Managing Culture Change: From HR to the C-Suite

CoachHub · 23 June 2022 · 5 min read

An organization’s success or failure isn’t solely about business strategy, but is largely based on its corporate culture… Whether or not it was implemented intentionally, a corporate culture exists within your organization. The question is — how will you improve your corporate culture to leverage it as a tool for reaching your business goals? It’s imperative to take control of the corporate culture and begin to shape it. Here’s how you can identify the culture you want to build, and take steps toward managing an organizational culture change.

Why corporate culture matters

Today’s consumers not only ask about product quality but are inquiring about the company’s values and corporate culture. According to Gartner’s 2022 CEO survey, one of the four main priorities of a company’s leadership is corporate culture. This is ranked alongside growth, digital technology transformation and inflation as the main concerns to address in 2022.

Organizations have adapted their working styles throughout the pandemic, and many aren’t going back to the office any time soon. Remote and hybrid approaches to work are the norm now. In a time where consumers are placing increased importance on the culture of a company, HR leaders are faced with developing a culture of innovation in new circumstances — sometimes without ever seeing their employees in person.

A 2019 study conducted by the Wuhan University of Technology suggests that there is a direct correlation between an organization’s corporate culture and how your organization manifests itself. If innovation and creativity are part of your organization’s identity and corporate strategy, then they also must be reflected in your corporate culture if you wish to succeed in those areas.

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Strategies for changing your organization’s culture

Corporate culture is formed by everyone within an organization. But, developing and implementing strategies for transforming, shaping and defining corporate culture rests squarely on the shoulders of leadership. Whether you are looking to tweak or completely overhaul it, here are some strategies for changing your organization’s corporate culture.

Strategy 1: Assess the current culture

Data is the key to unlocking the mystery of your organization’s culture. The more information you can obtain about your organization’s current corporate culture, the more you will learn about how your employees feel and interact within your organization. To do this at scale, you’ll need to use your digital resources to launch data gathering initiatives.  A 2020 study published in Review of Managerial Science suggests the use of digital technology for business is more essential now than ever to its growth and success. As one person, you can only engage with so many other people in a day. Using digital technology to gauge your corporate culture will save you a great deal of time and money.

Take action: 

  • Survey your workforce: Collect the data you need to get started by launching a company-wide survey to understand your baseline. Follow this up with individual one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders at all levels of your organization.
  • Rally the troops: Identify the natural leaders within your organization who can lead the charge on this initiative. Organize group meetings with open dialogue.
  • Seek first to understand: Listen and learn— employees are not just existing in the corporate culture every day but are actively shaping it whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Strategy 2: Communicate the new corporate culture

A 2021 Gallup survey highlights when a leader communicates the anticipated impact of changes on an organization, employees are far likelier to engage in the process of change. It is necessary to be clear and concise, but not at the expense of getting specific. Culture change doesn’t represent the same outcome for each seniority level or in all business units so a strategic plan, and your communication approach, should consider the perspectives of every person and every sector within your organization.

Take action: 

  • Develop a culture handbook: Outline your strategies and translate them for each team. Make sure to include values and mission statements, but be mindful that generic statements and catchy metaphors don’t lead to empowering individuals.
  • Avoid a rigid or lifeless document: The culture handbook should be constantly evolving. Be genuine, encourage harmony and constantly invite input through open communication and feedback channels.

Strategy 3: Engage everyone in culture change

Involve everyone in the transformation process. Corporate culture should be collaborative (not vertical) and organic (not artificial). Giving instruction, outlining creeds and citing rhetoric simply won’t lead to the kind of change you desire. Especially today; Gallup 2022 data puts global employee engagement at a low of 23%. Now that you’ve identified natural leaders, leverage them to formulate your strategic plan for a new corporate culture. Keep in mind the collaborative nature of forming a new culture— everyone wants to work in a place they like to be.

Take action:

  • Form small teams with your leaders and culture champions. This provides an open channel for you to communicate and a good strategy for maintaining the corporate culture.
  • Make sure to have specific, measurable and achievable goals along the way. Getting small wins early is a great way to increase buy-in and have everyone continue to drive the culture forward.

Strategy 4: Empower through coaching

According to the DSJ Global 2021 job confidence index, three of the top four reasons (other than salary) for wanting to leave their current workplace are: the opportunity to progress, needing a new challenge and company culture doesn’t fit. Digital coaching empowers people to become leaders, increases team performance and helps facilitate personal and professional growth.

Take action: 

  • Give it a try: If you have never participated in professional digital coaching before the first step is to experience it yourself by connecting with a coach or participating in a demo of our platform.
  • Implement coaching: Use digital coaching as a regular practice within your organization. Empowered and educated employees are key to the success of the corporate culture.

Coaching as a key lever for success in organizational transformation

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What step can an organization take to improve its culture today?

Your success in implementing changes in your organization’s corporate culture will be measured by how those working in it succeed in navigating the corporate culture change. Change can be difficult, our brains are hardwired to make patterns and stick to them. A great tool to assist you is digital coaching, it can truly transform the way you operate and implement change. Find the digital platform that feels right for you and compliments your strategies and leadership style moving forward.

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