We all know that companies that have actively defined their culture outperform their competitors. However, building a culture that engages employees and resonates with prospects and customers is no easy task. Transforming culture requires the executive team to take stock of where the organization is today, understand how and what they need to do to transform it, and then dedicate their time and resources to actively monitoring it moving forward.
When you look at it through the lens outlined above, it’s easy to understand why the majority of organizations have not invested the time and energy into actively managing their culture. Most executives think their culture just happens, which is the last thing you should want, or that it’s already strong due to a lack of critical feedback.
You could argue that transforming culture is the most important strategic initiative any organization can undertake. A strong culture keeps employees engaged and productive, which in turn keeps customers happy, which leads to positive word of mouth and more customers. The bottom line and the top line are impacted by a positive culture.
Not knowing where to begin can be a deterrent to transforming culture. Instead of putting the idea on the back burner, a recent feature from Gallup provides an outline to transform your culture through four stages that help you create the culture you want and just as importantly, make sure employees understand, embrace, and exemplify the culture.
The results they see with their clients back up their recommendations
- Employee engagement increased 50 points over three years
- In a three-year time frame, their workforce grew by 25%
- Over five years, net profit increased by 85%
- Patronage was up 138% over a five year period
Define Your Culture
It begins with your mission, vision, and brand values. Have you defined these? Are they shared with the entire organization? Are they just words or do you operate according to them? Perhaps you need to revisit them, discuss them with investors, employees, customers, and partners. This is a perfect place to begin transforming your culture by questioning your current baseline and looking for areas of opportunity to improve.
Align Your Workforce
Involving employees in the prior step gives them a voice in the transformation and helps them understand what is expected of them and how they can align to the culture in their jobs and what it means to be part of something that is bigger than themselves. The culture transformation will only work if everyone believes in it and models it day to day. Without employee alignment, culture is just words and you won’t see the results you desire. This element cannot be emphasized enough if you want to have a strong culture.
With your new approach to your culture defined and accepted by your employees, it’s time to back it up by modeling the behaviors every day. This may impact existing procedures or policies, and it’s important to share how these changes are manifesting throughout the organization.
Sustain Your Ecosystem
This is the hard part, all the work has been done and everyone is engaged, but now you need to actively maintain the culture. Getting through the process is just the beginning. To be successful, you have to remember that culture is ongoing. This means you have to monitor and keep people accountable to the culture. If over time, you let behaviors or actions slide, you’ll be right back where you were when you started the process. You have to actively oversee your changes and make it part of the leadership team’s responsibilities.
If you have questions about transforming your culture, send us a note. The work we do with our clients is rooted in building and maintaining a strong culture that provides you with a competitive advantage that can’t be copied by your competitors.