How can we influence the organizational climate?
You found that organizational climate is important, you measured it, and you got results. Now what? How can you influence the existing climate, improve it and achieve a higher level of satisfaction?
The organizational climate is built both through actions and communication, from both sides the top down and vice versa. Climate strategy is often set at the top, but in practice it is best reflected at the bottom, so linking the two is crucial in creating a successful organizational climate.
- The organizational climate must be a strategic decision. Top management should recognize the importance of building a good organizational climate and decide what is important and what needs to be emphasized. Building a climate often means compromises, because the resources allocated to one are not necessarily available to all others. For example, workplace safety requires effort and time. Is it worth taking 5 minutes to install safety equipment if it means a little less productivity? Of course it is. 5 minutes of lower productivity will be caught up, but the feeling of safety in the workplace is long-lasting.
- The strategy must be clearly communicated throughout the organization. Just writing policies is not enough. They need to be disseminated and discussed throughout the organization. And not only to inform, but also to encourage feedback from all employees.
- Whatever strategy we promote in employees, it should be expected of everyone. Management must be the one who starts first with a certain type of behavior and maintains it in an exemplary manner. If workers are expected to wear safety equipment at work, so should managers (and even CEOs) when they are inspecting the premises.
- Climate needs to be discussed. This debate is expected to take place at all levels. For example, in order to create an ethical climate, ethics should be a frequent topic of discussion in staff meetings.
- Management should take corrective action in the event that employees begin to move away from the climate strategy. Given the seriousness of the violation, this can only be a friendly discussion about the situation and how the employee could have done it better. Such incidents may also be a topic of conversation at a staff meeting, not with the intent to expose or embarrass individuals, but to help other employees understand what is expected of them.
An important part of promoting an organizational climate is leadership, which embodies and demonstrates these values throughout its work. The shift in mentality – from boss to leader – helps leaders not only demonstrate organizational values, but also listen to what is happening in the workplace and promote and create a climate in which employees feel visible, heard and supported on their way to achieving what they want.