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Corporate culture and workforce motivation

Every company lives to achieve goals. It is an integral part of a world out there: markets, socio-economic context, norms, and more.

It has a mission: the reason why it exists. It clearly distinguishes the image of its own future, its own vision. From this derive strategy and results to be pursued.

The company is a complex system, consisting of many factors in continuous interrelation with each other, in dynamic equilibrium: processes, technologies, structures, production systems, information systems, and so on. It is the quantitative component of the company, we like to call it “hard”. Each element feeds the whole and in turn is fed by it, in a holistic view. Coherence and integration. An effective and efficient system, functional to the strategy and objectives.

Everything is kept up and fed by the culture that permeates the company, bringing together the elements that allow it to work.

Corporate culture is the “nervous system”, the connective tissue that holds everything together. Common values lived every day, shared meanings. The established identity that makes the company unique compared to the others. All this permeates behavior and what is seen, is “touched” within the company.

Simplifying: every company has values that integrate its culture and characterize its being in the market and challenging its competitors, its way of dealing with customers and employees.

It is the qualitative component, we call it “soft”: certainly more difficult to grasp, but equally important for success. In fact, everything does not begin and end with the “product” and the “technique” that revolves around it to produce, sell and account for it.

The person inside the company grasps and lives that component in everyday life, to the point of feeling part of it, combining their values with it.

In a virtuous enterprise, the two quantitative and qualitative components must be in coherent balance. Thus value is created, because it allows the alignment of people with the future “to do”.

But who makes this happen? Entrepreneurial and managerial choices. But these choices, who makes them and then who implements them? Who moves all the levers available to the company? People, at every level.

People are the engine, the deep core of every company. They make the success of any organization possible. Each in their own role, with their own responsibilities and with their own skills.

People are not pieces of iron that can be handled at will, but they are vital elements of the organization. They must feel themselves part of it, of its identity, of its daily existence. Taking care of people makes the context engaging from a professional, emotional and relational point of view, motivating everyone towards constructive organizational behaviors, supporting their personal commitment. This maintains and strengthens the cultural and value fabric they share.

Every organization must therefore involve people and tune in with them. It does not mean making indefinite concessions, being one-way do-gooders. On the contrary, it means above all to call everyone to the responsibility of their role.

Some managers prefer to operate only on the “hard” component, with an authoritarian and centralizing leadership style. They regard everything else as useless trappings for idealists. People are considered as mere resources, nothing different from economic ones, raw materials or time. Not an investment but a cost. The managerial iron hand can pay off with results, but only in the short term, because within the organization people obey fear to protect their survival, above all economic.

In our opinion, they are errors, sometimes configured as real biases, which lead to a progressive deterioration of the sense of collectivity and an inexorable increase in those who wait only for the end of the month to receive their salary, without putting enthusiasm in what they do and getting results below expectations. In the long run, the connective tissue, the reassuring identity made up of shared meanings, felt and experienced by everyone, gets depressed and crumbles, and the results will be lacking.

The balanced well-being of individuals, on the other hand (the discovery and rehabilitation of the desire to contribute, beyond the legitimate need to have a salary) contributes to organizational effectiveness and efficiency and productivity. Relying on an aware and participatory community is of primary importance in every company, whatever the size. It becomes a single identity and motivated body, and not a mere sum of persons, each driven only by its own particular usefulness. This is all the more necessary in times of epochal changes and turbulent digital transformations.

Because, in the end, people, unlike other resources, have soul and heart, in addition to the mind. They smile or cry, evaluate, judge. They remember.

At Sand-Up we are strongly convinced of the systemic vision of the company and the absolute centrality of people. So, our commitment is aimed at detecting and developing the level of their motivation within each organization.

Over the years, we have often come across companies where employees can’t wait to go home, refuse their own responsibilities or grumble always talking badly about everyone.

These critical issues need to be managed in a specific way. It is not weakness to deal with interpersonal relationships, emotions, feelings: in short, the more immaterial factors that move the organization. The cult of inflexible materialistic rationality often considers it exactly as a meekness: but, we repeat, it is a reductive vision. By not taking care of these factors, a cold, poorly cooperative or even conflictual climate is generated.

We agree on worldwide research and scientific studies evidences: in every business all this causes demotivation, and makes the organization work badly; it becomes really a cost. On the other hand, treating motivation and well-being generates an economic utility, among other effects. Of course, it takes time: we are dealing with human beings. After all, how long does it take for a seed to turn into a plant?

So how to be agents of change in people’s motivation? First of all, by checking the level within the organization. Then working on according to a precise orientation.

Sand Up joins behaviorism studies with Dora Kalff’s theories of Sand Therapy. It provides an answer to the simple question: how much motivated do people in the company feel? It brings together and uses multiple investigative tools in a flexible but defined pre-established path. Sand Up is based on qualifying and innovative factors: people represent their motivation through the construction of the metaphor of how they feel and live the organization they belong to; they give expression to creative thinking, using their hands and sand; they literally create a world that corresponds to their internal image of the organization and in doing so, through free and creative play, they change it. From inside.

Combining the metaphor with other insights, Sand-Up interprets and measures the fever of the organization and indicates the road map to improve the motivation of its people. It helps its success.

Organizational change is made by people. Fortunately, they are not yet machines for which it is enough to reprogram the operating algorithms. People must be involved, with balance and fairness.

Paraphrasing J. Withmore, “if you treat people like donkeys, they can only work like donkeys”.

The Sand Up Team