The Dynamics of Company Culture in Digitally Forward Organisations

Achieving success in business today demands significant changes in culture as well as working practices. Digital-first organisations are those that have orientated not only their business models but also their company culture and organisational structures to take full advantage of digital. Digital maturity can help drive a positive culture in the workplace, and it also helps to drive employee satisfaction and engagement. According to Gartner Research, 64% of CIOs see culture as a barrier to digital transformation, but 25% perceive culture as an enabler. 

Why does Company Culture Matter?

Organisations that actively encourage a strong and positive workplace culture that supports both digital implementation and broader goals, strategy, and vision are more likely to beat the competition and attract top talent.  According to the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends study, organisations that create a culture defined by higher worker involvement and meaningful work outperform their peers. Specifically, those who said they co-create with their workers stated they were 1.8x more likely to have a highly engaged workforce, 2x more likely to be innovative, and 1.6x more likely than their peers to anticipate and respond to change effectively. An authentic, positive workplace culture will enable employees to feel connected to their colleagues and the company’s mission and core values.

What is Dynamic Company Culture?

Workplace culture is a collection of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours that make up the regular atmosphere in a work environment. Culture is not static but dynamic, and it changes when the organisation changes, whether hiring a new employee, promoting someone or changing the way things work. Defined principles and ways of working are a critical part of organisational culture. The strongest cultures are continually reviewed and strengthened so that everything is moving in a positive direction for teams at work. 

Creating a Dynamic Culture in digitally-forward Organisations

Creating a digital-ready culture can be important for attracting talent. Employees seek out forward-thinking organisations, and recent research shows the percentage of people wanting to leave their roles is lower in more digitally mature companies. The DocuSign Digital Maturity Report 2023 explores businesses and organisations across Europe. It benchmarks attitudes and perceptions of 1,800 EMEA business decision-makers evenly distributed across France, Germany, the UK & Ireland. The research found that employees want to replace days spent on low-value administration and execution with high-impact deep work, innovation and forward-thinking strategies that engage them and drive the business forward. 

  • 44% of employees want to spend more time on meaningful, high-value tasks
  • 46% want to spend more time on strategy

The Digital Culture Challenge for Organisations

An organisation with a more substantial digital maturity and a digital-first culture is more likely to retain employees. The research showed that a third of those who already plan to leave their jobs want to work for more digital-forward companies because they are frustrated with the current systems and processes they are required to use.

While a robust digital strategy is crucial to employee satisfaction, organisational culture must be conducive to introducing new technology and digital transformation. According to Deloitte Chairman’s Survey Research, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is vital to business success and in a survey of more than 600 respondents, McKinsey Research found the talent-related practice most predictive of winning against competitors was the frequent reallocation of high performers to the most critical strategic priorities.

One of the biggest challenges to digital transformation is an organisational culture that is averse to risk and experimentation. In the Digital Maturity Report, 37% of respondents cite old working habits as a barrier to change. Digitally-forward companies tend to have managed employees and teams through forward-thinking mindsets and practices. 

The Singapore Management University study Cultural Transformation in the Digital World identified that teams will only embrace change if they understand why transformation is needed and if they have faith in their leaders. The key to overcoming the barriers includes clear communication, setting clear vision and goals, encouraging collaboration and choosing the right technology.

There is also a continued acceleration in flexible working. The drive for employees to have a smarter work/life balance also contributes to changing the dynamics of company culture. This new economic era is defined by the capacity to conduct business, leisure and personal activities in any location, and it gives people greater flexibility in how, when and where they work. 

How to Build and Improve Company Culture

1. Leaders should be aligned with vision and values and drive them forward

Your leaders should be dedicated to making your organisation a great place to work. For example, those who embrace a positive work/life balance and positive attitude will encourage employees to do the same. 

2. New hires should be aligned with your vision and values

When recruiting and onboarding, ensure your new employees understand your vision and values and are aligned with them.

3. Find ways to integrate your values into your employee's activities

Workplace culture is more likely to be successful if it’s actively communicated and integrated into everyday activities.

4. Ensure your workplace culture is dynamic

A positive workplace culture will shift based on employees' different needs and attitudes. For example, for employees who want to work in a digitally-forward organisation. Adapting and staying in a growth mindset is important as culture changes over time. 

5. Reward employees who demonstrate your culture and values

Find a way to find the right balance between your employee's needs and your organisation’s ability to provide them, and you are setting the steps to a positive workplace culture. Employees who receive positive recognition for their contribution are more likely to be engaged. 

As technology is changing at an ever-more accelerated rate, individuals and organisations of all sizes must adapt, take on new skills, and ensure a constant learning culture. When leaders build the kind of culture they want the organisation to embody, they can help attract and keep talent. Find out more in the 2023 DocuSign Digital Maturity Report.

Mangesh Bhandarkar
GVP, Product Management
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