How Technology Improves Organizational Culture at Work
Organizational culture determines the health and success of a business. Are you satisfied with this part of your company? Do you know how to leverage technology to improve the organizational culture?
It’s the key ingredient that defines how employees interact with or treat clients, deal with workplace issues, problems or conflicts and how they prioritize their daily duties.
While organizational culture is largely determined by the leadership – whether they know it or not – developing a strong organizational culture becomes more difficult as a company grows and expands.
This is where technology can help.
1. Information Access
Technology has the power to bring everyone into the loop and on the same page, even if your team is spread across the city or across the globe. Giving everyone access to the same information creates continuity and cuts down on time spent finding and sending documents.
The ability to access data easily increases worker autonomy and reduces their stress levels.
When you don’t have a centralized information system, you may end up with one employee that has an old, out-of-date SOP checklist saved on their computer that they are still using, while others are using a newer version.
You don’t want employees following a different procedure for the same tasks nor you want them to share old, out-of-date information with each other.
Hopefully, as you make changes to your policies and procedures, you are keeping them in line with your organizational goals and ethics. By making sure everyone is working from the same documents you can stop passing bad or out-of-date information from one employee to another.
When you need to make changes, you don’t have to send out a companywide email with new procedures attached and hope everyone opens it, reads it and follows it.
You just replace the old document within the folder, or edit an existing one and inform every one of the change.
2. Highly Collaborative Environment
Like all technology, collaborative tools can either be a help or a hindrance, depending on how you use them. First, help your team members understand how organizational changes will enhance their functions.
Ease of collaboration can create a more social atmosphere that promotes personal and organizational health.
Employees will be more productive if they are enabled to connect with their colleagues fast, and get the help they might need in order to finish tasks.
However, be aware you need to set proper boundaries. Too much collaboration can become more of a distraction to work than a benefit. If you want technology to actually improve your organizational culture, that might create a need to encourage employees to sometimes turn it off.
In many companies, the time that employees are expected to spend on collaborative activities such as meetings, phone calls, emails, and chats can occupy as much as 80% of their time.
This leaves them with very little time to focus on their individual work. What’s even worse is this time is often fragmented by the immediacy of instant messaging that often almost demands an immediate response.
While collaboration is certainly important and there is a broad range of technology available that can foster and facilitate it, there is also a need to allow employees to have more control over their own work time.
3. Better Performance Management
In the same way that technology can now analyze a golf or tennis swing and make suggestions as to how to increase performance, the same is true in the workplace.
For instance, a manager may notice that output significantly increases between 10 am and noon but then starts to decrease until around 2:00 pm, when it starts to pick up again.
Some of this will, of course, be due to lunch breaks, but it also points to some sluggishness when employees return from lunch. This should tell a savvy manager that scheduling a meeting between 10 am and noon is a bad idea as it interferes with peak performance hours, but a 1:00 pm meeting might actually be a welcome break before the afternoon grind.
Without modern business solutions, it would be impossible for companies to offer remote positions and further increase the flexibility of their teams. Virtual business and home-based offices are easily keeping up with traditional work settings, thanks to available digital tools. Technology has the power to create a great company culture, but only if it is used and managed wisely.
Analytics don’t just tell individual companies how to help improve performance, they can also tell us about widespread problems among workplaces in general.
People leave jobs because of how they are managed. Employee retention depends more on the company’s management and working environment than anything else.
That means no amount of technology can fix a broken system of management. If you want technology to actually improve company culture, you have to start with improvements in management.