It’s never too late to determine what makes your company tick.
By David Hite
In my last article, we looked at the different types of company cultures and how they affect the whole organization. This month, I want to address a few items that pertain to assessing your company culture.
As an organizational development and training professional, my passion and purpose are to help translate data into strategic action plans that help address the human capital of a company. If you only focus on operational issues and exclude people, you’ll never create lasting culture change.
As a convenience retailer, do you engage any tools, measuring employee satisfaction? How about employee engagement? Or general culture? Or do you have specific goals exploring ways to better manage customer service, improve specific processes or gain insight into team dynamics?
From my experience, one survey or a series of in-depth focus group meetings will not get you where you want to be unless you follow up on the results.
READY OR NOT
Making sure your organization is ready seems simple, but it is one of the most complex questions you need to consider. One organization that I worked with recently was suffering from high turnover, burned-out employees and low morale. I decided to get a cultural snapshot to measure manager engagement, seemingly a good time to understand the root cause of these issues.
Even after surveys and conclusions were made, the company wasn’t ready to take action on the resulting recommendations, so it became a frustrating endeavor for employees looking for much needed improvements.
Employees seemed open and graciously provided their input during an all-manager meeting. After the data was collected and analyzed, I shared the results with members of the leadership team. Unfortunately, despite the fact that there were significant issues, leadership failed to react with a sense of urgency and address the issues strategically.
For some organizations and leaders, looking in the mirror can be painful, but it’s the first step toward building a stronger business. Make sure employees and leadership recognize that this is a process and a journey that may require a change in paradigm. Unfortunately, so many organizations are in the stagnant pattern of maintaining the status quo, real change doesn’t happen.
Having a third party collect and analyze your data can eliminate bias from the employees. If they know that Mike the president is managing the survey collection, employees may be concerned that their input could have the potential to impact their careers if something negative is shared about the company.
Third-party consultants can be perceived as neutral, which may make employees feel both anonymous and confident with their comments.
After you conduct your assessment, you will likely discover much about the employees’ perception of the organization including:
- training needs;
- areas for improvement;
- sources of potential talent;
- gaps in communication;
- employee fears and concerns;
- new business opportunities.
UNDERSTANDING THE RESULTS
Once the data comes in, the process is just beginning. If you are going to take time having employees provide their input, you better do something with the data.
First, categorize and organize the feedback into themes that can be addressed, according to different segments of the business. The immediate goal here is to take action and show that you are serious about improving.
This includes establishing processes and adopting the necessary tools to achieve the internal goals to maintain good cultural aspects or inform and involve employees in the action planning phases once you’ve processed all their input.
Finally, once there have been some actions, projects and improvement activities, share those success stories to various audiences. One of the greatest ways to consistently shape your culture comes in the form of stories from leaders, employees and customers.
David Hite is the former manager of training and organizational development for Roadrunner Markets/Mountain Empire Oil in Johnson City, Tenn. He now is an assistant professor of management and entrepreneur studies at Bluefield College.