What Strategies Facilitate a Cultural Shift Within An Organization?

    Authored By

    CHRO Daily

    What Strategies Facilitate a Cultural Shift Within An Organization?

    Navigating the complexities of organizational change, we've gathered insights from top Employee Relations Specialists on facilitating cultural shifts. From aligning vision with measurable goals to building trust and acknowledging feedback, explore the diverse strategies shared by our CHROs and HR managers in these four transformative answers.

    • Align Vision With Measurable Goals
    • Immerse in Core Business Functions
    • Initiate Movement Toward Organizational Purpose
    • Build Trust and Acknowledge Feedback

    Align Vision With Measurable Goals

    Effective culture change relies on process rigor. When I led the transition of an academically-oriented organization to a customer-focused performance culture, it took more than leadership platitudes. We aligned vision to strategy and strategy to goals. Then, we revised performance, compensation, and promotion processes to measure, reward, and advance the desired behavior. Transparently explaining the 'rules of the game' and teaching employees how to win sparks purposeful culture change.

    Tim Toterhi
    Tim ToterhiCHRO, Plotline Leadership

    Immerse in Core Business Functions

    Getting involved in the business's core functions is key to understanding the organization's culture and also the key to shifting it. You cannot change a culture from behind a desk or tucked in an office; you must be involved and fully versed in the language of the business.

    Some ways of doing this are to join operations meetings, sit in on capacity or efficiency meetings, meet regularly with frontline supervisors and managers to discuss their opportunities and challenges, walk the front line, and be present on the floor. Once you have established a presence within the day-to-day operations of the business, you will be able to suss out where the gaps in culture lie and generate a strategy to shift it.

    Include your business partners in your ideas and initiatives; they are the ones who will be executing and delivering on a daily basis and will be the keys to your success. They will have views and opinions that will be valuable to your implementation plan. Be collaborative; HR is not an island, and culture does not change by itself.

    Heather Kerr
    Heather KerrHuman Resources Manager

    Initiate Movement Toward Organizational Purpose

    A cultural shift for a mid- to large-sized organization is almost like bringing in a movement that aligns all employee efforts in the direction of the organization’s purpose and mission. Last year, we steered our organization towards building a “Quality-Obsessed & Customer-First” culture. An important starting point is to generate meaning and purpose for “best-in-class” quality for our employees, and it involves constant involvement from the senior leadership team to reiterate the message.

    This must be followed by a call to action, which involved changes to the organizational structure, setting up the strategy and process (new ways of working, metrics to be tracked, reviews), linkage to learning to build new capabilities to equip our employees to deliver the new deliverables, and a visible recognition framework.

    Some of the notable initiatives were setting up an independent quality function reporting directly to the CEO & MD, quality walks with management committee members, consistent and periodic communication through town halls and events, and highlighting the change-makers by sharing their success stories. We are also aware that culture building is a long-term commitment and needs continuous momentum to ensure the stickiness of the change.

    Megha GoelCHRO, Godrej Properties Ltd

    Build Trust and Acknowledge Feedback

    I think the first step to any shift toward a better corporate culture is learning about the people who make up the organization. As an outsourced HR/ER professional working with many employers, I like to build a relationship with the employees within that team over time so that they trust that I have their best interests in mind, with a shared goal of aligning with the employer's needs so that all parties achieve a successful outcome.

    When trust is formed, the giving of candid opinions becomes less restrained, and listening to the employees' feedback can help identify gaps in processes that may be preventing a positive workplace experience and be the root cause of conflict and/or turnover. Once an idea for improvement is offered, even if it is not implemented, it is important to acknowledge it so that the employee feels that their contributions are heard and valued.

    Many employers are scared of asking for feedback because they fear change, but change doesn't have to be scary! As the bridge between the employee and employer, it's my job to discern what is a glaring issue that needs to be rectified immediately, such as in the case where compliance concerns are uncovered, or what can be gradually put into place to increase employee morale and satisfaction, then communicate those suggestions in a way that makes the most strategic sense.

    Nicole Craveiro
    Nicole CraveiroCEO and Fractional CHRO, CraveHRO