The turnout for our webinar on Workplace Culture Blueprint was immense enough for us to note that a lot of people were interested in learning about their organization’s culture blueprint and other instrumental aspects related to workplace culture. We did receive questions during the webinar, out of which we decided to answer the frequently asked ones in this blog.

Interested in a quick recap of the webinar? Click here for the webinar recording and slides.

Creating your Workplace Culture Blueprint – Webinar FAQ & Recap

How do you suggest enforcing cultural alignment among employees? Especially those who intellectually “get it”, but just personality-wise can’t seem to follow through? – Maria

As long as you’re convinced that the cultural dynamics you aspire are the right ones for your business, and as long as you define “right” based on what will really drive success for your business, then I’d suggest you remove those employees. If those employees can’t reinforce and clarify your success drivers, then they’re the wrong people for your organization. And that likely won’t change any time soon.

What tactics do you recommend using when you see gaps between what your culture currently is versus what our organization aspires to be? – Susan

First of all, make sure that those gaps are real. In other words, do you think what you aspire to be, is what you really need to be? If you can answer that question in the affirmative, then we’d recommend that you: 1) Establish a group of stewards for culture in your organization – a cross-functional, cross-geographic, cross-demographic representation of your workforce, 2) Charge that team with identifying real and measurable actions for bridging the gap, 3) Prioritize those actions, 4) Start to tackle them one at a time – with visibility and accountability.

Do you recommend surveys be anonymous? – Maria

For any employee survey to be meaningful, you must allow it to be anonymous. That doesn’t mean you can’t promote the importance of openness and transparency in your everyday interactions, but employees must feel protected against office politics, unintended consequences and retribution for speaking their minds. And they are much likely to give you authentic feedback that you can actually do something with. By the way, the best way to ensure anonymity and confidentiality is to partner with a third-party in conducting your surveys. It’s worth the small investment and it heightens the validity of the data and results.

Example of culture – it doesn’t take any budget to NOT value (or focus) on things like clock-watching and vacation shaming. THAT is also very much culture. – Kevin

True that, Kevin!

How can we decide between the financial goals of a company vs the culture of the organization? – Ana Laura

If the mission of the organization is not in alignment with the financial ideals of the owner, then either the owner needs to change his/her ideals, or the company needs to change its mission. It’s not always that black and white. Find the commonality between the two (it is likely at least some). But it’s important that what you hold out as your mission is in fact what the company TRULY values. Only then can you start to build a culture that supports it. Otherwise, it’s a lost cause and will likely result in frustration and brand-damage. You can use data to help your owner understand this. It doesn’t have to be about him/her. It can be about what people really experience. That awareness can be enlightening. Our model and approach are all about heightening that awareness.

How to include values in the recruitment process of staff/volunteers?- Filip

If you’re clear on what those values are, then you should explicitly integrate them with your recruiting process. Focus on behaviors and ask the recruit to give you real-life examples of how they’ve exemplified that behavior. They should point to things they’ve done, experiences they’ve had, actions they’ve taken that very much look, sound, and feel like those desired behaviors. But you have to be clear on what those behaviors are. So don’t just say we’re looking for someone who is “selfless”; rather, take time to define what “self less” really looks and feels like in your organization (behaviors).

When understanding ‘what is’ how can we differentiate between self-reported behaviors and ACTUAL behaviors… – what people really do vs what they say they do? – Caroline

Ask people to tell you what they experience in the context of your business. Put it on a scale (usually ranging from 0-10). Don’t ask people to tell you what they do, ask them to tell you what they experience…or how much they experience certain behaviors (those that you desire more of). It’s important that you survey the entire population and it’s important that you gain statistical significance (we use 95% confidence level with no more than 3% margin of error). If you have that significance, you’ll naturally weed out people who are not being totally honest. Also, use a third-party to help you gather the data. That will heighten the anonymity and confidentiality of the survey itself, which will lead to more authentic responses.