Has your workplace culture kept pace with the many other changes that have occurred in your business?
To stay competitive, companies have reorganized operations and rapidly digitized work. Through these significant and ongoing transformations, organizations have also experienced shifts in their culture – some intentional and others inadvertent.
Businesses that have been mindful of their ethos have been rewarded. In fact, a Boston Consulting Group study found that companies focused on their workplace environment were five times more likely to achieve breakthrough results in digital transformation than those that did not.
While your initiatives and operations may have taken center stage in the past several months, it is important that leaders take time to make sure that their climate is keeping up so that those transitions stick.
If your company is going through major change, I encourage you to evaluate your workplace culture to establish a better path forward.
Organizational Culture Defined
While there is no one definition, company culture typically refers to the shared values, attributes and characteristics of an organization. It can manifest itself in many ways including the behaviors and assumptions held by team members, their objectives and metrics as well as the artifacts, traditions and stories that are shared.
Ideally, each element is aligned to create an environment that will drive your business toward its vision and purpose. However, when the factors are not attended to, you may find that certain elements are in conflict, which can result in disconnected subcultures and make it difficult to achieve established goals.
How To Audit Your Corporate Climate
With an understanding of the factors that reinforce to your ethos, you can begin your review.
#1 – Assemble your leadership team.
Culture shifts on a large scale will require the buy-in of your CEO, executives and Human Resources leaders. I also recommend that you evaluate the cognitive diversity present in your team. If you find that certain perspectives are underrepresented, you may miss out on important insights. Be mindful to add other influential staff members who can round out the Thinking and Behavioral preferences of participants.
#2 – Review your purpose, vision and values.
As your company has adapted, it’s essential for leaders to revisit your business’s reason for being, its vision and the underlying values supporting it. Determine if these big picture elements still resonate given the future you envision and the operational changes you are aiming to integrate.
#3 – Reevaluate your metrics.
Once you have clarity on where you are headed, you can reassess the objectives you have in place to help you get there. Consider how you are currently measuring success both in terms of your high-level goals as well as department objectives. Identify gaps between today and your desired future state.
#4 – Reexamine your behaviors.
Next, it’s time to analyze the actions that reinforce your values and will help you achieve your metrics. Often, practices may have changed simply because of operational shifts in your business. Be clear about how your values and norms should show up through specific actions and clarify what day-to-day interactions should look like, feel like and sound like to support your desired state.
#5 – Garner employee feedback.
To get buy-in from your broader employee base, ask for their feedback on the metrics and performance standards you have identified to see where there are additional opportunities for improvement. Often, those on the front lines experience culture in a very different way than those in the C-suite, so it can be beneficial to survey staff to uncover gaps between today’s practices and where the company is heading.
#6 – Create your plan.
After formalizing any adaptations to your purpose, vision, metrics and behaviors, it is time to define your approach. Consider how your cultural elements will show up throughout the employee lifecycle, including onboarding, performance management and recognition systems. Be realistic in setting expectations and timelines. Some things – like working on new metrics – are likely to move quickly. Other actions – like adopting new norms – may require time and persistence.
#7 – Check in regularly.
As you integrate new practices and behaviors, ask your employees how the process is going. I encourage you to publicly celebrate successes to reinforce the sorts of actions and activities you wish to see in your organization. Also, connect with managers and employees in the trenches to identify gaps, obstacles and ideas for improvement.
Culture is a living and breathing thing, and it can take on a life of its own if leaders do not nurture it thoughtfully. By taking time to audit and adjust your environment so that it helps you drive toward your desired future, your business can achieve your goals even faster!
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