Help Employees Build a Productive Culture
Employees build and sustain the culture of your organization. They are the stewards that sustain the working environment you need to obtain your desired outcomes.
They have to do the work themselves, but left to their own devices, the employees probably won’t build the productive, focused culture senior leaders seek.
How can senior leaders help? How do you guide employees in culture building and stewardship? Here are two areas of focus that can be very effective:
Embed the cultural values and behaviors you seek into the leadership training of all managers, top-to-bottom in the organization. What are the leadership behaviors that will foster the right culture? Does your training emphasize the adoption of these values and behaviors as the baseline result of your training and development?
Keep the challenge manageable. You don’t have to train every leader all at once.
- Start with key mid and lower-level leadership teams that lead critical operational or functional groups.
- Get their buy-in and enlist their help in building a culture-focused development program. Learn a lot about how best to organize this program from this first round, then expand the initiative.
- Add groups that collaborate most closely with these core teams as the next set of leaders to convert.
- Use successful early participants as facilitators and guides of later rounds of the training and development.
Reinforce the cultural values and behaviors in the engagement programs that flow out of the leadership training. Focus on rewarding the adoption of great work habits. Your employee engagement program must give all your retrained leaders the support they need to practice and hone their new culture-building skill sets in the workplace.
- Coaching and mentoring should have a role in engagement programming as well as in leadership training. How can you help the retrained leaders serve as active coaches of subordinates?
- All employee appreciation tools should also remain focused on rewarding the preferred cultural behaviors.
- Mandate the creation of ongoing formal and informal feedback mechanisms. These constantly provide affirmations that the right culture is building, or insight into needed course corrections.
To obtain the right culture-building outcomes, you need an organized plan for embedding the right leadership behaviors first, then an engagement program that helps these leaders embed the new behaviors so that they become the natural behavioral mindsets of all employees.
You are playing a long game with culture. Take the time to delineate the values and behaviors you need to embed, set the program up around them, and move with all deliberate speed through implementation, course-correcting tactically to keep progressing towards the strategic cultural goal.