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Updated 26 Feb 2020


5 Ways to build organisational culture in your SME

Follow these tips to grow an enabling and motivating organisational culture that makes a meaningful impact on the achievement of business objectives. 


Kelvin Reynolds, 23 January 2016  Share  0 comments  Print


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Creating an inclusive, enabling culture that people are excited to be working in everyday involves more than just a pat on the back every now and then.

In my years of building and running businesses, I’ve learned that building a culture is about setting a precedent for your people that leads the way, showing employees the types of behaviours and ways of thinking that are appropriate in your particular workplace.

Culture is informed by the type of work you do and how you do it, not to mention those who do the work – and no two cultures are the same.

Related: 5 Simple ways businesses can grow loyal and engaging customer bases

1. Lead by example

Research shows that 67% of employees want their managers to lead and communicate more effectively. Good leadership involves more than just cracking the whip to get things done – a good leader is one who motivates people to perform at their best, and plays a big role in setting the tone for the work space.

Openness and accessibility are key – creating a space where employees are encouraged to communicate ideas and issues instead of being stifled promotes a healthy, productive workplace culture.

2. Work-life balance

Developing a positive organisational culture is difficult when your people are not motivated to do their best. Sure, productivity is a main objective for businesses, but how productive will your people be when they’re having to work long hours under draconian conditions?

Even the most dedicated worker appreciates having more time to spend with loved ones, so business owners should ensure work-life balance is a priority when developing organisational culture.

3. Communicate more effectively

You’d think it would be easy enough to communicate within small to medium companies, but businesses seldom get it right. Face-to-face interaction, or even a quick telephone conversation, is far more effective in conveying information to employees than sending out an email or sticking a post-it on their desk.

An open-door policy where people can easily come to you to ask a question or deliver feedback is a far better approach to creating a culture of open dialogue and greater accessibility.

4. Involve your people

Many leaders, especially those tasked with running small to medium businesses, avoid delegating and asking for others’ input – and often neglect to inform employees when change happens. People feel valued and involved when they have a say in how things are done in an organisation, which in turn has an impact on the culture and work environment.

5. Work space matters

The way an office is set up determines a great deal – like levels of productivity and how comfortable people feel at work. But businesses would do well to remember that everyone’s different, and that people do their best work under different conditions. While some thrive in an open-plan office, others need a quiet space in order to concentrate.

Related: Why the office space is impacting on your habits and productivity

It’s also important to make sure that you provide all the equipment that people need to do their jobs well – there are few things that impact morale more negatively than faulty computers and printers, for example.

Developing a strong organisational culture relies on how people feel in their work environment, and how these environments enable people to do their best work.

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About the author


Kelvin Reynolds

Kelvin Reynolds is the general manager of Epson South Africa

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