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BUSINESS CULTURE

Is business culture human enough for employees and the marketplace?

By our News Team | 2021

Businesses must re-evaluate whether the values of their organisation truly put humanity at the core and reflect the wider values of society.

Most companies claim to have humanity as one of the core corporate values that they espouse to employees, clients and the marketplace in general.

However, in many instances these are little more than empty words in what remains a business structure which is both culturally hierarchical and militaristic.

This alienates many within a workforce, emphasised Itumeleng Merafe, the Head of Sales: Landing at South African financial services company Investec when speaking at a recent working lunch hosted by radio station 702.

“The pandemic has challenged all corporates to step up and live up to their stated values. Companies tend to develop a set of values which they then expect all staff to be shoe-horned into. The focus is on the company processes rather than the humanity of the workforce,” he said.

“A diverse workforce, by its very nature, is going to have different values and goals, and consequently to be in relative conflict. The emphasis therefore has to be on having a corporate value system which facilitates diversity through resolution mechanisms.”

Culture is important in branding and retaining talent
Several bodies of research have found that employees working remotely are pushing themselves as their workloads increase and rewards are reduced. This has, in many cases, tipped their work-life balance out of kilter. But, at the same time, employees have proven they can more than meet objectives out of the office.

“It is vital, especially in these stressful times of remote working, for businesses to evaluate whether the values of their organisation truly put humanity at the centre,” Merafe stressed.“On the one hand, employees have enjoyed freedom from oppressive leadership; but online meetings serve as a continuous reminder of its eventual return. One of the results of Covid-19 is that individuals now know who their organisations really are,” Merafe said.

Post-Covid, distrustful bosses and inhumane companies may struggle to retain their talent – people who may have met all key performance indicators without having to clock in 9-5 – and now expect some recognition of this fact. And, of course, when corporate inhumanity makes the news media and social media, it is bad for the brand, for business and for PR!

Source: Radio station 702

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