Leaders play a key role in establishing, maintaining and supporting company culture. Leaders can be crucial to both the overall health of company culture and its success on a day-to-day basis.
Leaders can have a number of roles in relation to their impact on company culture. The possibilities are many, including:
Leaders are often the primary creators and shapers of company culture. They set and articulate the company’s core values, mission and vision, which form the basis of the overall culture. At the same time, they are role models for the behaviours and attitudes they want to see in their organisation. They must act in accordance with the company’s values and principles to create a credible and authentic company culture.
Leaders' decisions have a direct impact on company culture. They make decisions about organizational structure, policies, reward systems and more, which can affect how culture develops and is sustained.
In addition, leaders are often responsible for communicating the company’s culture both internally and externally. In doing so, they become cultural brokers to employees and are tasked with ensuring that everyone understands and can act in accordance with the values, mission, strategy and desired ambitions of the company’s work culture.
When the company culture needs to change, for example in the case of mergers or major strategic shifts, leaders are again the primary drivers of change. They must be able to facilitate and manage cultural change in a way that minimises resistance and maximises the impact of the effort.
Overall, the role of the leader in relation to company culture is to define, develop, maintain, communicate and – when necessary – change the culture. An effective leader understands the importance of a strong and positive company culture and actively works to promote such a culture.
Leadership tool: digital platform for company culture
Digital platforms can be powerful tools to support leaders in their work with company culture.
Digital platforms can improve communication both horizontally and vertically within the organisation. They can be used to share knowledge, provide direction, set strategic goals and communicate company values in a consistent and transparent way. Clear communication helps ensure everyone is on the same page and understands the company’s ambitions. For major changes, a digital platform allows managers to seamlessly communicate changes, gather feedback and monitor employee adaptation to the new environment.
When you make digital tools and platforms available throughout your organisation, you’ll find that collaboration between departments is fostered as your employees can access the resources and information they need, no matter where they are. This can foster a culture of competence and collaboration.
Features such as polls, forums, comments, performance reviews, and recognition can be used to increase employee engagement and satisfaction. It can help create a culture where employees feel seen, heard, valued and motivated.
Furthermore, by using online training and e-learning, you can contribute to a culture of continuous learning and development. This ensures that all employees understand and are trained in the company’s values and culture, as well as the practical work processes required to perform their daily work well. This creates confident and self-assured employees who are able to contribute positively to your sales figures and reputation.
The above tools and features, which are often available on digital platforms, are a valuable toolbox for managers. With the right tools, managers can work more effectively with company culture and achieve positive results.
Middle managers are essential for a great culture
The middle manager’s role is a balancing act between enforcing overall management goals and policies while supporting and guiding employees on a day-to-day basis. They are an important link between senior management and employees, and often play a key role in implementing and maintaining company culture.
It's fair to say that middle managers are just as central, if not more essential, to culture as senior management.
In short, the key roles of middle management span the following:
Middle managers “translate” overall company goals and strategies into concrete tasks and guidelines for their team.
02. Role model
Like senior management, middle managers are role models for the company’s values and culture. They must act as role models and champions to reinforce the company culture.
Middle managers support their employees by providing guidance, feedback, and resources to enable employees to do their jobs effectively.
04. Change agent
When changes occur in the organisation, middle managers are often responsible for implementing these changes at the operational level.
Middle managers often represent their team to senior management and can help communicate the team’s needs, challenges and successes.
Help your middle managers contribute where the impact is greatest
However, the middle manager is also faced with a number of dilemmas. Dilemmas that middle managers are often not trained to deal with. For example, they may be caught between enforcing overarching policies and goals that may not be popular with employees and maintaining a good relationship with their team. This requires balance and good communication.
Middle managers are often challenged by having equal parts administrative/strategic duties, as well as being expected to be 'visible on the floor'. However, it can be a difficult balancing act where time (or lack thereof) becomes the deciding factor for success.
Digital platforms like Academy can help middle managers address these dilemmas by improving communication, facilitating collaboration and engagement, and providing access to data and tools that can help managers make informed decisions. For example, feedback mechanisms can help middle managers understand employee perspectives and needs, while learning and development tools can help them support employee growth and career progression. Specifically, it’s about giving middle managers a tool that presents them with data about their employees that has been previously analysed and clarified. Based on this, it’s a shortcut to action, and the middle manager can have a big impact with few resources.
In many ways, actionable data is crucial to making informed decisions and creating effective strategies that can be translated into action.
How leaders and middle managers benefit from data on internal digital platforms
> Understanding employee engagement:
By collecting data on how employees interact with the platform, organisations can gain insights into their engagement. This can include what topics or tasks they engage with the most, how often they log in and how they interact with other users on the platform.
> Feedback and improvement:
Data can also be collected through feedback mechanisms on the platform, such as surveys, evaluations and comments. This can provide management with valuable information on how employees perceive the company culture and where there is room for improvement.
> Measuring learning and development:
Digital platforms can track employee progress through various learning and development activities. This can help organisations assess whether their training and development programs are effective and which areas need more focus.
> Change management:
Data can help managers monitor how employees adapt to organisational change. This can be particularly useful for major changes or transformations within the organisation, but is also valuable for smaller adjustments such as staff turnover or project work.
By analysing user data, organisations can also find out which features of the platform are most useful to employees and which ones may need to be improved or changed.
It's important to note that while collecting and analysing data can provide valuable insights, it must be done in an ethical and legal manner that respects employee privacy and complies with applicable data protection laws.
Furthermore, decisions involving your employees’ jobs should never be based solely on numbers – human interpretation and contextualisation of data is necessary to ensure validity.
Read more: How data from Academy can ensure success