GENERATION Z: The Culture Club
Written by Ashley Carr
Positive organisational culture is like oxygen; invisible, yet essential for (business) life to continue. From Enron to Carillion to the Australian Swimming Team at the 2012 Olympics, one does not have to look very far to find the effects a negative culture can have on any type of organisation. A neglected culture is comparable to a neglected back garden. However, instead of weeds, you will find greed, aggression, deceit, bullying and even plain illegality amongst the undergrowth.
To paraphrase a quote attributed to Margaret Thatcher “Being a leader is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t”. Authoritarianism in the workplace is rightfully, fast becoming, a thing of the past (look how Thatcher’s reign ended). One brain dictating the direction of a business with unlimited authority puts to waste all the other talented brains within the business. Creating a positive and democratic organisation where all employees feel that they are wanted and that their opinions will be listened to is vital for success in the modern organisation. This means more effort is required by business leaders than installing a token suggestion box.
So where should one look for an exemplary business culture? London? New York? Tokyo? I personally think a trip up North to Manchester after a long-haul flight to Omaha in the Midwest of America would be more beneficial.
Integrity, a long-term view, a focus on the customer and a strong ethical compass emanates out of Warren Buffett and into Berkshire Hathaway and its subsidiaries. He will only acquire an interest in a business if its culture meets these and other stringent requirements, and it is these high standards which ensure that only the most upstanding business talent is attracted to the Berkshire family.
Once this talent is acquired he can feel positive about giving them the autonomy necessary to flourish, safe in the knowledge that their high ethical code will not bring the organisation into disrepute. A lot can be learned about organisational culture by studying the ‘Oracle of Omaha’.
Now we arrive in Manchester, more specifically, the offices of Social Chain who own and manage several popular social media accounts aimed at Generation Z. Social Chain’s “way of doing things” is far from traditional but far more spectacular. Does your office have a bar, puppies or yoga classes? Does your organisation employ a Director of Happiness? Well, why the heck not?! 15 minutes late? No problem. Need a sabbatical to go travelling? No problem.
If you are thinking that Social Chain is sacrificing growth for employee satisfaction, you could not be more wrong. Social Chain has expanded constantly since their foundation in 2014 and this year has been no exception with two major acquisitions already. If there are two things that Generation Z love more than our smartphones, it is democracy and making sure there is a platform to allow our voice to be heard, you will find these (and plenty of smartphones) in abundance at Social Chain.
I will leave you, Grow readers, with a sagacious message from Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, that you would be wise in heeding to encourage positive organisational culture and business success as a whole: “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first”.
Image by WOCinTech Chat