Company culture is often thought of differently depending on who is in the discussion. Leaders and executives think of culture from a forward-looking perspective; to leaders, culture is something explicit and a goal they are striving toward. Employees think of culture from a historic perspective; to individual contributors, culture is something implicit and is more of a reflection on how the company has reacted to past situations.
Both perspectives share a common thread though, both are action-based and impacted by results. If company leadership has a vision for their culture and continually executes and acts in alignment with that vision, employees will take note and their perception of company culture will merge with that of the leadership team. Shared missions, shared challenges and shared accomplishments will build on each other and reinforce that culture over time. Teams that experience more missions, more challenges and more accomplishments together will be stronger and deliver better results.
We’ve experienced a transformation in the workplace over the last decade in regards to product design, manufacturing and software development. Missions, challenges and accomplishments used to be attached to multi-year product development cycles or huge infrastructure investments to support future company initiatives. Today, thanks to Rapid Prototyping, Just-In-Time Manufacturing and Agile Software development, we are seeing the mission, challenge, accomplishment cycle-time decrease from years to months and months to weeks. The challenge to organizational development and human resource professionals is to find ways to translate that rapid cycle-time in product development into a rapid cycle of shared mission, shared challenges and shared accomplishments to strengthen and turbo-charge your company culture. Good news, technology can help.
Five HR Tech Themes To Turbo-Charge Your Company Culture:
Theme #1 – Foster Real Time Collaboration through Private Social Networks
Systems like Yammer, Rypple and HipChat let your teams share challenges and accomplishments, then quickly broadcast them across the organization. Soliciting feedback, sharing accomplishments and asking for assistance in real time across your company creates a ‘heartbeat’ in your workforce and will get everyone involved in helping the team move forward. Think of it as your turbo-charged company newsletter – 140 character ‘team updates’ posted constantly, throughout the day, to keep everyone informed of exciting news in your organization.
Theme #2 – Promote Transparency With Wikis
Embrace Basecamp, Confluence or Sharepoint to get teams to post more in-depth status updates about what they are working on along with mockups of what is coming next, specs of how the product or service might interact with other teams in the company and timelines of upcoming launch dates. Think of this as your turbo-charged company meeting – growth curve charts, product roadmaps and revenue projections to let everyone in your company know how each team is contributing to the common company mission.
Theme #3 – Collect Frequent Individual Feedback with Performance Management Tools
Use systems like Trakstar or Success Factors to shorten the cycle of employee performance management feedback within your teams. If you are releasing features every week, try soliciting coworkers for monthly feedback on their peers. Getting consistent feedback each month from coworkers makes feedback much more timely and meaningful and reinforces the ‘move quick’ mentality of constant professional improvement. Think of this as your turbo-charged 360-review process, moving from annual feedback to monthly feedback to speed up performance improvements in your teams.
Theme #4 – Solicit Monthly Company Feedback with Online Surveys
Use a system like TinyPulse or SurveyMonkey to poll your employees regularly for feedback on how your company is doing against its company initiatives. Keep your survey short, 6 questions or less. Ask questions to ensure your employees have the tools to do their job, a positive environment in which to work and a culture that promotes risk taking and innovation. As Peter Drucker said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. Think of this as your turbo-charged employee satisfaction survey – if you used to run it annually, try it quarterly – if you used to run it quarterly, try it monthly – see what happens. Show your employees you are as agile as they are when it comes to making changes to improve company culture.
Theme #5 – Encourage Peer Recognition To Make Everyone A Leader
Use a system like MeritShare to let your coworkers recognize each other for workplace accomplishments. Top down management is declining in favor of empowered functional teams; you need to be working to give everyone in your organization the power to act like a leader. A great way to build leadership qualities in your staff and celebrate successes is to implement a peer recognition program. The magic of peer recognition is that each action benefits three parties; the giver feels like a leader, the receiver feels like a winner and the observer (who sees the recognition) is motivated to emulate that same action so they are recognized next time. Think of this as your turbo-charged employee recognition program – why have 10 managers be responsible for recognition when you can have 100 employees do it and build their leadership skills in the process?
We hope enjoyed our Five HR Tech Themes To Turbo-Charge Your Company Culture. If you have any other themes you think we left out, please leave a comment and we’ll try to incorporate it into a follow up post.