Few things are more daunting than your strategy having ‘Culture Change’ among the priorities for the year.
Communication is often undervalued when it comes to transforming a culture. We have often seen a direct correlation between deficient cultural values and poor organisational communication. Leaders don’t speak to employees often, stories aren’t shared, strategic and policy changes are made in the organisation without giving employees much information, and the list goes on.
The below is a quick checklist for you to reflect on before you embark on a culture change process, to see how you’re doing on the communication curve:
- Are your leaders taking time to go out and meet employees, conduct Town Halls, share stories through lunch and learns, blogs, and skip meetings?
- Are you communicating the company values during new employee orientation? Are they linked to performance management, promotion, recruitment and your exit policy?
- Do you have a strong reward and recognition policy? Are you saying ‘Thank You’ enough?
- When making a policy change, in addition to the 'what', are you also explaining the 'why' to the employees?
- Is your communication only focused top-down? Or do employees have enough forums to communicate to the top?
What helps facilitate a positive change:
- Leaders taking ownership of communicating more with employees across levels—institutionalizing communication channels such as town halls, skip meetings, ‘chat over coffee’ and so on.
- Following a checklist every time an employee communication goes out—to ensure you are explaining the 'why' and the 'what', and employees understand what’s in it for them.
- Nominating ‘Change Agents’ who you believe have the right organisational values, and represent what you stand for—and are the voice on the ground. They help you design and implement these changes—and give you a reality check of what might work and what won't, and give you feedback along the way to make changes.
- A strong internal communication team that converts ideas into reality, shares stories through the right media, and optimizes various communication to continuously reinforce the right messaging and culture you want to drive.
At the end of the day, what works? Knowing that it will take time, and therefore prioritizing 2-3 things in the first year, and doing them REALLY well.