What are one or two things businesses should be doing to invest in their culture?
There are literally thousands of articles, blogs, resources, videos and tools that can claim to tell you all the “tips and hacks to having a great organizational culture.” The reality is, that unless someone knows you, your team, and your organization well, it’s really hard to tell you exactly what you should be doing, or not doing to implement the type of culture you want.
When it comes to culture, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but – there are a few key things that we think every organization should do (and we’ve worked with hundreds of businesses of all shapes/sizes), in order to invest in their workplace culture.
First and foremost, if you are going to make any intentional and sustainable improvement to your culture, you have to have the RIGHT TEAM. One of the best ways you can do that is align expectations, vision, and priorities when it comes to culture.
Second most important – before any of the items we list below is the RIGHT MINDSET. None of this works, unless you do. Which means you and your team have to be in the right mental space to undertake a process of change.
This mindset is one of willingness to adopt new processes, willingness to challenge, and be challenged by each other, and one of humility to embrace accountability.
There’s not many things that a good team who is aligned in vision, creates clear expectations for their work, and is passionate about learning and growing their culture can’t accomplish.
We’ve worked with hundreds of businesses and while we take an intentional and bespoke approach to each one, here’s a few baseline things that every organization should be doing.
1: Use engagement surveys to gather data!
Every organization should be doing some level of engagement survey annually, because you have to know your benchmarks for culture change. You have to really get input from your team members on how they feel change is going. It then creates a line of communication between you and your team, promoting engagement in the future
Pro-tips: engagement surveys should be contextual, and specific to the organization or business. Additionally, you will want to measure things like trust, belonging, communication, and connection/relationships.
We build and adminster our engagement surveys on the three dimensions – personal, professional, potential; of a healthy culture. Measuring specifics in each of these areas give us key insight that we can then dive deep one.
Another pro-tip: many organizations will receive their survey results and say, “this is great, 71% of people would say their communication at work is excellent or above average.” However it’s important to go deeper and then ask follow-ups through direct meetings or through topical pulse-check surveys and seek out specific points of feedback that contribute to the team rating communication so high.
Without the specific and contextual feedback, even in the good areas, you won’t be able to articulate, promote, or sustain the activities that are contributing to success.
2: Find those trusted colleagues that others go to for help, and activate them as agents of change.
So if you’re doing engagement surveys every year and there are new issues popping up, who are those trusted people within departments on the bottom floor that people can trust and go to express concern? Most people have frustrations that never bubble up to senior leadership and then senior leadership is surprised with issues they’ve never heard about. So you have to have somebody that is out there building trust with individuals daily. Someone that is not planning the birthdays or the pizza parties, because those are just surface level things. Someone who is the changemaker and initiators of the culture conversations.
One of the biggest opportunities in businesses today is what they do with “culture committees”, or “culture ambassadors”. These should be highly selective roles, and should be people who are both high-performing, and high-influence, or high-impact.
The intersection of these things creates opportunities where not only will you see greater efficacy in team to team member coaching, but also will give you a clear cut pipeline of internal team members who have high potential for leadership capabilities.
On the flipside of that, the biggest advantage a business can have when talking about engagement survey results and progress is perspective.
3. Broadcast your results, and talk about your progress
Let’s say you have 100 items that come out of an engagement survey with your team, and realistically, no one expects all 100 things to get done over that next year. But because we are human beings, we tend to look at what’s wrong right now. They forgot about what happened three months ago, four months ago.
And so when someone complains about something new, they tend to forget the current objectives put in place by their leadership. So as leadership, you say, “Here’s the things that we have done and are committed do completing this year.”
It’s the reinforcement and awareness for culture change. This makes a culture liaison far more important than a middle man of problems. It makes them a cornerstone of change.
If you’re interested in some way to make your organization’s culture better, and you are willing to put time and resources behind these efforts, you need to walk through the process with a trusted team who’s sole focus is supporting your efforts and providing you with the skills and tools you need to be the most effective leader of change that you can be.
Get in touch with the team at Think 3D Solutions and one of our Culture Coaches will help you navigate a plan to elevate your culture.