Hi there everyone, this is Tom Hallett from the Learn Grow Succeed Podcast.
I read the other day, in Harvard Business Review, that changing company culture requires a movement, not a mandate.
They’ve got it spot on.
You can devise any number of plans for change, but without everyone signing up to them, zilch will happen.
Company culture is so important – I can’t stress just how much… It’s the essence of your business. It dictates whether or not you will achieve your ultimate goals.
With that in mind, how long it is since you last reviewed your own organisation’s culture goals? Maybe you need to tweak ideas to reflect your values – or maybe you need a total overhaul?
While changing company culture can sometimes feel like the seven labours of Hercules, bear in mind that you can take small steps to implement big changes – and those changes will see increased growth and revenue for your organisation.
So many of my clients ask about company culture – what they currently understand about the phrase, how their organisation runs and how they could improve culture in their workplace – I thought it would be interesting to talk about how to implement a culture shift in your organisation in today’s podcast.
But I’ll get into that in just a moment.
First, though, if you are new here… welcome!
By the way, you’ll always find a transcription of our podcast over on the Excel Communications website.
Which is also full of resources to help you develop your leadership capability.
Over the last few years we’ve run many leadership webinars and if you would like access to these please visit https://www.excel-communications.com/wr
Company culture – what’s yours like? We hear a lot about ‘culture in the workplace’ bandied around – it’s the latest buzzword. But culture is the key to enabling your company to adapt and innovate.
It’s something dear to my heart at the moment as we have been developing our own culture here at Excel to the next level too.
Having a great company culture really means having a place where all employees feel valued, part of the team, equipped with the tools to do their job well, with friendly colleagues and a clear career pathway available to them.
Not much to ask really, is it? Especially if you want your employees to stay with you, and your business to thrive.
Do you need to create a shift in culture in your organisation to allow you and your team to flourish and prepare yourself for the new decade we now have to navigate?
If you aspire to change for the better – you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a process that will help you!
Where do you start with company culture and the best ways to shift yours for the better?
Well, there are three easy steps to follow to change organisational culture – for the better – and here they are:
1. Check your current culture
What does your current company culture look like?
Take a look around the workplace. Are your teams happily working together, listening to each other and coming up with ideas and suggestions?
Do they know what your company mission is, and does it align with their ideals and aspirations?
What are the most important values that you want to achieve?
By the way, it’s also worth asking yourself here, if these values are all that important what’s holding you back from achieving them in your current company culture?
How will a culture shift help grow your business and benefit your employee and stakeholders?
Answering these questions will help you focus on the tangible benefits of a culture shift.
2.Where do you want to go?
So, what does your ideal company culture look like?
Once you’ve thought about what you’d like to achieve, you’re going to need a plan!
Your plan will cover what your ideal culture looks like and the milestones to achieving it.
What support will you need to achieve this culture? You’ll need everyone on board, so planning how you will communicate your vision is paramount.
What procedures need to be put in place to help make the change?
For example, rewriting job descriptions to focus on specific traits you would like in your team. These could include a passion for collaborative working, enthusiasm for initiative and innovation, ability to work with different cultures, embracing diversity and appreciating differing ideas and beliefs.
By specifying the traits and company ethos going forward, you will be more likely to recruit new talent to your team who will be a great fit into your preferred culture – meaning a happier team overall, better productivity and fewer staff leaving you.
3. Change behaviour
This is possibly the hardest step!
In order for the change to happen, all of your team will need to embrace the concept – that’s everyone from the temp receptionist to your CEO.
Without employee buy–in – nothing is going to happen.
So, how can you ensure your employees are on board with your idea for change?
Culture shift doesn’t happen by mandate. It’s crucial to have the backing of your management team – great leaders change first – and so the leaders in your organisation need to embrace the changes before expecting their employees to do so.
To be successful, culture needs to be on boarded by everyone as “the way we do things around here.”
Additionally, training will enable you to communicate the changes and allow a clear understanding of what behaviour and adaptations are expected.
You might want to consider introducing mentoring into your organisation to allow individuals to make the changes you want.
The thing is, mentoring can help improve staff morale, performance and motivation as well as providing coaching skills in managers.
Mentoring also enables the development of personal and professional growth, adding to the cultural shift for your company as a whole.
Making It Stick
Sustaining change is hard: think of your last New Years’ Resolutions!
You get the idea!
So, to make your cultural shift work long-term, there are some key steps you can take that should ensure things keep ticking over in the right way.
Do you need to move people? If you are rearranging teams – then it‘s imperative that those who work together need to be physically placed near each other. Collaboration and a sense of team spirit will flourish if teams are close enough to be able to discuss ideas easily.
Be mindful of your teams’ preferences – while some may enjoy the office chat and camaraderie of an open plan office, others may prefer to have a quiet space where they can focus on work.
So ideally, an open space with separate meeting or workstations is ideal. Having the option to get together or work individually will benefit all your employees, and they will appreciate the options available.
Reward good work. Nothing beats reward for motivating a team. It doesn’t have to be financial or a gift – sometimes a simple recognition, a thank you, is enough.
Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and recognition of your employee’s good work will fire their enthusiasm and commitment to the organisation.
Review processes and procedures. It’s wise to check in regularly to ensure that the new systems and idea you’ve put in place are resonating with your staff and that everyone is still pulling in the same direction.
Tweaks may be required, but if you have the basics in place, you should see growth in productivity and better staff retention. After all, a happy workplace is better for business.
Communication. As part of your review procedure, ensure that conversation is two way and transparent. Everyone should have the opportunity to voice their opinions and ideas in a supportive environment.
That way, not only do employees feel heard by management (and, by the way, being listened to really does make a positive difference in workplace culture) but allowing this sort of freedom is ideal for fostering innovation.
Conduct stay interviews. These are such an amazing idea; I’m surprised not everyone implements them. A stay interview is simply a set of structured questions delivered in an informal conversation with an employee where you ask them why they stay with your organisation. For example, what is it about working there that they like?
From the answers you get, you can build on what’s working well (and what could be improved).
The bottom line for implementing a cultural shift is that you and your employees need to unlearn past behaviours to adopt new ones. With clear communication, leadership by example and rewards along the way, you can shift your organisation into a culture of inclusion and productivity where everyone feels valued and respected.
And that can only mean benefits to the organisation going forward.
Until next time!
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