After Jamie Notter, the author of best-selling books “When Millennials Take Over” and “Humanize” and the co-founder of WorkXo shared importance of mapping organizational culture and the eight culture markers around that in the first of the three part of the Culture webinar, he spoke about culture management and understanding of the metric of what your culture is or should be in the second part.
Having spoken about these integral parts of culture, Jamie and I felt that we were missing out on a very important piece from these webinars. So, in the final part of the Culture 2.0 webinar, we spoke about the challenges and opportunities that come with Culture Benchmarking.
What is Culture Benchmarking?
Talking about benchmarking, Jamie said, “Benchmarking is usually spoken about because metrics are never sufficient to be talking positively about culture as there’s always a comparative part involved in perfect culture. But, honestly speaking, one of the key lessons is to benchmark against yourself. Industry benchmarking is a sheer waste of time.”
We discussed on how everyone compares but culture across multiple industries is varied like the software industry is more futuristic while nonprofits and manufacturing industries score the lowest. But, does that matter? Each industry is exactly where they need to be and it’s not practical enough to make important decisions out of comparison.
I agree with Jamie that industry benchmarking is good as long as it’s confined to a corporate presentation but is non-actionable in the real world. If my organization is not as good as the other tech companies, it’s not reason enough for me to change.
If not industry benchmarking, then what?
Jamie shared a case that his organization had managed to explain how benchmarking has to be done. This case was about a fairly small company that had acquired another company which was based out of a different location and it was the first time that they had to manage an office in a different city, which was a big deal for them.
Soon after the acquisition, they mapped their organization’s culture and when they saw the results, they’d score quite futuristic. They had a very strong culture and had a clear idea of what drove their success but the new organization was experiencing culture in very different ways.
The points that worried them were growth, solutions and transparency and transparency, in particular, bothered them the most. This was because, in their organization, they knew that transparency was a hallmark of their culture and they scored 7 on it, which was commendable. The new organization needed to reach that mark but even if the management knew how to do that, they didn’t know how to do it long distance.
Jamie went on to speak about how he and his team designed an action plan to set the needle moving. The organization took some amazingly logical steps like flying their employees back and forth to fill the gaps they were facing. They measured the culture performance of the new organization after a year and it was found that they had successfully closed the gap.
This organization didn’t waste time in comparing themselves with any of the “cool” companies or comparison to any other industry. They knew they had to shrink the gap they’d found in the new organization’s culture and they used the metrics to prove that benchmarking with yourself will be the most effective way to go about it.
Move the right needles – Culture priority:
Jamie discussed about an organization that he worked with where transparency was a grave issue, not because they weren’t communicating with each other but there were too many people involved in the decision making process. As it’s said, too many cooks spoil the broth. Their broth was getting spoiled and their customers were sensing it from the reduced speed at which they were operating.
Jamie and his team developed a set of priorities for their culture. In their own words, they love inclusion, they love everyone to be involved. They had to move their needle on this and come up with a metrics that solves this issue like sending out a survey asking all the employees whether they attended more than one meetings where they need not be present or something similar.
Each employee is different but they should be aligned with the goals of the organization. That drives success!