Top Ways to Improve the Consistency of Your Corporate Culture

Top Ways to Improve the Consistency of Your Corporate Culture
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Consistency of Your Corporate Culture
We know from assessing organizational cultures that the way people think, behave, and work can either help or hurt your business and people strategies. In terms of business and people performance, the importance of workplace culture cannot be underestimated. In fact, our organizational alignment research found that workplace culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performance in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, leadership effectiveness, and employee engagement.

Because workplace culture is derived from and fed by your day-to-day corporate values, behaviors, and actions, it stands to reason that the higher the levels of cultural consistency across the workforce, the more effective your organization.

How to Improve the Consistency of Your Corporate Culture
Assuming that your workplace culture is aligned with your strategic priorities, here are top ways to achieve a more aligned and consistent culture across the organizational, team, and individual levels:

  1. Organizational Level
    While it is natural for companies to have subcultures in offices, functions, and geographies, a company culture should be consistent and pervasive enough across the organization to ensure overall cultural health, performance, and strategic execution.  To leverage the advantage that a well-integrated and consistent culture can give your organization, the core corporate values need to transcend the behaviors of individuals; the corporate values need to work across teams and functions.

    Set up cross-functional sessions to explore such questions as:

    – Do different groups have the same expectations of how work gets done? Should they?
    – How effective are the working relationships between teams?
    – Are those relationships supported by corporate-wide systems and processes?
    – Are corporate values used to guide critical decisions?
    – Are functional silos inhibiting innovation, collaboration, or decision making?
    – Do our leaders model, reward, and live our aspired values?
    – Do high performers model and live our aspired values?
    – What happens to leaders or high performers who do not model, reward, and live our values?

    Smart leaders assess the health of their organizational culture regularly and build bridges across the company to visibly motivate and engage employees in the desired ways of working.
  2. Team Level
    High performing teams know how to work together in ways that align with strategic priorities and reflect the desired cultural norms. This means holding team members accountable for both results (THE WHAT) and behaviors (THE HOW). 

    Done right, this team alignment process explicitly balances team outputs with behavioral areas such as respecting one another, holding open and honest conversations, dealing with conflict in a constructive way, and making decisions according to a process adopted by all.

    Have teams explore such questions as:

    – Does the team onboarding process include a cultural component related to core values?
    – Are team goals, accountabilities, and roles clear and agreed to by all?
    – Are team norms, roles, and responsibilities understood and agreed to by all?
    – Do teams have enough psychological safety to perform at their peak?
    – Are teams meeting or exceeding performance targets?
    – Are teams meeting or exceeding employee engagement targets?

    When all team members agree upon and consistently follow the behavioral and performance guidelines they have set together, then you know you are on the right track.
  3. Individual Level
    Companies and teams are made up of individuals who often have varied skills, motivations, and confidence levels.  Culture is how work gets done. To live a desired corporate culture, employees must be able to easily understand what corporate values look like in action in their day-to-day jobs.

    Most companies are good at measuring performance through tracking WHAT gets done. But few are good at measuring performance through HOW work gets done at the behavioral level that reflects core organizational values in practice.

    To improve the consistency of your company culture, you need to be sure your employees not only have a crystal clear understanding of the values but also know how to live them in their day-to-day routines.

    – Are employees clear on what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable?
    – Is measuring employee’s alignment with the company’s core values part of your performance management process?
    – Can employees cite examples of ways in which the organization is living the values?
    – Do leaders hold people accountable when their behaviors fall short of cultural norms?
    – Do leaders point out and reward actions that reflect a core value in practice?

The Bottom Line
Consistency is another way of looking at organizational alignment ? when an organization’s strategy, talent, and culture are in sync. Our research shows that highly aligned companies grow 58% faster, are 72% more profitable, satisfy customers 3.2-to-one, and engage employees 16.8-to-one. Isn’t improving consistency well worth your effort?

To learn more about cultural excellence, download The 3 Levels of Culture that Leaders Must Get Right

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