Throughout your company, there are values, expectations, and best practices that guide your team members. Collectively, this is known as your organizational culture.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, this force exists, and it can have a major impact on your ERP implementation or business transformation. Achieving project success might mean changing your organizational culture, which isn’t easy.
Ideally, your culture should be one that:
- Encourages employees to be open to change
- Fosters trust in company leadership
- Enables team members to work collaboratively
It can be challenging to reconstruct closely-held beliefs to fit these ideals, so today, we’re sharing a few essential tips that can help make the process easier.
Navigating Change with Rick & Christi
Watch these short and sweet videos to learn about change management from the experts! The series features Rick Platz and Christi Trinder from Panorama’s change management team.
What are the Dangers of a Misaligned Culture?
What happens when your company’s culture doesn’t align with your new digital strategy? Here are a few issues that you may encounter.
1. Poor Hiring Decisions
If your strategy and culture are misaligned, you might hire external resources who check most of the boxes but leave a few major ones unchecked. As a rest, when you assemble your project team, your internal and external resources may be on different pages in terms of values and priorities.
2. Inefficient Performance Management
Constructive managerial feedback can correct issues, solve challenges, and fix pain points. However, it must be heard and heeded to be efficient.
Cultural misalignment can mean employees ignore your feedback. As a result, they work toward goals that are unrelated or in opposition to your project.
3. Lack of Employee Recognition
One study shows that 40% of Americans would put more energy into their work if they received positive recognition more often. However, the same study found that 52% of employees felt that their company’s reward strategy wasn’t aligned with organizational goals.
When your culture and your digital strategy are working in tandem, it’s easy to recognize and reward those who are making positive strides in the right direction. With this knowledge, you can spotlight their project support and encourage other employees to follow suit.
The Relationship Between Culture and Change Management
Both culture and organizational change management have the potential to drive your project forward. The key is to make sure one informs the other.
Here are a few steps you can take to coordinate your efforts:
1. Understand Your Current Culture
There are several different cultural dimensions that can impact an organization’s change management efforts. What is change management? This refers to the actions required to manage the “people side” of change. It’s about helping your company embrace new technology and business processes. Especially if your company is a global one, then you might find that all of these exist in some capacity:
- Employee assertiveness
- Level of emotional expressiveness
- Individual thought vs. collective thought
- Power distance (unequal vs. equal)
- Performance orientation
- Fear of uncertainty
Some of these might be relatively easy to understand. For example, some company cultures might value individualism more than collectivism, and vice versa. However, there are some dimensions you might not have considered before, such as employee assertiveness.
The cultural dimension of assertiveness can be difficult to track in an organization, but there are signs of it at work. Companies with low levels of this trait are more likely to communicate in a passive method that saves face, rather than directly sharing information. These companies might expect employees to simply follow their lead without giving them explicit instructions.
Before you can make any changes to your organizational culture, you need to know the factors that impact your current culture. In most cases, a company will fall somewhere on a spectrum of these dimensions. For instance, your employees may not avoid uncertainty altogether, but they might not outwardly embrace, it either.
These are only a few of the most common cultural dimensions, but the list is far from exhaustive. Viewing the process through this lens can help you develop a comprehensive change management plan that addresses all relevant cultural barriers.
2. Clarify Cultural Objectives
If your organization wants to change its culture, communication must be structured as a continuous feedback loop throughout all levels of leadership.
This starts with the executive team. Executives should begin by defining exactly what you’re working toward in terms of your company mission, vision, and values.
It’s important to write this information down and keep it in a place where it’s easy to access. Then, commit to reviewing these goals at least once a year, and reworking them any time your strategic direction changes.
3. Communicate With Mid-Level and Senior Managers
Once those objectives are solidified, it’s time to communicate them to the leaders who are next in the chain of command: mid-level and senior-level managers.
While executives may want to communicate with managers via a mass email, they should take the time to hold a meeting and share the information in person. This way, they can open the floor to feedback and can answer any questions.
Here are some examples of topics that executives and managers might discuss:
- Which internal processes need improvement to achieve strategic objectives and maintain our competitive advantage?
- What are our customer expectations and are we successfully meeting them with our products or services?
- Are our employees trained in the skills required to meet our objectives?
- Do employees generally trust the management team?
- Are we able to measure, in real-time, the performance of our company at a financial level?
After discussing these points, managers can communicate the new company culture with front-line managers. As part of this effort, they should provide front-line managers with the knowledge they need to adapt to change.
4. Communicate With Front-Line Managers
Executives and mid-level managers can talk about strategy and culture all day long. At the end of the day, it’s up to the front-line managers to make sure those objectives are communicated with the employees who can bring about real change.
To accomplish this, front-line managers need to fully understand your company’s strategic objectives and know where their tactical priorities lie. They can then use KPIs to track employee performance and make sure they’re achieving their assigned metrics. Then, they’ll report those findings back to upper management.
While these managers are an essential part of the process, they are also the most removed from the C-suite. Sometimes, this distance is even geographic in nature. As such, it’s easy for messages to get convoluted as they pass down the chain of command, so clear communication is key.
Change Your Company Culture the Right Way
Change is never easy. While that’s true all the time, you might feel the sentiment more strongly as you set out to change your company’s culture.
Changing organizational culture can be a time-consuming process, but it may be required to propel your ERP software implementation forward. Once you’re sure that your culture is working for your goals and not against them, you can rest assured that you’re making real progress.