Every organisation has its culture. A business’ culture refers to the shared values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that characterise how people within the organisation interact with each other and work towards a common goal. A disgruntled workforce will not set the foundations for a healthy culture and an unhealthy culture won’t attract or nurture a happy workforce. Excellent renumeration and benefits are all well and good, and certainly will help to attract people, but it turns out that people want a healthy, inclusive culture and a relatable employer too (source: Global Talent Trends 2022-2023, Mercer). Yet this is not something that can be built overnight. To build and maintain a genuinely great organisational culture, you will need to deliberately develop and implement cultural transformation strategies.
Here we will explore cultural transformation and look at 5 steps to successful cultural transformation in your organisation.
What is Cultural Transformation?
Cultural transformation is the deliberate and systematic change in the beliefs, values, attitudes, behaviours and practices that shape an organisation’s culture. It is a process of building an awareness of your organisation’s core values, identifying ways you are not in alignment with those values and developing actionable plans to encourage the adoption of any necessary change. According to Mika Psyllaki, Managing Director at Perform HR:
“A successful cultural transformation will change the way your employees think, act and deliver your products or services to your customers, and it will be entrenched into every single interaction your employees have with your customers, from initial contact to the final transaction.”
Before you even consider embarking on a cultural transformation, it is essential to understand where you are right now and where you want to be in the future. Assessments and diagnostics can tell you where your company actually is, rather than where you think it is. All too often, business leaders have a different perception of their company’s culture than the viewpoints held by employees further down the chain. For this reason, it is vital to collect data and input from every corner of your company, engaging tools such as focus groups, interviews, holding meetings for key players, digital voting platforms and surveys, to help you start your journey towards cultural transformation.
5 Steps to Successful Cultural Transformation in Your Organisation
- Create a Strategy with Your Business Goal in Mind
Now you know where you are and what kind of culture you want, it is time to create a strategy. The best way to do this is to focus on your company’s cultural strengths whilst identifying a few key issues you wish to change. Once you have your points for change, you’ll need to establish some goals and objectives. As with all areas of your business, it’s best to keep them:
- Time bound
SMART objectives will help you be realistic and not overstretch your capabilities. Once you have your key goals, you need targeted interventions to address the behavioural shifts you have identified. Depending on your own goals, these interventions may be formal in nature, such as policy changes or the introduction of incentives to achieve desired results, or they may be more informal in nature, such as implementing informal interactions between managers and employees to drive improved engagement and communication. Including the new behaviours in your performance management systems so that they can be effectively measured and developed is an excellent way to ensure long-lasting improvement and impact.
- Engage Your Workforce
According to Gallup (source: State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report), only 17% of UK employees are engaged in their work. It goes without saying that if you want your staff to fully commit to business wide change, they need ownership of it. Make sure that your employees feel connected to any changes made by asking them to contribute to structural changes. You can achieve this by involving them in the diagnostics, and then by communicating key changes, plans and expectations. Be transparent about changes being made and address any concerns that come up. Clear and honest communication builds trust and engages employees in the process.
- Think About Organisational Fit When Making Hiring Decisions
When a candidate takes a role at a company that shares their values, they’re more likely to be happy and productive in their role – this is a good organisational fit and it happens when someone displays values and beliefs that are compatible with the organisation as a whole. If you are going through a time of transformation, you must take this into account when making hiring decisions, and this can be tricky. Not only must the organisational fit work for you, but you must also take time to explain your plans to any future employees to ensure that your future plans fit with theirs. Speak to us at Perform HR about ways that we can help to ensure that your candidates are a good fit during times of cultural change.
- Address Training Needs
Once you have identified key points to change and you have your people on board, you need to address any training needs. A successful transformation requires buy-in from all your staff. Don’t have people lagging because they need upskilling. Training programs focused on cultural transformation are designed to address various aspects of organisational culture, such as: awareness and mindset, values and purpose, inclusivity and diversity, communication and collaboration, and continuous learning and improvement. To ensure the effectiveness of training in cultural transformation, it is essential to tailor programs to your specific needs and goals. Furthermore, ongoing support, coaching and mentoring through follow-up sessions are crucial to sustaining the desired cultural changes.
By investing in training for cultural transformation, businesses can build an adaptable and resilient workforce. This in turn will foster a culture of innovation, collaboration and inclusivity, ultimately driving the organisation’s long-term success.
- Track Progress
Tracking the progress of cultural transformation in business is essential to ensure that the desired changes are taking place and to identify any areas requiring further attention. Here are some ways to track your progress:
- Conducting regular employee surveys and gathering feedback provides valuable insights into employees’ perceptions and experiences. You can design questions to gauge employees’ understanding and alignment with your organisation’s values, their satisfaction with the changes made and any suggestions for further improvements. Analysing survey results over time can help identify trends and areas for further action.
- Establishing relevant KPIs allows organisations to measure the impact of cultural transformation on business outcomes. Regularly tracking these KPIs will provide quantitative assessment of the effectiveness of your cultural transformation.
- Successful cultural transformation relies heavily on managers driving the desired changes. Regularly evaluating leadership effectiveness and management practices will help to understand the extent to which leaders are reinforcing the cultural changes.
- Perform HR can carry out regular ‘Cultural Audits’ for you, which can provide thorough assessment of your business’ current culture and its alignment with the desired transformation.
- Finally, regular and transparent communication about the transformation journey is vital. Progress updates and milestones should be communicated to keep employees informed and engaged. Open forums for dialogue can provide an opportunity for employees to share their experiences and concerns, and to make suggestions for improvement.
It is important to note that cultural transformation is a complex and long-term process. Tracking progress should be done consistently over time to capture changes and make necessary adjustments along the way. Flexibility and adaptability are key as the organisation learns from feedback and refines its approach to cultural transformation.
For support with cultural transformation and strategies in your organisation, get in touch.