6 Ideas to Align People With Company Culture
Company culture is as much a factor of business performance as it is of employee satisfaction at work – both are actually correlated. Despite the opportunity, business leaders still focus only few resources to the development of a strong workplace culture. Some even believe that it cannot be managed. Many organisations today actually don’t go much further than defining their core values: an exercise that loses all credibility when it stops at this stage.
In all organisations, employees share fundamental beliefs which are relative to what they need to do to live and succeed. It’s these values that define your company culture. When confronted to change, a phase of growth, a merger or an acquisition for example, employees who share common values are more productive, and can contribute more efficiently to the attainment of the business objectives.
Consequently, cultural alignment represents a major strategic asset for business. But how do you instil a common belief across your entire workforce? Is your company culture a lever you can use to achieve business goals, or does it act as a roadblock? Read on to find out how to create people and culture alignment to enhance business strategy and build a happier workplace.
Why Is Cultural Alignment So Important?
In organisations where employees share a common value set and where culture is well defined, it’s possible to see a peak in productivity, a lower turnover, and high employee satisfaction levels. This is because business leaders and managers are able to take decisions much faster and more efficiently. Having cultural alignment in your organisation means that the whole company is focused on performance and on delivering a superior customer experience to clients.
How to Achieve People & Culture Alignment?
1. Recruit the right people for your organisation
Company culture is an element that is particularly effective to help attract talent to your organisation. Studies have shown that people who display traits, values and preferences in line with their organisation feel higher work satisfaction, have a stronger bond to their company, and are also less likely to leave.
That’s why it’s important to look further than experience and qualifications when it comes to candidate selection in a hiring context. The ideal candidate will be the one who can not only meet the requirements of the role, but who is also equipped with the motivation to stick to the business and contribute to its development on the long-term.
2. Monitor the Relevance of Values
Although values are supposed to help a business grow in the right direction, it might not always be the case in practice. Some values can benefit your organisation while some others can have a negative impact. As your business goes through time, and for a variety of reasons, certain values can become irrelevant to your business. They may no longer be aligned to the performance objectives of your organisation, and can constitute a source of constraints rather than benefits.
Managing your values involves a constant monitoring. It’s about using positive values, while at the same time, neutralising the impact of negative values to avoid a counter-productive effect. Corporate value management doesn’t stop at producing a well-written value statement. Values need to be proactively activated and reflected through the managerial practices and business processes your organisation adopts.
3. Ensure Leaders Share the Same Values
Do all the business leaders of your organisation share the same values? An organisation’s leaders play a pivotal role in creating people and culture alignment. Everything stems from the decision makers of your organisation and a toxic leadership could destroy your organisation’s social and cultural fabric. A toxic leader will intentionally, by his actions, damage the credibility of your cultural values. This creates a negative and counter productive environment that can reduce the visibility of your work culture and break the sense of belonging employees can feel to your organisation.
From a broader perspective, a good leader is someone who not only features personal characteristics, technical and professional competencies, but also positive values, attitudes and behaviours to guide employees in the right path. Recruiting the active participation of management in the deployment of the company values is therefore essential to create a positive work environment and avoid conflicts between different management styles that would otherwise hurt the viability of your workplace culture.
4. Measure Culture Adoption
As an intangible business asset, the idea of measuring culture can seem counterintuitive at first. And even though it’s a challenge, a range of technological tools are now available on the market to help you monitor culture and its adoption. Employee engagement software and regular employee surveys help measure the alignment of employees’ personal values with the ones driven by an organisation.
By putting into perspective actual and perceived values, HR can obtain a clear reflection of the situation. Cultural change cannot happen without a shift in beliefs and behaviours driven by management. Yet, to implement cultural change, it’s important to understand your employees and what they stand for on an individual level.
5. Pilot Performance With Values
Cultural alignment can be created in different ways: on a global and organisational level, but also, on a more local and managerial level. Together, manager and employees can determine the underlying values and type of performance required to achieve the business objectives set for a particular project: e.g. profitability, customer service, entrepreneurship, openness, collaboration, good failure management, or respect of diversity.
Each of these values, which have been chosen by the employees themselves, can be more easily rolled out into behavioural standards that will need to be adopted to achieve goals. Those behaviours, which have been pre-defined, understood and accepted, constitute the framework that will be used to conduct self-assessments and performance reviews.
6. Use Recognition to Drive Behavioural Change
We can distinguish two category of values. The values that fall in the first one are the result of the history of your organisation and are being transmitted to employees over time. Those values, often unspoken, structure and influence the behaviours of employees, sometimes without them even realising it. The second category is composed of the values that indicate the new direction your culture should take and is driven by an organisation’s leadership team. In order for company values to be credible and shared, they need to be composed of a mix from those two categories.
By encouraging peer-to-peer recognition, and manager-to-employee recognition, you empower employees to bring company values to life. For example, individual recognition badges can be shared between employees to rewards positive behaviours in the context of the values of your organisation. Employees can flourish when their work is valued and appreciated. Rewards becomes even more meaningful when they are associated to the beliefs and culture of an organisation, enhancing the bond that exists between an employee and his employer.