Step by Step Guide to Changing Culture in the Workplace
The culture in your startup is an important part of your business. Worried you’ve not got the culture quite right? Fear not, changing it is possible. And you can exert influence over your startup’s culture, to shape it into something that represents your startup and its values.
In this blog we will provide a step by step guide to changing culture in the workplace.
Changing culture in the workplace isn't a simple task. A workplace culture is essentially the character and personality of the business. It's made up of many components. Including:
Maintaining a positive workplace culture is vital to deliver high quality products and services.
Our guide to changing culture contains 7 steps.
1. Core values
The first step to changing culture is to look at your startup’s core values. It may be that these haven’t been decided upon yet. If this is the case, there's no time like the present!
Core values should align with the workplace culture. And, ensure that they'll continue to do so as the business evolves and scales up.
You can accomplish this by considering your startup’s long term goals. If, in the next five years, you aspire to be an industry leader, a core value could be innovation. Once decided, an innovative culture can be fostered by encouraging collaboration and creativity.
2. Set culture goals
Before changing your culture can be accomplished, you'll have to map out what an ‘ideal’ culture would look like.
For example, how do you want managers to interact with their teams? How often should meetings take place?
Things to consider would be the tone of the startup. Do you expect a loud, vibrant and creative environment? Or, should the office be a functional workplace with a strong emphasis on productivity?
This step must be completed before an evaluation of the current culture is started.
3. Evaluate the current culture
It's all well and good to set the goals you want, but before you crack on, you need to evaluate the current culture you've got. Even if this means addressing some ugly home truths.
Staff surveys and data analysis are a great method that can be performed in house. For a more robust exercise, this could be outsourced to external consultants.
Third party workplace culture audits can have the advantage of being completely free of bias, and employees may be more willing to speak openly to external consultants without fear of negative repercussions. These types of audits are more expensive though, so there are risks as well as benefits.
After the evaluation has taken place, you must be willing to take all recommendations seriously. Remember, the big changes come from you - at the top.
Don't preach what you refuse to practise!
Which, leads us beautifully onto...
4. Engage the workforce
This part of culture change is both very simple and very complex at the same time.
Instructing your employees to engage with the culture evaluation is easy, and can be completed through meetings, company emails and 1 to 1s. But motivating them to become a part of the change? That's much harder.
People can be reluctant to see changes made, especially so if the sudden interest in changing workplace culture is seen as a threat to the status quo. Communication with staff and the key figures within the workforce should be done carefully, and with great consideration to their thoughts and feelings.
5. Make a plan
Once your startup’s areas for development have been identified, you can develop a strategy, establish an acceptable timeline and then set benchmarks for measuring progress.
Benchmarking the culture change progress is important, it allows you to make decisions on the need to ramp up company efforts or even scaling back goals that might have been too optimistic.
6. Write the culture into company policies and branding
If you have the departments in house, this is a perfect collaboration opportunity for HR and marketing. The startup branding should reflect the new company culture, as should the employer value proposition. New hire recruitment systems can be updated to ensure that ‘cultural fit’ becomes a focus in the recruitment process.
7. Provide ongoing employee support and training
Changing culture doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an ongoing process that requires the desired culture to become a priority for the business and to have it written into its policies and processes.
Introducing training courses and support systems can help employees through the change. Communications and training should emphasise why change is needed and how it will benefit your startup. A strong training and support process will promote a sense of team belonging, alongside individual employee value.
A corporate culture should be defined based on your values, which industry you operate in, your company vision and goals for the future. Once a culture has been defined, it will remain a work in progress and will evolve as your startup scales. It must be a priority in the business so that it remains relevant, and employees are motivated to engage with the process.
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