From an organizational health perspective, the impact of not seeing co-workers in person will inevitably affect company culture. Those common beliefs, behaviors and that all-important element of a productive culture – trust – flourish in an environment where stories are told at lunch, jokes are made in the hall and real talk happens on the way to our cars.
This is why we’ve been working with our clients on a progressive and deliberate project addressing a most critical issue:
How do we promote and sustain culture in the post-COVID era?
We’re going to share our approach addressing this question in a series of blog posts over the next few weeks. They will follow this order.
This is a critical component of our approach. It’s also the step that we most often get asked to skip. We’ve only done that once and it was a mistake.
Understanding the current beliefs and behaviors of your organization is the foundation upon which the entire strategy is built. What we learn through our qualitative approach to understanding the “Total Employee Experience” can be enlightening to the most tenured leader. When was the last time you were on-boarded? Exactly.
Now consider the impact of COVID on that entire experience. Just like how marketing strategies should never be set without consumer insights, the same goes for your workplace culture strategy. Employee experience insights are the foundation of the entire strategy.
We’ll talk about how we do this and why we’re good at it in the next blog.
“What’s it like to work there?” That answer is your culture. There’s a story attached to it. It’s not the generic values that are in the employee handbook.
The Culture Story addresses ideas like: why we exist, why we work here and what really matters most. If these concepts aren’t deliberately captured and communicated, you are leaving one of the biggest factors of business success to chance.
We’ll show you how these Culture Stories are defined and what they look like for organizations with great culture.
This is the plan – to develop the playbook to get that Culture Story into the hearts, souls and minds of every employee and make it stick. There’s a lot of moving parts involved in this one.
First, identifying and categorizing the common personas of your workforce. It may sound strange, but it’s really just about knowing your audience and what triggers inspiration in them.
Second, determining the tactical considerations of the total employee experience. This includes things like platforms for communication that are available – from email to the intranet and Zoom.
Lastly and most importantly, what are the capabilities of your managers when it comes to communicating and delivering a compelling message? Understanding this helps you frame what kind of tools and support they need. In our new remote working world, this is now the primary function of their job.
So we have the Culture Story and the Strategy – now we need to create the content and tools that we’ll use to support it all. Remember, this is all about making it stick. A one-time announcement, rollout event or sizzle video is not going to make anything stick. (We do love a great purpose video though.)
When we say stick, we mean Pledge of Allegiance sticky (you just recited it in your mind – see!).
We’ll show you some different tools we’ve used – what works and what has failed. After all, nobody’s perfect and we learn from our mistakes.
We love to see all this work come to life. You know why? Because we truly believe in it. We believe in improving our clients’ cultures and employee experiences. Doing this means that people find meaning in their work and in turn find meaning in their lives. That’s our Purpose.
This comes down to three things: commitment, resources and hard work.
It also involves measuring, iterating and re-implementing again (and again). This part takes a lot of courage.
We’ll walk through how this goes down in the following blog posts.