2020 enforced organizational change in many companies. Remote working was often perceived as unfeasible prior to the pandemic, but bustling offices quickly went out of fashion as COVID-19 spread across the. Companies quickly adapted to the new set of circumstances and implemented innovative solutions to enable productivity from staff based at home, but whilst technological and practical tools can quickly adapt, cultural change is often slower to move.
In the face of these cultural shifts, organizations are now facing the challenge of communicating new company culture, both to new recruits during the recruitment process as well as to existing personnel. Having staff that are both committed to and cognizant of the cultural climate is vital to organizational success, so let’s explore how best to communicate cultural change within your company.
The intimate relationship between culture, behavior and values is not easily untangled. Company culture is built up around personal behavior, which is influenced by personal values. “Communicating cultural changes through executive diktats rarely succeeds in changing employees behavior and thus often fails to effectively implement cultural change,” says Jane D. Cain, a writer at OXEssays and Essayroo. “Rather, exploring the values of your company and encouraging behavioral change in day-to-day ways can be more effective at articulating the cultural change your organization needs to see.”
For example, whereas collaboration might have been a priority value for your organization pre-pandemic, and one which strongly influenced company culture, changed ways of working might be eroding the ability of your staff to collaborate through screens and across time-zones. Revisiting this as a value and finding new tools for encouraging it can provide successful avenues for communicating cultural changes.
The Mission Statement
When you’re trying to communicate broad cultural changes within your organization, revisiting your company branding can signal these changes both internally and externally. Indicating cultural changes through branding can help you stand out as an employer, drawing top talent who might otherwise have been tempted by your competitors.
Communicating cultural changes through branding can be effectively done within your organization’s mission statement. This is the number one way in which new recruits find out what your company is all about. Internal cultural changes might be reflected in the direction your organization is headed, and if so signalling these through an updated mission statement sends a strong message about your changed course.
Policy changes on a lower level can enable changed company culture to be broadly understood within your organization. For example, if you previously expected employees to be at their desks from 9-5, you might be finding that remote working allows you to offer more flexibility and autonomy within working hours. Making internal policy changes codifies these cultural adaptations and gives employees sure footing. Often, communications about cultural changes within a workplace are met with skepticism, an attitude of “we’ll believe it when we see it”. Make sure it’s there for everyone to see.
Action speaks louder than words, so when you’re communicating your cultural changes find ways to have these changes materialize for your employees. “Benefits packages are a great way to emphasize real change within your organization,” says Charlotte Acker, a HR manager at Boomessays and Paperfellows. “Whether you’re remodeling your lunch program to include healthier options or offering better healthcare to your employees, getting employees on board with cultural change is the way to make it stick.”
Give Employees a Platform
Because corporate change is firmly influenced by employee behavior, executives have to view cultural change as a collaborative effort. When it comes time to communicate cultural changes throughout your organization, give employees a platform for engaging with the suggested changes.
Creating forums for employees to discuss and respond to a new cultural direction within the company helps them to feel heard and valued, meaning more engaged and productive employees in general. It also enables your employees to identify with the company culture, working seamlessly with it rather than meeting it with friction and antagonism. It’s vital that the process of employee consultation isn’t superficial – it must be met with real engagement from executives, otherwise it will be a transparent exercise which alienates staff. Listen with an open mind.
Change is never easy, and often communicating change to enable effective implementation of a new company culture is a slow process. Employees are naturally skeptical about culture change and are often firmly fixed in their ways. Using material signals to indicate that change is real, serious and permanent as well as offering employees a platform for communicating their response is vital to bringing everyone on board. Companies need to adapt to survive in times of a crisis, so ensure your adaptation is a success through the effective communication of your new cultural direction.