Niyati Goel on the Importance of Organization Design for Workplace Culture

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We interviewed Niyati Goel, the Sr. Manager Global Compensation at “The Hershey Company” where she discussed the importance of organization design and how it results from two things- business strategy and organization culture. We also discussed that inclusivity at the workplace should be about finding similarities in the people you work with, irrespective of different backgrounds and cultures.

A certified SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources),  Niyati has worked with brands such as Mondelez and Air Asia having nearly a decade of experience across various FMCG industries. 

She managed the HR functions across all verticals and has worked in Singapore, Malaysia, Middle east and the United States in FMCG, travel and tech domains. She comes from an engineering background with a Masters of Business Administrations (MBA) in Human Resources from XLRI.

Niyati is a keynote speaker across several HR Forums covering the Asian Pacific region and is a volunteer for the cause of child education and literacy. She is recognised among “India’s Top 40 under 40 HR leaders in 2019”, “Best HR Manager of the Year, Malaysia 2019” and “Emerging HR Leader of India by People Matters Business Magazine, 2016.”

Let us walk you through some of the important insights from our interview with Niyati!

Organization design comes out of your business strategy and culture

Niyati suggests that before we go into how organization design is important for culture, we need to understand what organization design really is. In a simple way, organization design and culture is how things get done in an organization.

The organization design comes out of two things: 

  1. What is your business strategy: What do you want to produce, deliver and solve? Who are your consumers? 
  1. The organization culture: To an extent, it is a derivative of the culture  based on how you get things done, which kind of market you operate in.

Let’s say you operate in a very dynamic market, your structure needs to ensure that delivery. Thus you need to probably have a very simple or non-hierarchical structure where the information flow and employee duties are performed quickly to deliver their goals.

But if you work in a highly structured environment, say in the legal field, your structure needs to match the delivery you’re trying to achieve as an organization. So to a certain extent it is a derivative. Therefore, your organization design comes from your updated business strategy. 

Keep the communication chain as short as possible

Niyati derived an analogy from a game called Chinese Whisper which focuses on the importance of the right kind of communication.  

So, one learning from this particular game is that the more you de-layer the communication, the easier it is. We can simplify communications and avoid misunderstandings by keeping the chain as short as possible. And this is one of the ideas from an organization design point of view. There are indeed multiple other ideas on how you can avoid misunderstandings in virtual communications. A call is better than a text, a video is better than a call. Hence, face to face interaction is still better than all of the three. And these opportunities and forums need to be created among team members.

Understanding the real meaning of inclusivity at the workplace

Niyati shares that we must know that the world is more similar than different. The more we consider it different, the more we step away from reaching the language of inclusivity. However, of course, there are few differences, some very tangible ones. For example, time zones or language. Some intangible differences could be ways of working that are not immediately identifiable in an online working model. In the same way, there are some tangible and intangible similarities as well. So, if you recognize these two and start with the similarities first, you will be able to achieve your goal.

Also, inclusion on a tighter scope revolves around bringing it down to a specific level. For example, within a certain country, you have people who have different needs and different family backgrounds. Other things include access to the internet, having a home office, etc. Hence, it is important to segregate two things: one is the must have levers to deliver your job right.

So, an employee has to figure out what are the must-haves to deliver results. Understanding his/her goals,  having access to the internet for roles that have already migrated virtual can be examples of must-haves. But it is necessary to understand that the employee should have a clear understanding of the colleagues, manager, and their duties throughout the year. Without having a good understanding of it, facilities like internet access, home setup, etc. won’t be useful.  

Follow Niyati Goel on LinkedIn

Priya Bhatt

I cover Employee stories at Springworks.

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