Learning & Development

Mar 28, 2023 13 min read

Role of organization culture and values in growth of human potential

Every organization has culture and an inherent value system which really define it. Organizational culture is the broad spectrum of shared beliefs, values, practices, anecdotes, and traditions that shape the behavior of individuals within an organization. Values are the beliefs and principles that people hold as important for guiding decisions and actions. The culture and values of an organization shape the behavior and attitudes of employees with each other and other stakeholders including customers, and ultimately impact the success of the organization.

Organizational culture is however often implicit and can be difficult for a newcomer to fully understand. It can take time and careful observation for newcomers to get a sense of the norms, values, and expectations that shape behavior within an organization. Therefore, to really understand the organization, a newcomer should pay close attention to the behavior of others, decision making process and the most importantly to the unwritten rules that govern interaction within the organization. If need be, they may also be guided suitably in their transition to Professional Career.

Assimilation of organization culture and values is a crucial part of on boarding. A mismatch between an individual's personal values and the culture or value system of their organization is a leading cause of attrition, or turnover. When personal values are not aligned with those of the organization, there is sense of dissonance or conflict that leads to job dissatisfaction and ultimately, the quit decision. However, on a positive side, if an individual's personal values are aligned or get aligned with those of the organization, there is greater sense of engagement and job satisfaction. This leads to increased motivation, productivity, and retention.

All newcomers and existing employees are a source of talent and human potential for an organization. Talent is the specific natural ability or aptitude that an individual possesses in a particular skill or activity. It is often innate and can be seen in an individual's early years. For example, a talent for music or art, or athletics, or public speaking. It is the present. Something which has been developed and is proven. Human potential is broader, it is the overall capacity of an individual to achieve goals and reach full potential in all areas of life, not just in one talent or skill. It includes an individual's abilities -cognitive, emotional, physical, and spiritual, as well as their capacity for growth and development. It may require development, nurturing, and practice to fully realize. It is the future. Some examples of human potential include:

1. Creativity: the ability to come up with new perspectives, ideas, concepts, and solutions to problems.

2. Critical thinking: the ability to analyze information, evaluate and weigh arguments, and make sound judgments.

3. Emotional intelligence: the ability to understand and manage one's own emotions and those of others.

4. Resilience: the ability to bounce back from setbacks and challenges and belief that these are part of life.

5. Curiosity: the desire to explore new things and learn from them. To retain the child within yourself.

6. Leadership: the ability to inspire and influence others towards a common goal.

7. Adaptability: the ability to adjust to changing situations and environments.

8. Empathy: the ability to understand and connect with the feelings and perspectives of others.

9. Communication: the ability to effectively convey and receive ideas and information.

10. Perseverance: the ability to keep the efforts in the face of obstacles and challenges.

The development of human potential is a lifelong process. It requires continuous learning, self-reflection leading to growth. It is best part of being human. It requires time and sustained effort, through formal education, training, mentoring, or self-directed learning. Workplace is an important arena of flowering of human potential, where individuals develop their skills, knowledge, and abilities, and apply them in a meaningful way to contribute to organizational goals and objectives.

Organizational culture and values thus play a decisive impact on the growth and development of human potential. A negative or toxic organizational culture inhibits growth and development by creating a stressful and unfulfilling work environment. Individuals may feel unsupported, unfairly treated, unable to express themselves freely, leading to burnout, disengagement, and overall stunted growth. On the other hand, supportive organizational culture encourages individuals to take risks, learn new and relevant skills actively, and pursue their passions within overall organizational goals. It changes the energy and vibes in the organization. It also provides opportunities for mentoring and coaching, continuous learning, and collaboration, which help individuals realize their full potential. Positive organizational culture also influences many other crucial factors including the way work is organized, how decisions are made, how conflicts are resolved, and how employees are recognized and rewarded.

Indian Oil has Care, Passion, Innovation and Trust as core values. These go a long way towards fostering an organizational climate to develop Human Potential.

1. Care: Care creates a supportive and nurturing environment where individuals feel valued, respected, and encouraged. It helps Individuals to be creative, take necessary risks, reflect, and learn from their experiences to achieve their potential.

2. Passion: Passion is a driving force that fuels an individual's desire to learn, grow, and achieve their full potential. Passionate individuals are more engaged with their work, motivated, and committed to personal and professional growth. Passion acts like the energy that makes growth seem effortless.

3. Innovation: Emphasis on innovation encourages individuals to tread the unknown path, challenge assumptions, and experiment with new ideas and approaches. Innovation also fosters willingness to take risks and learn from failure. An organization that is willing to let its people innovate is future proofing itself.

4. Trust: Trust is critical as it creates a safe and supportive environment where individuals feel free to express themselves, take risks, and learn from their own and other’s experiences. When individuals trust their colleagues and leaders, they are more likely to collaborate. It acts as multiplier as knowledge and skill spread easily and peer learning is vastly improved.

We all know that Human beings have a fundamental need for social connection and spirituality. As a good part of waking hours are spent in working, the social context provided by organizations through the formation of work teams, social events, and other opportunities for employees to interact and collaborate is very important. Organizations also provide a context for spiritual development by fostering a sense of community and shared purpose among employees, promoting ethical and moral values, and encouraging personal and professional growth. It is hence a moral duty of the organization to have an enabling culture for growth of Human Potential.

There is also an economic rationale. New workforce i.e., Millennials, as a generation, are generally known for valuing personal growth and development. This is different from the previous generations, who prioritized job security over personal growth and development. They understand that they may not stay with one organization all thru life and their growth and development is best insurance for staying relevant in job market.

The next generation on the job market are Gen Z. This generation also values personal growth and development. They have grown in new digital age. They are more comfortable with changing technology and social media than previous generations. They are also the first Generation who have been grown in a connected globalized world. Hence, Gen Z is more diverse and inclusive compared to previous generations and has a strong emphasis on social justice and equality. They have heightened sensitivity about issues such as climate change, racial justice, and gender equality as they feel this affects them directly.

Organizations will need to adapt to their unique needs and preferences to attract and retain top talent aligning with their values around social justice, environmental sustainability and accelerating Digital Workplaces.

The future Core Values to considered for adoption for any organization are likely to be -Digitalization, Sustainability, Dignity.

Digitalization has already improved the growth of human potential through the democratization of knowledge. Online courses, tutorials, and educational videos, provide people with opportunities to expand their knowledge and improve their skills in formerly inaccessible areas. Indian Oil is well placed in same as a leading in-house E- learning Content provider in “Swadhyaya”. Suitable framework needs to be in place to further integrate the online web resources. We need to make crucial journey during other aspects of digitalization with robust cross functional design thinking.

Sustainability will improve growth of human potential by further promoting innovation and creativity. New technologies, processes, and products will transform society and create new opportunities for growth and development of Human Potential. Indian Oil as a leading energy provider will need to tread the path sooner than many other organizations. Part of the challenge will be attracting the best talent to and have a well-articulated vision and plan.

Human dignity refers to the inherent belief in worth and value of every human being. It is the understanding that that respect due to them simply because they are human. By upholding the dignity of all, an environment in which everyone can reach their full potential is realized. Indian Oil as an equal opportunity employer is well placed in this regard. As marketplace becomes ever more competitive and era of viral news, tweets and WhatsApp becomes a norm, effectiveness from stakeholders as well as novel steps for equity for them will need to be ensured.


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