innovation and reward employees willing to try new things. Be open to new ideas and welcome disruption. Embrace failure as a part of the learning process and encourage employees to take risks.

Step 5: Continuously monitor the journey through deliberate change management techniques.

Use of technology to gather and analyse employee feedback

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