6 Tips for Effectively Changing Organizational Culture

August 2, 2023

By Aspen Christopher
Changing organizational culture is high on the priority list for leaders across multiple industries as they strive to compete in an increasingly competitive global environment. Being nimble and shifting strategies quickly is what helps them get and keep top talent. By elevating organizational culture, you can do just that!

It’s not an easy task, but it’s a critical one.

Peter Drucker is attributed as the originator of the phrase “culture eats strategy for lunch.” But what does that even mean? To put it simply: companies can’t thrive with a strong culture, regardless of how innovative and refined their strategies might be.

So what does it take to effectively change organizational culture? Here we take a look at six top tips to help you move the needle on culture change in your organization.

#1 – Assess Your Current Company Culture

If you don’t have a clear understanding of your current culture it would be foolhardy to move forward with change. Understanding where you’re at now, and where the gaps are that you need to close, is the first step in effectively changing organizational culture.

Conducting cultural assessments can help you get a handle on your current culture and its strengths and weaknesses. This can be done through annual employee surveys, and by using real-time survey tools like the ones found in Connects. The Cultural Assessment Survey, designed to evaluate your organization’s cultural health, measures both employee engagement and happiness levels. Along with feedback attained through assessment surveys like Employee Voice, these inputs help you understand the issues that need to be addressed, overcome, or strengthened.

Once you’ve gathered these inputs and assessed the findings with key stakeholders, you’re ready to take the next step: creating a roadmap to change your organizational culture.

#2 – Create a Roadmap for Changing Your Organizational Culture

With a clear vision of your desired culture and its purpose, the next step is to create a roadmap to get you there. This will start with a review of your mission, vision, and values statements to ensure alignment with the desired culture.

Then, with your mission and vision clearly in mind, you will need to solidify your plan by setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound.

Communicate your plans with all employees and other key stakeholders. After all, you can’t get there without their support.

#3 – Align Your Company Processes and Systems

There are certain processes and systems within your organization that directly impact company culture. For instance:

  • Human resources (HR) policies
  • Performance management process
  • Reward structures

These should all be aligned with the vision of your new organizational culture and managed appropriately to ensure that they support that desired culture. For instance, if you’re attempting to build a customer service-focused culture, your HR policies should emphasize and support service, your performance management process should include evaluation items related to customer service, and there should be reward and recognition processes to recognize and reward employees for actions that support customer service.

#4 – Engage and Empower Employees

Changing organizational culture isn’t a top-down initiative. It requires buy-in from everyone in the organization. That means that organizational leaders need to be proactive in engaging and empowering employees.

Employees need to understand what the desired culture is — and why. Leaders must harvest participation and ownership among employees, including involving them in decision-making and culture-building.

One very important way to engage employees is through training and development. Today’s employees value learning and development (L&D) opportunities. Providing them with opportunities for training and growth will help them be engaged, empowered, and on board. Through these activities be sure to embed values that support the culture and to include these values in performance management and talent acquisition processes.

As they grow and develop be sure to reward and recognize their contributions and behaviors that align with the desired culture.

#5 – Monitor and Measure Results

As you work toward a new culture, be sure to establish metrics to help assess progress, monitoring outcomes like employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and alignment between values and culture. Report back to employees on progress and enlist their input, ideas, and support for continuous improvement.

Feedback surveys, as we’ve seen, can be a great way to capture employee input in meaningful and measurable ways. And, if you’re a Connects user, your survey dashboard contains extensive information from employee surveys you can access in real-time to continually monitor and measure employee sentiment.

#6  – Leverage Digital Tools That Change Organizational Culture

In addition to the efforts of your leadership team and all of your employees, technology can be a great aid. Using technology to communicate and track your efforts, and to provide a seamless and easy way for managers — and employees — to recognize each other not only saves time and effort but also boosts the odds that collaboration and recognition will be ongoing.

Inspirus solutions offer ways to build community and foster team culture to make the employee experience more meaningful and engaging. The Inspirus Connects technology platform provides a seamless, central location where employees can connect, recognize, and celebrate their colleagues and peers, shop for regards, and stay up to date on important company communications. Talk with an Inspirus specialist today!