A healthy, organizational culture lets employees do their best work. The big takeaway is simple: Be clear on your values, how they show up in behaviors, and then integrate them into your processes and practices.
At the day-to-day level, opportunities are everywhere, even in our remote work environments. That’s because culture lives in every facet of an organization. Intentionally integrating it into operational cycles provides employees at every level with consistent norms. A common language and a clear roadmap define not only what needs to get done, but expectations of how it can be done most effectively.
During a recent fireside chat, culture expert Melissa Daimler of Daimler Partners spoke with Virbela Chief Customer Officer Craig Kaplan. The two leaders shared how they grow organizational culture at some of the world’s most innovative companies—and how anyone can do the same where they work.
Daimler has led organizational development, talent, and learning at Twitter, Adobe, and WeWork. Over the course of more than 20 years, her lessons learned are from direct experience with the world’s most innovative companies.
Applying her strategies to organizations of all sizes, she shares her best practices.
- Define your company values. Values are at the center of culture, but they’re just words if they’re not exemplified in behaviors, integrated into processes, and referenced through practices.
- Be intentional and explicit with your practices. Clarify practices that may be assumed or discussed in an office setting. Discuss team practices like asynchronous communication, meetings, decision making, and feedback so everyone understands each other’s expectations.
- Map processes to behaviors. Integrate behaviors into your people processes: how you hire, onboard, develop, reward, give and receive feedback, recognize, promote, and even offboard.
- Review your culture. Like your strategy, culture needs to be reviewed consistently, especially at a fast-growing company. Check in on how employees are exemplifying the behaviors, how the processes are reinforcing them, and how the practices are scaling with the business.
Culture by Design
A culture by design strengthens; a culture by default can do damage. So, how do you design your culture?
Here are a few questions leaders can ask themselves and their teams:
- Where do company values show up across organizational processes or practices? Do leaders know what they are? Do they leverage them in conversations around hiring, development, promotion?
- What are the stories embedded into the folklore of the company? How do values show up in these stories?
- Ask employees what’s working about their everyday experience. When they are having a good day, what is happening? What are they—or others—doing or not doing?
- As you identify behaviors, are they observable, global, and diverse?
By embedding behaviors into processes and everyday practices, you’re strengthening your culture. As we start to think more about creating a hybrid working environment, focusing on these cultural elements becomes even more important.
To learn more about how to keep culture growing strong, you can follow Melissa Daimler on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and watch the full discussion, Driving a Remote Cultural Evolution.