Time for a culture shift? Try these 5 tips

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Cultural change in any organization must come from the top down. And the adage, “the small things are the big things” applies here when it comes to effecting change in a workplace setting.

While culture can seem nebulous or intangible, it really does matter. Research shows that talent increasingly cares about culture. That said, if you have a strong one, the bottom line will likely reflect those priorities. Peter Drucker made this point clear when he opined, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

Following are 5 success practices for driving a culture change that will stick.

1.  Define a set of desired values and behaviors. This goes beyond a mission statement, which can be viewed as window dressing. Cut the business jargon and come up with behavioral descriptors for each value you define. But don’t stop here. Articulate how those values translate into actionable behaviors at all levels—from entry level staff to middle managers to executives. We do this every month in our internal culture Happy Hour where we celebrate our successes and find ways to improve and offer exemplary client and community experiences on our campus every day.

2.  Go beyond the surface level. Take a hard look at your mission, vision and values. Consider how they inform your HR processes, including hiring, compensation, benefits and professional development. The most employee-centric companies have a seamlessly married and aligned theory with practice, and it shows.

3.  Define the non-negotiables. When contemplating a shift, sometimes it starts with looking at what’s working before examining what needs to be cut. HR has a critical role to play in this period. Determining what’s on the table is particularly crucial during mergers and acquisitions, because the priorities of the two organizations can differ. Also, time is of the essence to obtain post-acquisition merger synergies.

4.  Align your culture with your brand. Culture must resonate with all stakeholders. How does the brand hold up both internally and externally? This is especially relevant in the Age of the Internet when one bad experience can turn into a viral disaster.

5.  Measure it. As the saying goes, what gets measured gets managed. Help demonstrate the effectiveness of your efforts by implementing stakeholder surveys and exit interviews to take the temperature of your culture and NPS (Net Promoter Score) measures engagement/loyalty of your clients and customers. Insight gleaned from these tools can identify gaps between desired and actual behavior and help you determine where to target your efforts.

So, what now? Organizational assessment tools can provide companies and their leaders with essential insights that you need to create and maintain a high-performing corporate culture. As each company is different, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Companies should choose the tools that work best for them and try to see the bigger picture. Consistency is also crucial, regardless of the system you adopt.

Not sure where to start? We offer high impact coaching and mentoring services to pre-identified employees within your organization. Using psychometric assessments, like Gallup and Predictive Index combined with content and resources from Matthew Kelly’s Dream Manager, The NIIC will help you to improve human resources and organizational development talent and functionality to bring out the best in your people. Program duration is monthly for one year.

Call one of our NIIC business concierges for an appointment with a business coach at 260-407-NIIC(6442).


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