Planting the Seeds of Culture Change

By / October 10, 2017

While culture may seem front and center for some of the world’s leading companies, it’s still only catching on with a majority of other businesses. Merely 5-7 years ago, culture was this whisper of a buzzword, starting to permeate into every day conversations.   Now, in 2017- and in the midst of a Millennial-saturated workforce- culture is changing the way CEO’s lead- and companies succeed- left and right. Though, for those accustomed to a different approach, these changes won’t- and frankly cannot- happen overnight. Here’s how to slowly plant the seeds of culture to affect change without disorder and resistance in the workplace.     Express Your Message Though humbling as it may be, this is a crucial step for companies to truly embark on the high task of revamping company culture. It’s important to be transparent in your desire to change- and why it’s necessary. For the benefit of the leadership team, employees and customers, it’s fundamental that everyone understands that a change is slowly taking place to provide a healthier culture for everyone involved.  

Education

With the vast amount of tools, resources and training available, companies need to take a proactive approach to educating their teams for a culture change. This can show up in a number of ways, to help ease your company into these practices:
  • Hiring a consultant to educate.
  • Sharing stories of success and demonstrating what a healthy culture looks like.
  • Holding retreats for team building.
  • Work 1:1 or in small teams to better understand what “culture” is meant to feel like in a workplace. As Richard Campo of Camden Property Trust says, “culture is about how you feel in the workplace that you’re in.”
 

Accountability

Accountability is a 2-step process; first, assessments must become a part of the culture, to be able to successfully gauge the growth- or decline- of leaders and team members alike. The initial assessments would provide baselines without repercussions; however, after time, these reviews would act as a benchmark for the success of both the employees and company. As someone once pointed out to me: “without reviews, complacency breeds.”   Secondly, it’s essential that once the values and goals of a company have been expressed, the training has been done and baseline assessments are available, that leadership actively works to keep the environment on course. Don’t let one or two bad employees sabotage the hard work and dedication of the entire team; instead hold fast to your decisions, standards and guiding protocols to remove the toxicity from your company.   Incentivize Consider using incentives to recognize excellence and motivate others to continue growing the company standards and expectations you’ve set forth. Pairing KPI’s- Key Performance Indicators- with monetary bonuses is typically be the biggest motivator, though people are often surprised how effective simple recognition is as well.   Follow Through Changing culture can take on an energy of its own; the initial stages require intense attention, stimulating excitement and an intimate awareness of actions. However, as time passes, there seems to be a trend of companies decreasing their attention and awareness of the goals.   To combat this, it’s important to keep culture at the forefront of meetings, conversations and every day life. Leaders must lead by example and continue to demonstrate the values of the company. Furthermore, continued training is essential to keep employees engaged in the mission- and understanding the benefits that go with it.   Hire For Culture While culture is slowly being changed within companies with the employees they already have, there’s a major advantage to keeping culture prominent throughout the interviewing, hiring and orientation process. Companies should be looking to hire diverse groups of people that align with the established values- rather than change a person’s point of view after they’ve been introduced.

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