Tag Archive: Culture Change

  1. Workplace Culture: 6 Common Misconceptions

    Workplace culture is critical to success. That’s what forward-thinking business leaders began to realize in the 1990s. Today, businesses that don’t prioritize workplace culture are falling behind.

    The idea of cultivating workplace culture for a competitive edge has become a top priority in talent strategy, and it’s a trend we’re seeing across industries. But, even with a heightened focus on workplace culture, it’s still widely misunderstood. Here are the 6 most common misconceptions about workplace culture:

    1. Pay and perks drive culture

    Workplace culture is all about the social systems that influence behavior within your organization. Every company has a culture, even scrappy start ups that can’t yet offer competitive pay and perks. (What companies like this can offer is the chance to be a part of something unique and meaningful.) Pay and perks are important, but so are other elements of culture, like company traditions, opportunities for growth, and how you involve employees in your company’s mission and purpose.

    2. The more employees, the better the culture

    When we think of strong cultures, we think of big, successful companies like Amazon and Google and Netflix. But size doesn’t make a company successful. Culture does. Culture is the catalyst that accelerates the growth and success of a business, which is what ultimately propelled Amazon, Google, and Netflix into elite status. Culture can also have the opposite effect, stunting your growth, or becoming severely disjointed or diluted as you grow.

    3. Emulating a strong culture will make our culture strong

    Many business leaders are hoping to emulate cultures like Amazon, Google, or Netflix in order to achieve success. Borrowing a practice here or there is not a bad thing, but trying to be “the next Amazon” is sure to backfire. Amazon’s culture works because the company has systems in place to attract, select, and retain people who share their values and will thrive in their work environment. Your job to understand and cultivate your company’s unique workplace culture.

    4. Culture is what is. We can’t control or manage it

    It’s true that culture is deeply rooted and slow to change, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take action to influence or improve your culture. Companies that don’t manage culture end up with cultures that manage them. In fact, an un-managed culture can undermine your ability to execute business strategy. If culture management is new to your organization, start by making culture part of the conversation, and carve out time on a regular basis to talk about culture as a business goal.

    5. Reestablishing culture is too costly and takes too much time

    Reestablishing culture is a big undertaking, and it won’t happen overnight. But what’s the alternative? A strong culture is critical not only to your company’s success, but also to it’s survival. If culture is misaligned or hindering your growth, then you must make the investment. Even if your company has a strong culture, watch out for culture shocks, like hyper growth, a merger, or an organizational restructure, after which you may need to reestablish your culture.

    6. Non-work activities like ping pong are fun, but we can’t afford to lose productivity

    Company traditions are an important aspect of culture. Traditions bond employees together and give them the chance to interact with culture in a more tangible way–and the stronger the culture, the higher the productivity. But, that doesn’t mean you need to buy ping pong tables for your office. In fact, don’t buy ping pong tables if you’re doing so to emulate another company’s culture. Instead, come up with traditions that reflect your company’s unique culture and values.

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    To learn more about culture change, culture shocks, and culture management best practices, watch our webinar on demand: How to Manage Your High-Growth Culture.

  2. Culture Management Strategy: 6 Signs Your Company Needs One

    Your company may need a culture management strategy.

    A culture management strategy will benefit your business even when things are relatively stable. But, you will definitely need a strategy to keep your culture strong through growth, mergers, leadership changes, and other tough transitions. Here are 6 common culture shocks that can derail your business, and tips for managing through them:

    1. A merger, acquisition, or restructure

    Nothing causes culture shock quite like this. For employees going through a merger, acquisition, or organizational restructure, it can feel as if the rug’s been pulled out from under them. So many things change, and changes happen fast. To emerge with a stronger culture, rather than a discordant culture, you need a culture integration strategy. This involves highlighting and understanding all the cultural dynamics at play. A culture measurement tool can help you see the cultural impact of the changes you’ve made, and identify key differences between your different operating groups. Over time, you’ll be able to measure the progress of culture integration and take steps to support a strong company culture, as well as strong subcultures.

    2. Change in leadership or organizational strategy

    Leadership sets the tone for organizational culture. When there are changes at the executive level, culture shifts often follow. To proactively manage these shifts, business leaders needs a way to assess their current culture, and track progress toward their new cultural vision. A culture measurement tool can compare the executive team’s aspirational culture to the current culture (as experienced by employees) to identify areas where the greatest shifts need to occur. Measuring the culture fit of candidates is also essential—you’ll be able to see how new hires will help move you toward your desired culture, rather than keep you in the past.

