Ask anyone what it’s like to work at their company and their answer will usually summarise the culture. Culture is ‘the everything’ of a workplace – shared values and behaviours, ways of working, relationships, purpose, vision, beliefs, working habits and rituals. It’s often intangible. But it’s always important.
With disengagement levels as high as 70%, and over 50% of employees looking for new jobs at any one time, we know that unhealthy cultures can kill brands and businesses. So when a culture goes wrong, or just needs adapting to face new business challenges, how do we make cultural change happen?
Culture definitely eats strategy for breakfast. These days, employees expect a lot from work. They want meaning, authenticity, autonomy, empowerment and the chance to make a difference. These things aren’t always abundant in a traditional, top-down, slow-moving, hierarchical culture.
Lots of organisations are trying to work out how to shift to a healthier culture, where people enjoy their work, feel energised, included, valued and able to bring their best selves every day. They want a culture where people collaborate and thrive. They want to build a sense of shared purpose and encourage innovation, sometimes even disruption. And they understand that creating a great place to work means low sickness, high retention and the ability to attract and hold onto top talent.
Corporate culture change doesn’t happen overnight. You need a fabulous culture strategy, based on robust insight about what the company is currently like to work for, and what will make the biggest positive difference. That’s where customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) come in – they’re the new frontiers of designing culture programmes.
Cultural change management has to be handled in the right way. We can learn a lot from the world of CX when it comes to designing employee experiences – it’s basically taking the principles that help you win and keep customers then putting the same things at the heart of your employee experience. It’s about authenticity. If you ask your people to treat your customers a certain way, it’s only right that they’re treated the same way in turn by their employer. After all, that’s the deal, right? Guaranteed, your people are a discerning bunch. If you really want them to get behind your brand values, they must see and feel the same values every single day as they experience the organisation.
The question becomes: ‘how can we bring our brand promise to life in every touchpoint along the hire to retire journey?’ Get this right and your culture will blossom, flourish and grow in all the right ways, along with your people.
How can you delight your people with something unexpected and meaningful along their employment journey? How do you want to be remembered? Think big… how can you give your people the best employee experience of their working lives?
Remember, this is a virtuous cycle: uplifts in Net Promoter Scores, growth, customer retention and employee retention can all support future investment in the employee experience. And just imagine what you could do with the time and money you’re currently spending on recruitment…
Here are just a few examples of we’ve successfully helped large organisations embed cultural change:
With the best will in the world, even the greatest creative campaign won’t change a culture (and we’ve done a few great ones in our time). Implementing culture change takes the combined efforts of a whole workforce.
That’s why we don’t think of ourselves as culture change consultants. Rather, we facilitate organisational journeys. We always start any culture shift programme by talking to your people – we want to co-create their future employee experience with them one step at a time, asking for their feedback and input at every step.
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