We explain what organizational climate is, its main characteristics, and its importance.
What is organizational climate?
Organizational climate is an organization’s workplace environment and atmosphere which is generated from the collective perception that the members of the organization itself have. It is a phenomenon that arises as a result of several factors, such as culture, internal policies, treatment of employees, and working conditions.
It is directly related to employees' feelings, thoughts and motivations. It is crucial that the organizational climate is good and positive, as it can affect business productivity and profitability, in addition to providing all members of the organization with a better-quality workspace.
Organizational climate is the perception that people have of the organizational culture, that is, of the norms, beliefs and values that govern and give identity to the organization. It is shaped by daily activities, specific events, and problem-solving at the workplace.
An organization that is capable of gauging and analyzing its organizational climate, in other words, understanding individuals and group structures, will be able to measure its impact in order to modify any situation, eventually improving the organization's efficiency.
- See also: Organizational development
Factors influencing organizational climate
Among the main stimuli that influence the organizational climate are:
Adequate physical workspace
It is the workplace or common physical space shared by employees where the organizational climate is built.
- The facilities required by each member to perform their tasks.
- Materials and supplies.
- Other spaces that add value: recreation facilities and contact with nature, carefully-planned decoration in line with the organizational culture, among others.
Human resources care
Human resources is among the most valuable and complex resources that an organization manages, and the one on which its success will depend. It comprises all the workforce in a company, that is, its people.
Medium-sized and large organizations usually have a Human Resources (HR) department made up of specialists in personnel management. It is responsible for managing various staff-related tasks, such as conducting job searches, interviewing candidates, formalizing recruitment processes, dealing with leaves, conducting training programs, and evaluating employee performance, among other tasks.
It is important for a company to perform periodic assessments that allow for gauging and evaluating employee satisfaction, aimed at making decisions that may provide solutions to situations of discontent or lack of motivation.
The way employees are treated by company leadership and the working conditions shape how workers perceive the organization. Employees’ perception is what we call the organizational climate.
Therefore, the performance of the Human Resources department is critical to contributing to a good organizational climate, which ultimately impacts the company's productivity.
Smooth internal communication
Internal communication must be managed by the organization's executive team and executed by work team leaders. Regular and two-way multi-channel contact between the organization's leadership and employees contributes to optimizing problem-solving, bolstering employee trust and commitment, which results in better overall performance.
Management and leadership’s emotional intelligence is key to effectively creating a good organizational climate.
Benefits and rewards
The impact of work on employees’ personal lives is an aspect that large organizations are increasingly addressing, both when recruiting new talent as well as when retaining current employees.
Positive impact on an employee's personal life helps create a bond of trust and loyalty with the organization. The benefits and rewards that an organization offers employees contribute to keeping members motivated. The variety of benefits and rewards a company may offer is very diverse, but is usually closely aligned with the organizational culture.
Some frequent benefits and rewards include:
- Regular training programs for employees.
- Special bonuses based on objectives.
- Non-working holidays.
- Possibility of hybrid work (work model that blends in-office and remote work).
Positive organizational climate
A positive organizational climate generates multiple benefits, such as strengthening work teams, bolstering trust with the institution's external audiences, and boosting the organization’s profits.
The main factors that positively affect the organizational climate are:
- Employee recognition for good performance, by announcing an accomplishment at a company meeting, through a reward, or a recognition incentive.
- Training according to the employee’s specialty and skills which will enable them to climb the company ladder.
- Opportunity for career growth.
- Participation in decision-making with a direct impact on the employee's role.
- Open communication channels and feedback between management and employees.
Negative organizational climate
Negative organizational climate can be due to multiple factors occurring independently or simultaneously. It is important to identify the factors that have a negative impact in order to eradicate them and reverse the situation.
The main factors that negatively affect the organizational climate are:
- Rumors in the workplace, generating confusion and misunderstandings.
- Work overload, leading to dissatisfaction and high staff turnover.
- Lack of attention to needs and conflict situations among employees, resulting in an increase in absenteeism.
- Employee demotivation, leading to a decrease in work quality and productivity.
- Lack of trust in the organization, impacting customers and suppliers who do not receive adequate attention from the organization's representatives.
Importance of the organizational climate
Organizational climate is important as it contributes to optimizing performance and the quality of human resources over time, in order to achieve the organization’s objectives.
The concept of organizational climate was first analyzed in the 1930s, through the study of endomarketing or "internal marketing".
The ground-breaking theories at the time proposed that employees who work enthusiastically and propagate that spirit within the organization and externally create a positive impact on the organization itself.
In the present day, organizations dedicate significant time and energy towards improving the organizational climate. For example: through internal marketing strategies, which contribute to keeping employees informed and strengthening their commitment to the organization.
- "Principles of marketing" Kotler, P., Gary, A., John, S., & Veronica, W. (1999). second European Edition Published. Prentice hall Europe.
- "Fundamentos del comportamiento organizacional" Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2009). 13ra. Edición. Pearson. México.
- "Estudio de medición del clima laboral para la determinación de acciones de mejora en una empresa de manejo de PET" Guevara, M. P. G. E., Velázquez, M. J. A. Á., & Avila, M. B. S. (PDF)
- "Internal marketing" Katie, T. H. (2022). Techtarget.