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5 organizational culture trends to watch out for in 2020

by: Shiv Sharma

One of the simplest yet most compelling definitions of organizational culture is in the culture code of HubSpot

Culture is the operating system that powers the company. 

Chasing your ideal organizational culture is truly a fascinating exercise. It’s like chasing utopia. You’ll never completely get there. All that matters is that you’re moving towards it. 

What separates companies with great culture from the rest?

  • They articulate their ideal culture well across all levels of the company.
  • They chase the culture that they aspire for like zealots. 

So, what organizational culture trends should we be aware of as we kickstart 2020?

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The importance of company culture is on the rise

Greater transparency, period.

The debate has been settled. Today, it’s unanimously agreed that a transparent culture is good for business. 

Transparency in a company can mean a lot of things. From sharing the company’s financial information with employees to having an open-door policy for strategic meetings. Critics once argued that transparency can add value to organizations only when there’s a high degree of trust among employees. However, we now know that transparency is what’s needed to build that trust in the first place

When employees believe the organization is transparent with them, they feel a greater sense of ownership of the company’s mission. Even customers trust businesses that are transparent with them a lot more. 

So far, tech startups have been the flag bearers of transparency in company culture. However, in 2020, it’s expected that large enterprises will increasingly feel the need to adopt a more transparent culture as well. 

Organizations are increasingly using collaboration tools, to share news and updates. Such tools encourage real-time updates and ensure that organizations have a process for transparent company-wide communication. 

Personalized employee experience

Think about the last time you felt ecstatic at work. That moment which put a smile on your face for the rest of the day. 

Chances are it wasn’t planned by the HR. 

According to OC Tanner’s Global Culture Report, there’s a disconnect between the company and employee’s perception of employee experience. Most companies tend to view employee experience at the macro level – recruitment, onboarding, retention, growth, perks, etc. However, for employees, this is much more personal. Employee experience is a series of personalized micro experiences such as appreciation emails, feedback, and daily interactions. 

It’s no surprise therefore that a lot of companies struggle to retain talent. Policy-wise they might have everything in order, however, the employees might still not be having a pleasant time at work. According to OC Tanner’s report, only 42% of employees rate their experiences as positive or very positive. It’s unsurprising therefore that if offered a job at a different company with similar pay, role, and benefits, 59% of people would take it. 

In 2020, we should see more companies trying to embrace a personalized approach to employee experience. It all begins by acknowledging that all employees have individual journeys inside a company. They deserve frequent appreciation and custom career plans. 

Stepping away from the “always-on” work culture

When did you last check your phone for work emails? I bet it was less than an hour ago. 

Smartphones have fundamentally altered company cultures. This led to the emergence of work-life integration – a philosophy that states that work-life balance is a flawed concept as work is an essential part of life and shouldn’t be treated as separate from it. While honest in its intent, this approach has created the problem of always-on culture; where employees feel guilty about not being available for work-related communication outside of work hours. 

Companies are now realizing the perils of this approach and are increasingly refraining from contacting their employees outside of work hours or on vacation. This is very likely to gain further steam in 2020. 

More CSR programs for employees

Over the past decade, companies (like Gillette, Nike, Apple, Tesla, etc.)  have understood the importance of CSR (corporate social responsibility) in marketing in order to appeal to millennials. However, most haven’t fully realized the power of CSR as part of their company culture. 

Employees, especially millennial employees derive great satisfaction from taking part in CSR activities. It’s a great way to boost employee engagement at work. More organizations are supporting this by partnering with local communities, giving paid time off for volunteer work and promoting employee CSR stories on social media. 

Mental health

According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers feel stressed at work, and half of them need help in managing it. US businesses alone lose up to $300 billion yearly as a result of workplace stress. While mental health awareness has been growing steadily over the past few years, workplace stress continues to plague companies around the world. 

In 2020, you’ll see companies adopt a broad range of mental health initiatives, from wellness retreats to sabbaticals and unlimited vacation leaves. While these initiatives are not unheard of, they’ll certainly get more popular in the new decade. 

What a lot of companies fail to grasp is that the mental health of its employees is the health of the company. If that’s in order, other KPIs will naturally improve. 

What are some of the new culture-related initiatives you plan to drive in your company? 

Next steps

Since it’s the Taskworld blog, we’ll leave you with a list of to-dos 🙂

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