Values and Culture
Values and Culture

Today organizational culture and values significantly define employee motivation and engagement which is a precondition for achieving the best results. We see organizational culture as the ecosystem in which values act as a fundament. Beliefs and behaviors relevant to values create a healthy organizational climate where employees’ energy is creative, productive and serve common ideas.

If an organizational culture is weak, then non-productive energy prevails, the employee happiness index is low, and attracting and keeping talents become difficult. A company’s results do not improve year by year while possible achieved results are backed by high stress levels which in the long term negatively affects a company’s development pace.

The majority of organizations are now facing inevitable transformations. They have to revise their visions, strategic goals and values according to what extent their values support their new goals. Even though the majority of organizations may have declared values, integrating those values in everyday work still remains challenging for many.

A company has a weak organizational structure, if:

  • Company’s values do not support company’s vision and transformation

  • The majority of employees do not understand company’s vision and values, do not feel they are part of it

  • The majority of employees cannot relate company’s values to their personal values and respectively, do not consider themselves as part of the team

  • The majority of employees cannot relate their work to the company’s strategic goals, respectively, their engagement is limited to fulfilling specific tasks

  • Declared values are not strongly reflected in employees’ behavior – they do not know how the specific value is expressed in their everyday work

  • Teams are not openly agreed on common rules of play and their energy is non-productively (hidden and open conflicts, misunderstandings, internal competition, gossiping, etc.)

  • Company does not have support systems for the specific culture (relevant organizational structure, communication platforms, motivation / compensation policy, vision of employee development and action plan)

In contrary to this, in companies where the organizational culture is clearly defined and strong:

Values are reflected on behaviors, rules of play are clear and defined for employees who understand those rules, everyone knows what is acceptable and what is not

Company is attractive for people who related to core values of the organization. This simplifies recruitment process, attraction of talents and strengthens company’s reputation for being the best employer

Employee engagement and their performance rates are high, respectively employees are highly motivated and satisfied

Teams work in agreement and effectiveness boosts

Overall, company is viable in long-term perspective and maximally utilizes its development potential

How we work

Working on organizational culture and values starts with diagnostics before ACT’s team develops the main outline of the specific approaches and activities.

    • Diagnostics cover expert interviews with representatives of different units at the company as well as organizational studies (ONA, Barrett values research, analysis of existing studies, etc.). The need of the said studies and format is defined as a result of interviewing the organization’s management.
    • We use the facilitating workshop format for revising, and re-assessing values. We believe that when each team member conducts an in-depth analysis they can discover which values are unchangeable for the company and where changes are needed, and which values support the company’s vision and energize the management team.
    • An organization’s core values cannot be productive unless employees have a full understanding of them, can relate them to their individual values and express them in their behavior. The expanded workshop format serves exactly this purpose – how to help employees realize those values and make them part of a company’s rules of play.
    • In order for values to be organic and expressed daily, consistency, constant communication and support are required. It is important to incorporate them in a company’s organizational structure, systems and platforms. ACT’s team helps companies to analyze how relevant the existing systems, communication platforms and policies are to a company’s core values, what needs to stay, what needs to change or whether there is need to create something entirely new. This process covers collaboration with respective teams in different formats. In addition to the analytics, workshops and creative sessions, we offer companies best practices and tailor them to their needs.

With these approaches we assist companies in strengthening and building a strong organizational culture which will ensure sustainability and viability of the company in the long term.

Our Team
Featured Insights

Our new reality is very much alike if you get up 15 minutes earlier to work day, go to “home office”, work, mix personal and work time, head over to your own kitchen during lunch, come across with shopping list when working on projects and mostly spend your weekends on the balcony. New reality makes our behavior and work principles homogenous. In the environment where homes are turned into offices a circle is formed where routine is repeated every day for everyone. How is it possible under these circumstances to keep your work motivation or even increase it?

When speaking about motivation, we most definitely need to mention Abraham Maslow, founder of motivation theory, whose pyramid cannot be avoided by any organization. On initial stage of keeping employees motivated, Maslow considers basic needs: physical environment and safety, following level is taken by psychological needs: belonging, love, recognition and finally, he sees the need of achieving one’s full potential and self-actualization.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy, organizations that fully meet employees’ needs from basic needs to top level, significantly increase their motivation. However, this classic model was altered by the pandemic. Now, employees who had their physical environment covered in terms of basic needs, have an upside down situation: they make stocks of food, pile up hygiene and medical products, stay at home and take care of their own and family member’s health. Under these changes, pyramid is completely altered and it becomes necessary to discuss changed tactics of employees’ motivation.

In Georgian reality, “upside down” pyramid appeared to be most simply adaptable for those companies whose organizational strengths became transferable into remote service as they already had digital processes well-established. To motivate employees, these and other companies had to make decisions based on the stage where large portion of their employees were at.

We are sharing an example of our organization – ACT, how it manages to preserve the bottom level of pyramid so that based on the central part, it supports lower and upper levels and respectively, increases employees’ motivation.

Love, friendship, family, belonging – central part of the pyramid, psychological factors largely affect motivation of employees. As far as ACT’s management follows direct, consistent communication, uses open, free, less bureaucratic approaches, acceptance of their decisions is already quite high. In addition to this, the majority of employees has long history of working for the company, thus, the feeling of love and belonging, supporting each other stands high on psychological level. A feeling of belonging is enhanced during a crisis, when people love to be united, to be in the same boat, this strengthens them mentally and simplifies acceptance of novelties, new initiatives. Being united against the problem from the company’s perspective is perceived as ultimate motivator, while being united around the idea is a powerful tool in the pursue to achieving goal. 

Physical environment – new fears emerged in terms of physical level: preserving a job, salary, mobilization of finances for meeting basic needs, physical place to effectively do your job. These fears compromise lower level and to terminate this, organization needs to have timely and right communication with employees. To address this problem, ACT made certain changes in terms of staff/salary, which resulted in preserving jobs for every employee. This decision, on one side eliminated fears in terms of safety and physical environment and on the other side, on central level, built level of basic needs on membership of one big family. Employees became motivated to create safe working environment for them and their colleagues, thus, the company shortly became entirely digitalized.

Self-actualization – some of ACT’s employees were on the level of meeting the need of self-actualization, while part of them, with right allocation of resources, were given a chance to show off their “hidden” skills during the crisis. Opportunity to demonstrate their potential additionally motivated people to receive recognition from colleagues and level up to the last step of pyramid where by fully realizing their skills, they could turn the challenge into an opportunity. Clear demonstration of this is a new consulting platform of ACT – formed with the idea of supporting other businesses under corporate responsibility.

When evaluating the steps we made, organization was able to obtain a larger picture through a feedback tool (internal study), based on which motivation of employees has remained the same for 57% during crisis considering the decisions made by management while motivation increased for 33% of employees. Inquired staff members also believe that changes will not affect company’s work: on expectation level, they perceived that company would work in regular regime, while they feel optimistic towards the future operation of ACT. As verified by this example, if psychological needs are met, organization culture and feeling of being united is in place, building values on them becomes quite easy, which is particularly important during crisis.

Author: Gvantsa Tolordava

Research Manager / ACT Business