Genetic modification

Monisha Abraham

Corporate culture, which has evolved over time, has become even more complex as a result of the ongoing effects of the pandemic, as usual ways of working have been disrupted across businesses.

Monisha Abraham observes: “Another factor to consider is that corporates are also navigating the varying expectations of four different generations that are concurrently in the workforce – viz. baby boomers, generation X, millennials and generation Z.”

She continues: “Considering these new dynamics, a robust corporate culture stems from having the right values in place and walking the talk top down, setting a clear vision, directing good communications, and being transparent and accountable in your actions. Most importantly, having sincere respect and care for your people.”

Corporates in Sri Lanka have certainly placed more focus and emphasis on creating the right culture, as is evident by the presence of stated employee value propositions (EVPs).

Abraham says she is “proud to see more companies embracing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), as part of their commitment towards the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda, and being more open to knowledge sharing and learning through best practices. This only helps us become better at creating the right culture, and empowering our people to become their best selves by respecting their unique needs, perspectives and capabilities at the workplace and beyond.”

Weak leadership styles include a lack of vision, direction and agility in adapting to change, and poor communication and people management. These continue to stand in the way of an organisation’s progress, she cautions.

Abraham also warns of another roadblock – when ‘corporate culture’ is the ‘flavour of the day’ or a buzzword. “Instead, it needs to be built and nurtured so that it becomes part of the organisation’s DNA. A good litmus test of this is when people display good behaviour when no one is looking,” she points out.

As proven time and time again, leadership and management teams – by leading by example – set the tone and vivify the culture of a company.

“However, every individual has a shared responsibility in driving, sustaining, and endorsing the right culture, and calling out behaviours that are not in alignment with the corporate values,” she notes.

Elaborating on this, Abraham remarks: “It is evident that culture correlates with performance and growth. I can attest to this through leadership positions held over the years. An empowered and aligned workforce is vital for continued growth and performance, as committed team members will go the extra mile to stay ahead of the game, and contribute to their team’s overall success.”

She notes that corporate culture helps set a benchmark for employer branding and peer respect, and plays a role in attracting talent and resources while retaining the internal talent pool. Understanding the correlation between culture and growth, and investing in it, is certainly worthwhile for an organisation – both in the short and long term, she opines.

Abraham explains: “Companies that have a healthy corporate culture are seen empowering their teams and driving work environments that resonate boldness, vibrancy and fun, and are agile and forward-thinking at the same time. Their success and energetic culture is palpable, and positive word of mouth from employees and other stakeholders help establish corporate respect as well.”

Yes, the pandemic has certainly taken its toll on corporate culture; but as we continue to adapt, it’s vital to sustain employee engagement, keep morale high, and address any gaps with imagination and innovation.

Culture is about human connections and sincerity, and driving it with the support of strong corporate values can make all the difference for people across our organisations, Abraham concludes.

Monisha Abraham is the Managing Director and CEO of Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC)