3 Steps to Lay the Foundation of Organizational Culture

Culture, a concept that finds itself near the center of virtually constant discussion across various topics ranging from talent attraction/retention, branding, innovation and dozens more.  There is no question culture plays a critical role in success, yet it continues to be one of the most elusive and intangible things for organizations to intentionally drive, measure, and promote.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many common practices that have been adopted by organizations in an effort to make culture less abstract that can serve as pieces to the puzzle:

Identifying and defining corporate values

This is something many organizations often do in the context of a strategic planning process in order to communicate the most important attributes they look for in people.  This is a great starting point, but culture seems to be more defined by the common behaviors that are exhibited by the majority of its members.

Drawing direct lines between key behaviors and results

Creating a link between key behaviors and results is an effective way to not just tell people what you expect, but demonstrate to them how doing so will create value.  Translating values and attributes to actions by modeling performance in important job roles “connects the dots” and also drives emotional engagement in people to the organization.  Doing it well should result in performance and cultural impact.

Providing frequent feedback and selective recognition

Feedback is the lifeblood of the development and engagement of people.  Having ongoing conversations about opportunities for growth and reinforcing strengths via a modern performance management program allows people to know where they stand, and who doesn’t like that?  While intentionally giving recognition pays dividends in multiple ways.  A well-executed employee recognition program directly reinforces the excellent work of the individual receiving it, but it also promotes the behavior as an example to everyone else around them.

So with these common practices supported by fairly formalized programs and exercises, why is culture still such a challenging thing for the majority of organizations?  Simply put, it takes a lot of work.  The effort associated with each of these things is significant, coupled with the fact that they are rarely connected makes managing and driving culture a monumental challenge.

We believe that observing and promoting an authentic culture intentionally on both macro and micro levels requires different thinking and different tools.  To learn more about how Expectancy Learning is delivering an ecosystem that gives organizations a more tangible window into their culture contact us.

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