Activating Company Culture Shifts
Transforming a company culture may seem daunting at the beginning; like climbing a hill that never seems to end. It’s especially more challenging if you don’t know where to start. If you’re seeking innovation that’s adaptive and meaningful for your startup, a culture change needs to happen.
Just like sales, marketing, and human resources, workplace culture is so much part and parcel of a company. Culture thrives in a group of people who share a sense of belief in how things are done in an organization. It’s one of the key elements that drive long-term business success.
When a company is not fully engaged with promoting its culture, they risk alienating its employees from working their best. Fortunately, more businesses have adapted to the idea of company culture change.
Beyond operational efficiency and excellence, leaders and employees can significantly benefit much from transforming its culture. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the core aspects of culture transformation and how it benefits the company seeking growth and innovation.
What is Company Culture?
First, let’s discuss what company culture means. Simply put, it is a collection of beliefs, traditions, values, and attitudes shared by people working in a company. When people from different backgrounds work together, they build a community with its own culture.
Additionally, organizational culture is not only a reflection of your employees’ behavior, it also reflects how your company influences them to behave. So, it’s a way of motivating them to show desired traits and behaviors. By shaping the culture, you are encouraging the right mindset and attitude that aligns with your business strategies. In the same way, it deters bad behaviors that go against your goals.
Since culture and business strategies work hand in hand, it makes sense that leaders and managers prioritize promoting a positive culture. While this concept sounds simple, it’s not always easy to do. Management and HR teams are still struggling with the best way to change an organizational culture that’s impactful and sustainable in the long run.
You see, a work culture includes all the intricacies involved in relationships. And these relationships may change over time while performing your business goals. Moreover, you can’t compel culture change. Leaders can impose compliance, but they can’t demand creativity, passion, loyalty, and happiness from others. It is therefore a collective effort among employees, managers, business owners, and HR teams to build a positive path to meaningful company culture.
Why is there a need for a culture change in an organization?
A culture change occurs when there’s a conflict between work culture and business strategies. If employees behave differently than the values or vision that the company stands for, then there’s clearly a mismatch.
Even if you’ve managed to avoid this problem, there are potential reasons why you need to change your company culture. For one, you need to adapt to the future of work. During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more companies decided to change their work setting from office-based to work-from-home out of necessity. In fact, Twitter was among the companies that chose to work remotely permanently—pandemic or not.
Another factor to consider is a toxic culture. When employees are leaving faster than you can hire; then, Houston, we have a problem. Usually, this happens when a company doesn’t define and act according to its values. Managers may also lack empathy towards their employees’ needs. This often leads to people being dissatisfied and unproductive at work.
Thirdly, you might need to improve business processes to keep up with the market demand. In that case, you’ll need a budget to purchase new technologies and train the employees to deliver successful results.
Another good reason to change is when you’re launching a branding campaign. Perhaps, you want to tweak your brand to stay relevant and memorable to your target audience. When done correctly, an organizational change can help you stay competitive and boost your brand as a great company to work for or as customers, buy products from.
Best Practices for an Effective Company Culture Shift
There’s no going around it. Trust is one of the important foundations for human relationships to blossom. Changes to a workplace culture won’t be successful without establishing trust first.
We often see trust in certain situations. A boss has to trust that his or her team can do their jobs and allow them to be creative at solving problems. Likewise, employees also trust their leaders to lead them effectively. It’s a symbiotic relationship that works smoothly when there’s a level of trust involved.
On the contrary, when an organization is riddled with hypocrisy and mistrust, you cannot expect to achieve the best results. Employees will be afraid of retribution from their bosses if they commit mistakes. They may not accept failures or, worse, feel burned out. Also, a small business can’t expect to grow into a large organization if owners can’t trust someone to lead the company.
Reward small wins
What makes an organization great is its ability to celebrate quick wins. They put a spotlight on star performers to inspire others. Also, they recognize the efforts done by employees who support the mission and goals of the company.
Understand that people need validation for a job well done. It allows them that sense of accomplishment and motivates them to work better. They’ll find their work more meaningful which gives them the reason to add value to the company’s goals.
Demonstrate your commitment
When it comes to changing company culture, simply saying that a change needs to be done won’t go anywhere. You can pressure people, but the results will be temporary.
To influence people’s long-term commitment, they should feel and understand the responsibility of this change. A successful leader can achieve this by explaining the company’s purpose—the “why” behind the actions. An outstanding purpose highlights an aspiration for excellence by serving others. Additionally, it provides meaning to their work and brings solidarity among team members.
Commitment is not about having everyone agree all the time. It means that people understand what’s going to happen and why. Even if they are against it, they support the choices and direction that the company is heading. Moreover, it’s a commitment built on trust that gives them the push to work towards the goal since they trust the company as a whole. When everyone shares a common goal, harmony exists. People know what they need to do to achieve the best results.
Master the art of conflict management
Conflict is natural in any relationship. When conflicts are handled productively, it may result in a positive change. In contrast, an unhealthy and unresolved conflict will only bring resentment and a lack of trust among people.
When conflicts are ignored, different parties may feel that their feelings and opinions are not important enough to address. When conflicts explode beyond repair, that’s when people simply give up and look for another job. Either way, both the company and employees suffer for not managing conflicts effectively. Hence, organizations need to master the art of healthy conflict management if they want a peaceful culture change to happen, sooner or later.
An innovative company culture? Yes, it’s possible!
While changing organizational culture can be tough, the outcome is just as rewarding. People who trust and gel well together make for a highly effective team that supports the vision of the company.
And remember, culture change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It comes from the collective effort from people who believe in your mission and take deliberate action. Before you can tackle any company crisis or life-changing situation, it’s crucial to articulate to everyone the things you want changed. The practical tips we shared in this article should guide you to steer a clear and productive path to changing your company culture.
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