5 Guiding Principles to Survive Culture Change

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Company culture is often described as its personality. It is the work environment, the collective air you breathe and most of the time it is enigmatic. Company culture is hard to define but one thing is always true: you know it when it’s good – and you know when it’s bad.

Culture change is a substantial undertaking. Within any business or organization, there is massive inertia and resistance. Add to that the fact that the culture IS the problem, and it’s easy to see why most efforts to change culture fail.

To create fundamental organizational culture change, but you need a committed leadership team, a strong training program, effective communication channels, and a proven measurement tool…and patience. Changing ingrained behaviors is not easy. But if you do it right, your culture can be defined by a culture of connection and measured by things like increased revenue, increased customer satisfaction, and employee retention. Here are some helpful guiding principles to light your path to effective culture change:  

Can We Talk?
Start a real conversation. Discuss culture – and what it means to people – at every meeting with employees at all levels. As leaders, be prepared to do a lot of listening at first. Once you start the conversation, you’ll see leaders and emerging leaders start to create plans and gather ideas.

Take the Pulse
You need real data to make real change. Start with a culture survey and an employee engagement survey. Using the results, you can form a basis of the new culture you want to achieve and identify your company’s strengths and areas that need help.

Prune the Grapevine

To the extent that you can, eliminate gossip and negative water cooler chatter. Get on top of all news and deliver it quickly, candidly, and directly. Instill a culture that doesn’t permit talking about employees without them present. Train leaders and all employees to address each other face-to-face and with respect.

Sell it
Don’t rely on HR to storm the hill alone on culture change. Get your marketing team involved to treat culture change like a campaign. Sell – and educate – employees on your company as if they were prospects or customers.

Kill ‘Em with Kindness
Create a compassion initiative, a practice of empathy. The largest driver of an employee’s engagement is a positive relationship with their manager; compassionate communication is one way to achieve that ideal dynamic. Conduct training that coaches managers on how to create high-quality, compassionate connections with employees. Bonus: Compassion is contagious, so employees are more likely to champion it when they see it in practice.

If you suspect your organizational culture needs a major overhaul, you will need some data to back up that hunch. Give Powers Resource Center a call to help with a cultural survey to see where your business stands.

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