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Umukoro: How Communications Can Improve Corporate Culture, Organisations

Umukoro: How Communications Can Improve Corporate Culture, Organisations

Media entrepreneur, and corporate communications expert, with cross-sector experience spanning oil and gas, journalism, banking and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Sam Umukoro, speaks with Raheem Akingbolu on the role of communication in driving workplace culture and its impact on company reputation. Excerpts:

How does internal communication help in culture engineering?

First, it is pertinent to point out that any CEO or company leadership that builds and drives an inclusive workplace culture has surmounted one of the challenges organizations now face. A very good and effective corporate culture gives employees a common purpose that propel alignment, actions, and behaviours, which lead to successful accomplishment of business strategies and goals. It is sine qua non to have buy-in from employees. To win hearts and minds, you need a good internal communication strategy. One that will help you reaffirms the organisation’s goals and core values for outstanding employee engagement. Workplace culture solutions and communication should work in tandem to foster a strong corporate culture, collaboration, improve productivity and continuous operational excellence. 

Does this improve the corporate reputation of an organisation?

As scholars have opined, corporate reputation is the sum of all the opinions and beliefs held about a company by its stakeholders – be it employees, customers, and investors. How you treat your employees is important to build credibility, trustworthiness and engender a positive reputation.  A company with a good and inclusive workplace culture will no doubt attract top talents because it will be seen as a great place to work. Also, it will gain a positive reputation as an environment where employees can be the best version of themselves and do excellent work. In addition, employee retention would be great. You would love to work in that kind of organisation. However, it is important to point out that a good corporate culture is not just about making employees happy; it is beyond that. It is about creating an enabling environment, buttressing diversity, and inclusion, encouraging innovation and transformation; it must be anchored on improving ways of working, processes to deliver astounding business outcomes.

In what way does it align with the ESG goals of an organisation?

That’s an interesting question. ESG is no longer just a buzz word in the corporate lexicon. Companies can no longer afford to pay lip service to their responsibilities as it pertains to Environmental, Social and Governance factors. They must be aware of their obligations within the ESG framework to all their stakeholders.  Organisations must be committed to making a positive impact in the lives of employees. There should be commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive working environment. This must be embedded in the company’s core values, culture and business strategy. You cannot be talking about commitment to the well-being and prosperity of the communities in which you operate while being negligent of the personal and professional wellbeing of your employees.  It is an ethical obligation that should be part of the ESG strategy.

In what ways can you use communication to drive culture strategy?

A two-way dialogue approach is advised to build trust, win heads, hearts, and minds. Employees are the lifeblood of an organisation. They need to be aware of the organisation’s goals and how their jobs connect to those goals. This must be amplified regularly in a manner that resonates. Remember, employees strive for much more than a salary; they want purpose, meaning, connection, and joy. Having this understanding, communication must be done in a transparent manner that inspires greater commitment by showing what’s in it for them and how they can contribute to achieving the desired outcomes. The importance of strong communication cannot be overemphasized in building a healthy workplace culture and deepening employee engagement. Tools and channels available should be leveraged for messaging that promotes collaboration and community.

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