The ethos of your company can be a source of motivation and engagement for your employees. It’s culture that drives how team members behave, align and interact with one another. Culture can explain what initiatives are prioritized in your organization and when and how they get done. It can also help your company recruit and retain excellent employees.
In short, culture can play a vital role in the success or failure of your business.
It’s no surprise then that many executives and leaders are asking how they can maintain their company culture during these unprecedented times. And, I would encourage leaders to think beyond simply maintaining their cultures. I invite them to ask: how do we change it?
2020 has reinforced that successful organizations are the ones who can adapt. We’ve seen companies adjust their structures, change where they work, reprioritize initiatives as well as adapt their business models and goals to navigate today’s difficult business environment. It stands to reason that corporate culture should also evolve.
A recent Gartner survey found that 74% of responding chief financial officers will move some employees to fully remote status if and when physical distancing measures relax after the COVID-19 pandemic. And, as companies have digitized efforts, they are unlikely to fully revert to old ways of working.
If you want your organization to embrace new realities, your culture likely needs to shift as well. While this process cannot take place overnight, it’s imperative to take time to reflect on and adapt your operating norms, values and culture-at-large. Careful consideration will better support your company’s success as well as your staff’s engagement during and after the pandemic.
Six Steps to Adapt Your Company Culture
1. Take an Abstract approach to consider your vision and objectives.
Start with the big picture for your organization. Has 2020 changed what you are trying to achieve in the long-term or caused you to pivot in any way? Even if your vision remains the same, it’s likely that your goals for next year and beyond have shifted. Examine your objectives as well as your high-level strategies for achieving revised targets.
As you reflect on the big picture and the future of your organization, make note of what remains the same, what has changed and what still needs to evolve.
2. Seek input from your employees.
To work toward more Concrete changes, check in with team members to understand what it is that they love about your culture as well as what they’d like to see done differently. Ask about the challenges they are facing as your company has adapted its practices during the pandemic and what they feel they need to be successful in the “new normal.”
Through surveys, focus groups and town halls, you can get a strong sense of what aspects of your culture continue to motivate employees as well as opportunities to evolve.
3. Evaluate your values and norms.
Your values are the core of your culture because they manifest how your employees behave at work. As you review your established norms, consider whether they match up to the evolving vision and goals of your company. Do they reflect what your staff loves about your organization? Can they be adapted to better support the types of things your employees say could be improved upon?
Make note of where there are discrepancies or opportunities to adjust your value statements and norms to better reflect the future of your company and the needs of your staff.
4. Use a WEteam™ (Whole Emergenetics team) to evaluate the data from steps 1 – 3 and identify changes.
While Human Resources teams often lead culture initiatives, your efforts will likely be more effective if you assemble a diverse group to identify and champion change. Include staff with a range of backgrounds and experiences as well as cognitive diversity. By considering diversity of thought, your team will be better able to identify adaptations to your culture that will connect with the preferences and interests of all staff members.
Assembling a WEteam, or a group made up of members with each Emergenetics Thinking Attribute and a range of Behavioral Attributes, can help to ensure you are considering all perspectives in the process. I also invite you to ask a tri- or quadramodal thinker to guide group discussions as their preferences often allow them to serve as natural facilitators.
5. Evaluate your company’s systems to align with your adapted values and norms.
While updating your value statements or vision can influence culture change, it’s important to explore the systems and practices that you have in place to reinforce these behaviors. For example, you may wish to assess your company events, technologies, trainings, performance reviews and recognition programs to identify specific transformations that will better reflect and reinforce any shifts in culture.
Having a clear plan and timeline to make changes to your practices and systems will help reinforce the new behaviors you’re seeking in your company.
6. Roll out updates to staff.
In your rollout plan, communicate, communicate, communicate. Make sure team members are clear on what remains the same as well as what changes you expect to see in your culture. Highlight the adaptations through a number of channels – both virtually/in-person and in writing. Communicate about the changes frequently to help them stay top-of-mind and provide clear timelines for updates to your practices.
By providing context and clarity to staff, you can start to affect a culture shift that will better support your team members and align to the future you wish to bring to life.
While you and your staff may be experiencing change fatigue this year, your culture is not something that you should avoid adapting. If your employees have changed the way they work and your business operations have been transformed, it’s time to be mindful about the evolution of your culture.
By adjusting your practices and norms, you can create a motivating environment that keeps staff aligned to the objectives of your organization. Moreover, by adapting culture in a way that better supports your staff and the interests of each Emergenetics Attribute, you can engage team members, help them feel connected to their work, empower them to collaborate effectively and thus inspire them to contribute to the future of your company.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can engage your staff, download our latest eBook for more tips for Human Resources and Learning & Development leaders. Or, fill out the form below to connect with one of our team members today!
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