Creating an inspired company culture through document management software is an example of how technology can help advance the culture discussion in the workplace, particularly as it pertains to technology.
According to a Gallup poll, more than half of the American workforce is tuning out. 51% of employees claimed to be not engaged in their work, and 17.5% were actively disengaged.
While there are plenty of reasons to be dissatisfied with one’s job—Careerbuilder.com ranks salary, advancement opportunities, and work/life balance as some of the biggest sources of frustration.
This begs the question: What is company culture, and how can HR and management work towards improving it? Despite the seeming ubiquity of the term, there’s no one agreed-upon definition of company culture.
Various factors, from management styles to office architecture, have been identified as playing a role.
It is perhaps more illustrative to think of culture not in terms of what it looks like but what it works towards.
In any organization, the management sets goals, and from these goals a set of formal and informal rules, policies, and systems begins to impact employees on a day-to-day basis.
Somewhere between abstract goals and these more concrete factors, a company’s culture emerges.
A positive company culture can go a long way toward creating happier, more productive, and more satisfied employees. Additionally, this is a viable step in the right direction for companies needing to maximize human capital.
Creating an Inspired Company Culture through Document Management Software: What Does it Look Like?
It’s easy to talk about good company culture in theoretical or statistical terms, but how do you translate them into policies and systems that promote employee engagement?
What are the day-to-day, working factors that influence the happiness and productivity of your team? Creating an inspired company culture through document management software takes less work than an inorganic reshaping of a team within a company.
One of the reasons why it’s so difficult for specialists, directors, and management experts to answer these questions is that each workplace and each industry is different.
What creates positive change in one organization can have the opposite effect in another.
A Harvard Business Review article illustrates the potential downside of trying to effect cultural change without a thorough understanding of what employees require to succeed.
The article profiles Aetna, the prominent managed healthcare company which, in the late 1990s, was suffering from poor employee morale, cumbersome processes, and negative financials.
The company’s culture—which dated back more than 150 years—was “risk-averse, tolerant of mediocrity, and suspicious of outsiders,” a pervasive condition which was highlighted following a 1996 merger with U.S. Healthcare.
The influx of new team members further hardened the staff, and “the conservative Aetna culture only became more intransigent.”
That changed in late 2000, when John W. Rowe, MD, was brought on as the company’s new CEO. Rather than attempting to force an organization-wide cultural shift from the top down, Rowe instead started by taking stock of the positives and the negatives of the existing culture.
He discovered most that while employees truly cared about their clients, about the long legacy of the company, and about the value of its mission, they were hampered by narrow-minded strategies that focused on cutting costs above all else. Creating an inspired company culture through document management software helps cut administrative costs without sacrificing morale or scaling back on workforce.
Rowe looked for ways to alleviate the negative aspects of Aetna’s culture without losing the positive.
Instead of sweeping changes, this was done through subtle improvements that streamlined processes and allowed employees to respond faster and more effectively to policyholders in times of crisis—honoring the company’s existing strengths and restoring a sense of pride to the organization.
The change was striking. Survey after survey noted an increase in morale, and profits responded as well, pulling Aetna out of the longstanding financial slide it had experienced throughout the 90s. Creating an inspired company culture through document management software makes achieving Rowe’s success easier than even he was able to achieve it with the tools he had at the time.
Lessons from Aetna: Building Culture from the Ground Up
You may not be a major health insurer, but there are still lessons to be learned from Aetna’s example:
Effective interventions evolve and adapt through technology.
John Rowe didn’t go into Aetna knowing what needed to be done to fix the company’s toxic culture. Instead, he spent hours listening to his employees, attempting to understand what motivated them and what the root causes of their dissatisfaction were.
Of course, not every employee can articulate these issues. Some may even want things that are actively against their best interests. Building change from the ground up means building a culture that is robust and can adapt over time.
Start by asking the right questions, but know that the answers in themselves are just a snapshot of a system in flux.
Change requires both vision and compromise in creating an inspired company culture through document management software
Effective leadership is essential to building better company cultures—but it has to be a certain kind of leadership. When Aetna went through 4 CEOs in 5 years, it wasn’t because previous executives lacked a clear vision for the company.
