Tales from the Corporate Frontlines: Shifting Culture and Climate in Todays Corporate World

This articles relates to the AlphaMeasure core competency Culture and Climate. AlphaMeasure defines climate as the effect an organization has on the employees, while culture refers more to the acceptable behaviors, attitudes, and habits of the organization as a whole. Knowing and understanding workplace culture and climate leads to a better understanding of what factors are influencing employees. In relation, the level of service your customers receive is almost always influenced by the culture and climate of your organization. This competency can be especially insightful if your organization is experiencing customer service related issues or problems working together internally.

A Tale from the Corporate Frontlines: An Employee's Perpective on Culture and Climate. This short story is part of AlphaMeasure's Tales from the Corporate Frontlines.

When large, multinational corporations acquire medium-sized, locally-oriented businesses, huge shifts in the culture and climate of the workplace can occur.

I experienced such a shift while working for a prosperous company with a rich local history and plenty of prestige in the community. When I started there, years ago, the culture was very friendly and laid back. This may have been due to the fact that although an eastern company, it was owned and directed by a larger west coast entity.

The culture and climate was relaxed and friendly. Occupants of executive row could be seen mingling with "regular employees" at company functions, which were many- the bill nearly always footed by the company. They recognized employees and their families by name, and were regularly spotted in offices, hallways, and the cafeteria, catching up with fellow workers, and enjoying themselves. Morale was high, along with productivity and profitability. It reminded me of working for a family business, even though 500+ people worked in the building.

Then came the sale. At the first of many employee meetings, the details of the huge corporate transaction, of the kind so common these days, were outlined. This new parent company turned out to have a climate and culture exactly the opposite from what we were used to for years.

Change didn't occur overnight, but gradually the shift began. Then it washed over our little company like a tidal wave. Executive row was walled in like a fortress, and its occupants stayed inside. We were barraged by memos, new rules, more rules, dress codes, building regs, vacation regs, holiday changes, work process changes, changes for the sake of making changes (or so it seemed to the employees), layoffs, restructurings- the climate became tense and chaotic. Morale suffered, as well as productivity.

Eventually, things worked out. Communication between various levels of management improved, understandings were reached, and the company survived and thrived again. But I always wondered---couldn't someone have done something to make the shift easier and smoother? With sales, mergers, and acquisitions so common these days, there has got to be a better way. It seemed to me that if a little consideration had been given to the radical climate and culture changes involved, the company could have handled the transition more smoothly, to the benefit of everyone involved.

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Josh Greenberg is President of AlphaMeasure, Inc. located in Boulder, Colorado. AlphaMeasure provides organizations of all sizes a powerful web based method for measuring employee satisfaction, determining employee engagement, and increasing employee retention.

The AlphaMeasure Employee Survey System is fully-customizable and allows you to target the organizational topics and challenges facing your staff today. Designed by HR professionals from the ground up, the AlphaMeasure Employee Satisfaction Survey System provides an affordable, feature rich solution for deploying fully-customized employee satisfaction or employee engagement surveys.

For additional employee surveying resources go to AlphaMeasure Employee Survey System.

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