Written by Professional Academy Guest Blogger - Nicki Hayes
Culture and engagement is the most important issue large organisations face around the world, according to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Report 2015. ‘Organisations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organisational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent,’ the report asserts.
So how do you go about creating such a culture? And is there a one size fits all model or do smaller businesses require a different approach?
The Oxford Dictionary defines culture as “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.” My preferred definition, in terms of workplace culture, is Marvin Bower’s “the way we do things around here.”
Now, “the way we do things around here” may imply that changing an organisational culture is as simple as changing processes and policies. Not so. As executive coach and engagement specialist Erica Sosna points out in her recent HRReview article, organisational culture depends on the traditions and behaviours modelled by senior leadership, which depend on their values and characters. Process and policy alone will not change behaviour, even in the regulatory authority field in which Erica’s firm specialises.
According to Erica, changing a culture requires:
Her approach shares some common themes with Deloitte’s recommendations at the end of the Culture and engagement: the naked organization section of the global report.
Deloitte recommends that global organisations start the cultural shift required to future-proof their businesses by:
The Chartered Institute for Professional Development (CIPD) recognised of the importance of cultural shift in smaller organisations a year before Deloitte’s revelation this summer. Indeed, last June, Dr Jill Miller, research adviser at CIPD, shared with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) a summary of her research into keeping the culture and values of small and medium sized businesses alive.
Her tips were:
Of course not! Every business is unique, regardless of size. Having said this, there are common themes in the above examples. Further research and my personal experience suggest these are universal.
Indeed, like most things in business (and life), making change happen requires:
Business writer and mentor Mike Pegg captures this brilliantly with his approach to creating workplace cultures. I have personally witnessed this framework succeed within organisations of all sizes, from small digital marketing agencies to UK based retail chains and global IT infrastructure suppliers. He has distilled his positive approach to changing workplace cultures to three steps:
This Positive Approach blueprint includes simple exercises any business can adapt to fit their intentions. Other exercises and frameworks based on positive psychology are available on Mike’s portal of positive resources. You can find out more in this interview recently broadcast by Render Positive, a marketing agency intent on sustaining a culture where teams out-create, out-think and out-perform alternative agencies and have a damn good time in the process.
What are the approaches to shifting corporate cultures that you’ve seen work? We’d love to hear your ‘good look like this stories’, so please share…