Organisational culture

Caroline Mboijana. PHOTO/FILE 

What you need to know:

It has come to my attention that there is a misalignment between the people and the organisation, and staff are not happy

Dear Caroline,

I have recently started a new job and I am still on my first six months of probation. My role is exciting, and I am charged with looking after employee wellbeing and the environment. It has come to my attention that there is a misalignment between the people and the organisation, and staff are not happy. Staff interactions always seem complex/negative towards me and I do not know how to bring people around to a more positive way of thinking about what they do and the organisation they work for. How do I address this challenge?


Hello Sheila, you have an exciting role and a very hard one at the same time. You need to be aware that over the last year, many people have gone through challenges and successes. Some have had the opportunity to self-reflect and have a clear personal vision while others have struggled to find their purpose and value. Many organisations have also had to review how they work with their staff and keep their team “happy”. In HR language, we call it engagement. It would help if you remembered that in the workplace, all of this happens against the backdrop of what we call organisational culture and often, how “happy” we are at work is influenced by the work environment. Creating a good working environment that contributes to employee well-being is not your responsibility but the leadership.

Some things you can do include conducting an employee engagement/satisfaction survey to understand the issues people may be happy or unhappy with. I say happy because I am sure some good things are happening within the organisation. Conducting this survey will give you insights into the issues that are frustrating staff. It would help if you were ready for what the data will show you. People in the workplace do not operate in a vacuum but rather in an environment that we call the organisation climate. You may also consider conducting an organisational climate survey that assesses aspects that define the organisation, its structures, processes, systems and culture. It is very likely that when you map the data, there will be a correlation between the climate and the people’s issues.  Once you have the data, you can develop meaningful, relevant, and sustainable interventions to address your concerns.

The critical point is that the leadership drives the organisational climate and all its components. If the culture is unpleasant and uncomfortable, there needs to be an honest discussion to understand what the leaders are doing or not that is negatively impacting the organisation. Be mindful that this discussion is sensitive and will not happen overnight. Good luck

Caroline Mboijana,

Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U) [email protected]


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