    3. Hyper growth

    Culture is dynamic, and by constantly adding new employees, organizations can severely dilute their culture. If you had a strong culture before a period of hyper growth, you may find that culture significantly changed, and significantly less effective than it was before. Culture dilution has also proven to negatively effect employee engagement, performance, and retention. So how do you scale your business without deteriorating your culture?  You must have a dedicated effort on reinforcing the values and underlying behaviors that drive success in your company. With a culture measurement tool, you can monitor for culture dilution, see where it’s happening, and identify values that are decreasing in relative importance. It’s also important to measure candidate fit to ensure you’re hiring people who share the values of your desire culture.

    4. Diversity & Inclusion initiatives

    There are many dynamics at play within a culture that can inadvertently undermine your diversity and inclusion efforts. The first step is understanding organizational attitudes toward diversity and inclusion. You can do this by measuring cultural behaviors such as tolerance and collaboration. With a culture measurement tool, you’ll be able to see the relative importance of tolerance as compared to other priorities or values that employees perceive as important in your organization. You can also measure perceptions within diverse populations to see if these groups experience culture differently than others in your organization. Only then can you work to harmonize culture across diverse groups and confirm that your diversity and inclusion initiatives are effective.

    5. Issues with engagement, performance, or turnover

    Culture strength is a direct predictor of employee engagement, which in turn predicts performance and retention. Weakly aligned cultures consistently experience more issues with engagement, performance, and turnover. Whether these issues are pervasive across your company or higher within certain segments of the business, a culture measurement tool can reveal areas of cultural disconnect and help you diagnose the underlying cause. Without visibility, you will struggle to enact positive change. How you hire also impacts on your ability to ‘plug the leak,’ as alignment between personal values and organizational values has proven to enhance engagement, performance, and retention. By measuring candidate fit, you can ensure alignment from the get-go.

    6. Defining or refreshing organizational values

    Because culture is rooted in organizational values, step one of any culture initiative is understanding what those values are. Values set the expectation for how work gets done within your organization, and values drive the behaviors behind all of your business operations. Rather than choosing words simply because they sound important, like INNOVATION or INTEGRITY, use a culture measurement tool to survey employees and see the values that exist in your organization today. Then, use that insight to align your work practices with your existing values, or build a strategy to shift your values. Either way, a bottom-up approach to defining values will foster an environment where employees are more connected to the culture and feel a sense of ownership.

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    To learn more about culture management strategy and best practices, download our infographic: 4 Pillars of an Outstanding Company Culture

  3. Company Culture Handbook: 5 Reasons to Write One

    A company culture handbook is not the same as an employee handbook.

    A company culture handbook goes beyond company policies and PTO. Unlike the employee handbook, which often ends up collecting dust in the back of a desk drawer somewhere, your company culture handbook should be something that employees are constantly interacting with and contributing to. It should fun, engaging, and have information that’s valuable to new hires and current employees alike.

    Think of your company culture handbook as a living, breathing touchstone of your company’s culture – which, by the way, exists in your organization whether you’ve defined it or not. In a recent webinar on How to Measure Your CultureDNA™, culture expert Catherine Spence defined company culture as:

    A social influence system that already operates within your organization. If you don’t manage your culture, this social influence system can actually undermine your ability to effectively execute business strategy.”

    That’s why culture has been getting so much attention in boardrooms around the world. In order to manage your company culture, you first have to understand what your culture is now, and what you want it to be in the future. Writing a company culture handbook is the perfect opportunity to work through these important questions, and in the process, create a valuable document for your organization.

    Here are five more benefits you’ll get out of writing a company culture handbook:

    1. Demonstrate your commitment to creating a strong company culture. 
    2. Clearly define your purpose (the reason your company exists), and the impact you want to have on the world. 
    3. Educate current and incoming employees—at scale!—about the way work gets done in your company. 
    4. Empower employees to make independent decisions that align with your business strategy.
    5. Capture your company’s unique culture, with values and traditions that are true to you (and not adopted just because they sound good)

    Writing a company culture handbook that’s an authentic representation of your culture doesn’t happen overnight. To guide you in this process, check out 7 Steps to Writing a Culture Handbook.