How to Build a Strong Company Culture in a Global Organisation with NTT Data

5 minutes read

Every organisation has a culture, whether it was intentionally or passively created. A healthy workplace culture is one of the fundamental elements of a successful company. In today's global landscape, businesses extend their operations across borders and cultivate diverse workforces. Developing and maintaining a strong culture in this context presents some unique challenges. A positive work environment benefits a company in numerous ways, which is why it is essential to build that culture rather than leave it to chance.  


During our insightful conversation filled with personal anecdotes at the 2023 Top Employers Inspire event, Kim Curley, VP of People & Organisation at NTT DATA, shared valuable perspectives and actionable strategies on the art of crafting and nurturing a strong corporate culture. Kim's role is unique in that she's responsible for NTT DATA's internal change management process and for the organisation's consultancy services in that space, which she called "the personal side of business where all the wonderful messy, human things happen." Experiencing change from the inside and managing it as a third party for other organisations has given her great insight into how to successfully build a strong culture.  


Crafting a Culture 


Like many companies, NTT DATA re-evaluated its priorities and values during the massive societal and workplace changes brought on by the pandemic. Kim explained, "We had been through a tremendous amount of change in the past three years and we wanted to assess what aspects of our culture had weakened that we needed to strengthen." Trust, community, and success were the three values identified through their discussions.  


The next step was deciding how to strengthen those values in their workplace culture. Kim shared that the discussion began with a guiding question: "How do we define these values that make us special and make us a place where people want to come work and a place that clients want to hire?" Three strategies emerged as important aspects of crafting their culture.  


  1. Involve employees in developing initiatives around the three core values. If culture is not built from the ground up, it will be very difficult to enforce it from the top down.  
  1. Create a social accountability contract. Foster a sense of responsibility among employees to embody and uphold the core values. 
  1. Anchor to a career coach model. Resources extend beyond hierarchical, mentor-like relationships to help employees develop across the different roles they hold as consultants and over the arc of their careers.  


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Overcoming Common Challenges 


Changing people's mindsets is one of organisations' most significant challenges when implementing new initiatives. "It takes a tremendous amount of energy not only from the people trying to encourage the change but also from the brave souls trying to make the change. That's always the hardest part, to be a supporter and to step into that new space," said Kim. This process was an excellent opportunity to lean on the social accountability contract and encourage employees to support one another as they adapted.  



Silos are another familiar challenge companies face, and this challenge becomes even more pronounced when a company operates on a global scale. One of the significant problems posed by silos is their potential to impede the growth of a company-wide culture. To confront this issue head-on, Kim's team developed a proactive strategy. She described their process, "We look at what our company values mean for each team. What can be done to make these values come to life in our individual geographies, business units, and ways of working?" For example, the community looks very different for a team co-located in the same geographic area with an office space than for a remote team working from different countries. Community is equally essential in both scenarios, though initiatives to cultivate a sense of community will look very different.  

Organisational Hurdles 

Aligning policies and procedures with company culture is essential to NTT DATA's success. "When you're trying to change culture, one of the things that will trip you up the fastest is if the organisational elements of your business do not support the cultural change," Kim said to elaborate on this point. Changes to a company's infrastructure have far-reaching effects and can either support or hinder how the culture evolves. Therefore, it is critical to be intentional about company policies and structure them in a way that supports the culture.  


Read More: Virtusa's Talent Digital Transformation 


A Continuous Process 


Kim compared their approach to caring for a garden to summarise how her team fosters a strong company culture. "You have to constantly nurture it to help it grow and be very aware of what you add to it," she explained. Ultimately, a positive company culture is a constant work in progress. Although building it requires time and effort, the long-lasting benefits are immense. Low turnover rates, boosted productivity, and high morale are all results that help a company achieve success.  


One of the things I enjoyed most about our discussion was hearing about Kim's personal experience with NTT DATA's cultural changes and how those changes impacted her daily workflow and her relationships with colleagues. I encourage readers to check out our full conversation for even more insights and a personal perspective on what a strong culture can mean to employees. 


Watch the video on our YouTube channel now!

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How to Build a Strong Company Culture in a Global Organisation with NTT Data

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