It was because they were unable to recognize when their vision wasn’t the right one and were unwilling to make the necessary compromises to bring it in line with what employees needed.
Good leadership requires an attention to detail and a willingness to see progress in the incremental changes that gradually make company culture and business objectives consistent with one another.
This is one reason why creating an inspired company culture through document management software matters; it helps foster an easier route to these realizations.
Process plays a key role in employee happiness.
In the case of Aetna, the problem wasn’t that employees didn’t care about their clients. Rather, its roots lay in the cumbersome processes and policies which actively discouraged collaboration between team members.
As a result, going the extra mile for a customer—or any action which would engender a greater sense of pride in one’s work—was effectively impossible.
Positive change was achieved in small increments, by refining processes and improving systems that allow team members to work together and towards a common goal.
For your organization, the issue might be different, but the takeaway is the same: How your employees work affects their job satisfaction, which in turn affects company culture.
Later, we’ll talk more about how specific changes, such as updating your document management software, can play into this.
What Are the Benefits of Promoting Corporate Culture?
Do employees need to be happy to be productive? Increasingly, human resources managers are coming to realize just how connected a positive company culture is with an organization’s long-term success.
A positive culture is not the same as a working environment that is free from stress or responsibility.
Rather, it’s one in which employees know they are supported, both by management and by their peers. A supportive environment—where leadership, policies, and infrastructure are working together to help employees achieve a shared vision—can drive profits and growth.
A study by Warwick University found that, across the board, happy employees were 12% more productive overall, whereas unhappy employees were 10% less productive. Clearly, a happy culture can go a long way towards making good employees great and turning great employees into leaders.
It also has a tangible effect on your bottom line. Just ask Dr. Noelle Nelson, author of Make More Money by Making Your Employees Happy.
In an interview with Forbes, Nelson states that “companies that effectively appreciate employee value enjoy a return on equity & assets more than triple that experienced by firms that don’t.” In other words, when your company culture puts the needs of employees first, everyone benefits.
How Can Document Management Software Create a Strong Corporate Culture?
At first glance, the link between document management software and corporate culture may not seem obvious. Consider, however, that, in a report conducted by New York-based nonprofit The Conference Board, over 45% of employees were unhappy with quality of equipment they used at work.
With computer hardware more sophisticated than ever, how is this possible? Clearly, the technology is there to make an employee’s life easier—so why isn’t it being harnessed?
The answer often comes down to software. Most enterprise document manager platforms are clunky, hard to use and prone to errors and failure.
This on its own may seem like a minor inconvenience, but consider the cumulative effect it has on morale over time. When employees can’t access the information they need in a seamless manner, it:
- Eats into their productivity and takes time away from the other, bigger-picture tasks that foster job satisfaction
- Adds to on-the-job stress and frustration
- Creates the impression that management doesn’t care enough to fix the problem
- Isolates employees from one another, creating an additional barrier to communication and collaboration
If you’re unsure where to begin making positive cultural change in your organization, look to your software. When your staff are better equipped to do their jobs in a productive manner, the effect it can have on morale is startling.
From there, that goodwill will grow to create a more welcoming, forward-thinking and effective organization—from the ground up.
eFileCabinet and the Happy Company Culture
eFileCabinet is an intuitive, easy-to-use document management platform that has been designed to increase employee productivity, create safe opportunities for collaboration, and reduce rework and duplication of effort, among other benefits. Creating an inspired company culture through document management software is easier today than ever, as it automates many of the processes that detract from overall job satisfaction.
Our products, which include enterprise-level online and on-premises solutions, help your team capture, store, manage, share, and protect the valuable data they need to get their jobs done.
In doing so, we play a key role in the technology infrastructure of some of today’s most successful company cultures.
In today’s connected world, happiness, productivity, and technology work together to form the backbone of a successful corporate culture. To learn more about the role eFileCabinet can play in your organization, contact our office today.
Are you ready to begin creating an inspired company culture through document management software?