When we set out to create the QuestionPro Workforce culture management platform, we made some explicit commitments to one another and our clients. These have become non-negotiable for us since then.
There are a lot of organizational culture management platforms that offer culture tools that are frankly employee engagement, satisfaction, and sentiment analysis surveys disguised as culture assessment tools. Many of them are flashy- nice buttons, bells, whistles. That’s fine, and there is a place for that kind of stuff.
But after spending 25 years watching organizations throw a lot of money at these bells and whistles, it was important to me and QuestionPro Workforce to do something more to help the organizations.
There are millions of tools on our planet that help us get data on our workforce and our workplaces, but there are actually very few that speak about something meaningful and insightful that spark energy, commitment, and accountability around the data collected; something beyond measuring scores and hoping it will get better with each passing year. So one of these non-negotiables for us is:
The QuestionPro Workforce Platform must help organizations get and STAY intentional about managing their workplace cultures.
Well, the “get” part is always easier. We all have the best intentions; we all want to drive real and permanent changes that last forever. We all start with high energy and zeal any important initiative might demand from us. But on our way we get distracted, we get pulled away in different directions.
Commitments and priorities pull us back, and everything becomes simply too much. Yes, it is indeed the “STAY” part that becomes much more challenging. While working with organizations, we have understood that staying intentional about culture management takes attributes like:
- Stewardship – The age-long debate over who owns culture is over! All own culture, don’t do it alone. If you are able to create shared responsibilities around culture and managing it, you will not only give you a sustained momentum, but you will also be able to increase employee inclusion, connection, and engagement.
- Methodology – You don’t have to wing it, simply pick a method that works for you, one that your team, your employees understand and can relate to, one that heightens visibility around this work and infuses accountability around results.
- Patience – You need to know, this takes time. You have to start somewhere, but don’t just give up too early. Real and permanent culture changes don’t happen overnight, but if you are persistent, it eventually takes root. The success of culture is based on every employee’s participation in making it strong, positive, and all-inclusive.
The three Ps of Culture Management
In this world of fast-changing economies, drastically changing the work environment, business potential, and more organizations need a culture management platform that addresses core aspects of an organization’s culture and quickly adapts to the changing time.
There are three touchpoints that we have identified to guide an organization’s culture to grow. We call them culture elements and they are as below:
- People – Culture is by the employees when it comes to a more productive set of employees studies suggest employees when mingling well with each other are happier and better motivated. This speaks for the national culture of an organization. Gallup has reportedly found out that organizations that facilitate a friendly atmosphere are 50% more successful than their competitors. When bringing on new employees, look for people who can fit into your culture, contributing to making the workplace more positive.
- Purpose – With the ever-changing dynamics in the world of business, changing CEOs, employees, the one thing that needs to remain constant is an organization’s purpose, why are we all here? Having a goal is the sole reason an organization is in business. It goes beyond making money. Deep-rooted belief in an organization is the main reason employees stay in an organization. This talks much about an organization’s culture.
- Perception – There is one important question organizations ask their employees, employee Net Promoter Score question, How likely are you to recommend your friends/family to work in this organization? How favorably an employee sees their organization, speaks a volume about culture. It is often proof of having an awesome organizational culture. The best hires usually come by reference, and for that to happen, the employees should perceive the organization likewise. Do your employees feel proud of the culture? Honestly, they will only recommend others if they are happy themselves.
Why should you start focussing on culture management?
Culture is defined as the set of actions, words, behaviors, values, processes, and beliefs that make an organization. Organizations now understand that culture directly affects their employee processes. They are now taking actions, implementing new initiatives to improve their workplace culture. Here are the top 3 reasons why you should focus on culture management.
- To be aware and measure effectiveness: Culture management starts with measuring and understanding your organization’s culture. Let’s just say you measure your marketing campaigns and tweak it accordingly for effectiveness, similarly, you should also assess your culture to know if it is effective or not. By measuring certain important traits you can understand your strengths and pain area and change with time.
- Everyone needs to participate: It is often a misconception, culture often starts at the top. No handbook says that the CEO is responsible for developing a great organizational culture. Company culture needs to be owned by all. Employees need to be empowered to take ownership of the culture and to develop it together. It cannot be something that only human resources drive.
- It’s a continuous learning process: The desired culture requires iterations; you might not get everything right in the first attempt, there might be something that will work, and some that may not. With culture management, you can proactively learn from your mistakes, refine, and change. Cultures include many elements and hence, take time to perfect. Encourage your employees and make them understand that we are all in this together, even if you can’t improve everything in the first attempt.
How can you manage work culture?
Managing work culture is easier said than done. It’s not a quick fix, nor is it simple. It is important nonetheless, for it impacts your employee experience, employee engagement, staff morale, workforce productivity, intent to stay, etc. We’ve laid out some steps for you that will help manage workplace culture in your organization.
- Let leaders lead by example: A good workplace culture will only flourish and sustain if management and other leaders are committed to it. Without management efforts, it may run out of momentum or will be a failed initiative. Employees are observant of and look to emulate leadership behaviors. They have to lead the charge so that employees can follow suit. Everybody needs to contribute to good workplace culture, but management can certainly lead by example.
- Conduct regular forums: Set up meetings or sessions, meet with your employees, and meet with people across all departments. You must interact with all leaders, managers, etc. across all departments. Use these to gather inputs, recognize and celebrate employee achievements, understand what’s affecting the workforce positively and negatively, etc. Use this avenue to conduct discussions that will not happen in regular meetings.
- Build teams: A positive workplace culture cannot be achieved with singular effort. It is a team effort. You can set up teams, and you can have the team members look at new ideas, concerns, training, consulting, etc. when it comes to workplace culture management. You can train the team, and the team can drive all activities. Recognize your culture champions, add them to the team. This should complement your efforts.
- Be proactive: It does not help to make changes or modify your people management processes only when issues have arisen. You need to proactively monitor culture management processes and employee operations, be cognizant of the issues faced by them, to improve your organizational work culture. It’s ideal to reach out to employees, meet with them, understand what’s working for them, what’s bothering them, etc.
What are the benefits of a strong and positive work culture?
It has been observed that organizations with a positive and strong culture perform better than organizations that do not. Here are the top 3 benefits of strong and positive workplace culture.
- Talent: You attract and hire good employees that stay for long with the organization. It helps organizations improve employee experience and workforce engagement and arrest workforce attrition. If employees don’t like or appreciate your culture, they will be disengaged and will eventually exit the organization. Good workplace culture reflects positively on corporate culture, it ensures employees will be treated with respect, fairness, etc.
- Engagement: Employees are willing and excited to come to work if they appreciate your organization’s workplace culture. These are your engaged workers, and they are highly productive. They are team players and are aligned with company goals. They help attain business objectives.
- Performance: Strong and positive work cultures improve employee performance. A workplace culture liked by the employees improves their productivity and morale, boosting their employee performance. These employees are high performers and the highest contributors in meeting organizational goals and revenue.