It’s October and kids all around the world are gearing up for a scary Halloween season. But being scared isn’t reserved just for Halloween. There are many situations at home and in the workplace that can provoke a sense of fear. For example, choosing to assess your culture can be a scary proposition. If the culture of the organization is set by the leaders, then a cultural assessment becomes an assessment of them. Opening yourself up to this review can be a daunting proposition.
Fear #1 – My organization’s culture is not as good as I think it is. Getting survey results can be a nerve-wracking adventure, whether it’s about personal performance or employee engagement. At first you may have feelings of anger or denial when you review the information. But something motivated you to do the assessment in the first place. It’s all about creating better workplaces to fuel your people, profit and potential, and that’s a good thing.
Fear #2 – Once I open the can of worms what will I do about it? OK, you’ve braced yourself for the results, reviewed them and accepted the verdict from your employees. Now what? Even if the results are good, you want to make sure that you don’t lose ground going forward. And, there is always room for improvement. The worst thing you can do is to launch the assessment and then ignore the results. This behaviour will impact your credibility with your employees.
The assessment information is really just an easy door opener to robust and deep conversations with your employees. Employees will be happy to give you ideas on how you can adjust the way work gets done. Once you know where you stand you can move forward and design a culture that will maximize the performance of your organization. The IGNITE process of Inquire, Gather, Name, Imbed, Track and Evaluate can help you step through your culture initiative.
Fear #3 – It’s going to be too expensive and time consuming to deal with my organization’s culture. The cost of an initial survey isn’t as much as you might think. However, the cost of negative or limiting values in your organization can really add up. Just think how employee turnover, poor productivity, bureaucracy or confusion might be impacting your bottom line. Can you afford not to know the state and cost of your current corporate culture?
And when it comes to improving culture, it’s not all about expensive employee perks. Sure we’ve heard about Google’s free on-site laundromat, meals and fitness centres but not everyone can afford this level of employee benefits. In fact, one benefit that most employees are looking for is just a simple acknowledgement of the value they are adding. Thank you’s don’t cost anything except the time to say them, but they go a long way to building a positive culture.
Stepping out and taking the pulse on your culture can be a scary proposition. Your organization may contain some unknown skeletons. Don’t wait for your business to turn into a haunted house or allow employees with poor behaviour to grow into culture vultures. In the words of General Norman Schawarzkopf “True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow, that’s what courage is.”
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