On April 13, experts from Rosatom Corporate Academy took part in the session entitled Human-Centric Transformation of Organizational and Corporate Cultures. The discussion was held as part of the 24th Yasin International Scientific Conference on issues in the development of the economy and society. The participants reviewed the practice of forming an organizational culture in Russian and foreign companies, and also assessed the importance of social and cultural features in establishing a corporate policy.
The dialogue took place just before the launch of a new cycle of the Company Human-Centricity Index research which is being conducted by Rosatom Corporate Academy. The assessment methodology and the criteria to form the Index have been developed in accordance with international standards of human-oriented management systems. In this regard, the conversation about the global standards of the corporate culture, its similarities and differences in different countries is especially relevant.
These days, the emphasis is on unlocking the potential of employees — creating conditions for career growth, introducing training programs, establishing corporate values and so on – is the key to the successful development of companies. According to a joint research by Rosatom Corporate Academy and the NRU HSE Institute of Statistic Studies and Economics of Knowledge, investments in non-financial motivation programs can return threefold by increasing the company profits.
"At the heart of the human-centric approach there are the values such as equal and equitable opportunities, conscious development, respectful attitude, and personal well-being. Companies that shift the focus to employees and increase their individual performance, that perceive the team as an asset, ultimately achieve meaningful business results. Since Rosatom is represented in various regions of Russia, when building corporate policy, it considers interregional social and cultural differences. We adhere to a position that the professional happiness of employees is a property of a socially sustainable business and the key to successfully overcoming difficulties in the face of global uncertainty,” said Lydia Lebedeva, Manager of the Company Human-Centricity Index Project.
As the session participants noted, an individual approach to the formation of a human-centric management model becomes even more relevant if we talk about a multinational business. According to experts, in recent years, due to the growing role of developing countries in the global economy, their influence on the global corporate agenda is also growing. At the same time, social and cultural features often do not allow international companies represented in these states to specify corporate values, and thus they are "blurred" and reduced to general concepts.
As an example, experts discussed the opportunities and restrictions for business in the market of China, India, Iraq, and a number of other states of the Middle and Far East. As noted by Oleg Remyga, an expert in building business development strategies in the PRC and in Chinese economy and finance, most Chinese companies have adopted a strict hierarchy and team KPI. Oleg Bazaleev, Head of Social Affairs Department at Crescent Petroleum, added that in some countries businesses may face so-called double or alternative loyalty when family or clan values are placed above corporate values. He noted that in order to effectively build business processes, transnational companies needed to consider the specifics of social interaction not only at the macro, but also at the micro level.
Maria Reutskaya, an expert in employer's internal communications and brand, a tutor at the NRU HSE, spoke about two basic tactics for cascading corporate strategy in business. The first one implies a centralized implementation of goals and values in all offices and branches without regard to regional characteristics. With this approach, the company policy may puzzle and even provoke rejection on the ground. The second tactic suggests the involvement of the regional subdivisions management in the development of a strategy. This makes it possible to adapt corporate values to the local social and cultural environment, as well as to identify pain points typical of the region and work with them.
Yekaterina Kolesnikova, Associate Professor, Head of the NRU HSE School of Foreign Languages, believes that sometimes cultural affiliation determines the value and success of a person in a particular company. It is impossible to explore culture as something global. Studying it is the easiest when we decompose culture into values, beliefs, and standards of behavior. By exploring the corporate culture, we get an employee behavior model, a model of motivation for activity which consists of a very large component that cannot always be perceived and which cannot be measured and verbalized. Therefore, when we design any corporate culture, a specific, localized one, the values, behavior, and standards must integrate our vision of how it is supposed to be. Culture is something immense; it is always an active and developing process, therefore the only way to design a multinational corporate culture is the one through the development of cultural intelligence, both of the leader and employees. I believe that in exploring human-centricity, it is important to explore cultural intelligence as well. After all, they are all links in a chain.
The experts agreed that the most effective approach was to involve not only managers at different hierarchical levels, but also company employees in the strategy formation process. Personal participation contributes to the development of potential, increased responsibility and commitment to the mission of the company. As noted by senior partner of Senteo Inc. Aleksey Veretenov, strengthening the team involvement is impossible without building a well-functioning mechanism for collecting feedback. Tools such as surveys and focus groups that make it possible to find out the employees’ opinion, can be the means of implementing this task.
“It is important that people do understand their purpose in a company, have the opportunity to develop, and have sufficient autonomy. All this impacts the innovative behavior of a person at the workplace. According to a survey conducted in 2021 by the NRU HSE Institute of Statistic Studies and Economics of Knowledge, only 6.3% of employees in Russian companies offer ideas to improve business processes or product quality. Moreover, in almost half of the cases this is provided for by official duties. The trend of low employees engagement is supported by the data of our pilot research Company Human-Centricity Index, in which 120 companies participated. Business is still experiencing difficulties in establishing an efficient support system for its employees. However, the public discussion of the problem and the very fact that more and more companies-trendsetters in the development of organizational culture are becoming adherent to the strategy of human-centricity, contribute to changing the entire situation,” Lydia Lebedeva summed up.