Can you Change an Awful Company Culture?

So, you have realised that your organisation is actually a sub-performing ‘hotshot’ – behind the hype and pompous industry standing, your company culture actually sucks. It’s an important awareness that leads to a critical question: Can this change?

It is well-documented that changing an organically-grown, well-established corporate culture is one of the hardest achievements for a company. Though, if you’re a leader, your odds at success are better than others.

Here are some critical leadership steps that can help to turn an awful corporate culture around:

Start with a commitment

This is a challenging intervention that requires that someone in a leadership position decides to make a better company culture an organisational priority. There needs to be a clear commitment to ensuring an optimal organisational, employee and customer experience.

Document the decision to change

It’s not enough to say you want it to happen. Devise and share a concise, formal statement of what you want your culture to be, and repeat the message frequently. Define the desired experiences of your employees, customers, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders.

Identify and communicate the values of your new company culture

What values underpin the customer, employee and organisational experience of your desired company culture? You can’t make the shift from competitive to collaborative; from ego-centric to customer-centric without changing the values that underpin how you operate.

Assess and revise your HR policies

You need to ensure that institutional processes and procedures support your winning company culture. No matter how inspiring your values statement might be, nothing will undermine your efforts more than if there are draconian, punitive HR policies in place.

Assess and revise performance metrics

Are you measuring the right things? For instance, is it more important for an employee to be off the phone within 2 minutes, or to solve the customer’s issue? Make sure you are measuring the performance indicators that deliver a peak experience to your customers.

Change your hiring criteria

From the moment that you decide to make the change, revise your recruitment priorities so that every new hire embodies the values of your desired culture. Hire for attitude as well as skills, and actively bring in the energy and disposition that reflects your new and improved values.

Upgrade your on-boarding

The focus of the on-boarding process should be on giving the new hire thorough insights into the company culture they need to fit into and the values they need to embody. This is far more important than learning the ‘rules’ of the company, lines of authority and minute details about their job.

Define your improved customer experience and service standards

Put yourself in the shoes of the customer currently doing business with you; then take a bird’s eye view so that you can see what needs to be improved. Communicate your service standards to all employees, and empower your customer-facing employees to deliver the customer experience you want to achieve.

Don’t stop the message

Repetition and reinforcement are vital to embed a new culture. Your new values, customer and employee experiences need to be talked about every day. Find innovative ways to connect people to the winning concepts, as well as finding routine ways to emphasise and identify with new values.