There are many reasons an organization might want to change its culture. One of the most common is an ERP implementation. Regardless of your reason for wanting to change your company culture, there are certain best practices that apply across the board. Today, we’re sharing tips for implementing culture change in the workplace using basic organizational change management principles.

What is Organizational Change Management?

Organizational change management (OCM) is a set of methodologies and tools for managing the human side of change. Whether you’re changing your company’s technology, processes, culture, or all of the above, OCM is essential.

But enough jargon. Let’s just chat about some practical tips for changing your workplace culture . . . .

9 Tips for Implementing Culture Change in the Workplace

1. Define Your Future State​

Early communication is essential. Therein lies the importance of defining your future state: A clear understanding of where you want your company to be in five years helps you clearly communicate with employees sooner rather than later.

When it comes to a culture change initiative, you must understand your organizational goals and the workplace culture that is necessary to achieve these goals. Collaborate with key stakeholders to understand what kind of culture you need to promote. Then, communicate this vision to employees by emphasizing its alignment with the company’s current values.

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2. Involve Employees in the Culture Change

You should involve employees in every stage of the change, from the planning stage to the implementation and evaluation stage.

Your employees are the backbone of your organization, and their involvement in the culture change is essential. Employees who are part of the change process are more likely to embrace the new culture and work towards achieving the desired outcomes.

Employee involvement also enables you to leverage their subject matter expertise and their familiarity with their department’s business processes.

3. Communicate Effectively and Consistently

As mentioned, effective communication is critical in any change initiative. Culture change is no exception.

While it’s important to communicate the vision for your future state, it’s also important to communicate the specific benefits of the change. As you achieve these benefits, you can then communicate the progress.

Effective communication is clear, concise, and timely. Be sure to use multiple channels to ensure all employees are engaged in the culture change process.

4. Provide Adequate Training and Support

Culture change often coincides with new business processes, so make sure to adequately train your employees to make the transition. We recommend tailoring training to the specific needs of each functional area.

It’s also important to conduct frequent follow-up training sessions to ensure employees continue to adopt any new technology and processes.

5. Lead by Example​

When implementing culture change in the workplace, executives must model the new behaviors and demonstrate their commitment to the change. Most importantly, they should hold themselves and their team accountable for achieving project goals.

Assigning someone as the executive sponsor of your culture change initiative ensures you have at least one executive dedicated to championing the project. A leader who practices what they preach is more likely to build trust among employees

6. Identify Culture Change Champions

Your executive sponsor shouldn’t be the only one championing change. Consider appointing an employee as a culture change champion. This should be someone who’s enthusiastic about the change and can influence their peers to adopt any new processes or technology.

In addition to inspiring team members, a change champion is also responsible for tailoring ongoing communication to an individual employee level.

7. Address Resistance to Change

While there are many other organizational change management activities that apply to culture change, resistance management is one of the most important.

We recommend identifying potential sources of resistance and developing a plan to address them. The plan might include the following activities:

  • Allowing naysayers to share their thoughts
  • Assigning department heads and executives to serve as spokespeople
  • Preparing project team members to answer questions and dispel rumors

8. Measure and Evaluate Progress

Implementing culture change in the workplace requires ongoing measurement and evaluation. It’s important to establish key performance indicators at the beginning of your project and track them regularly.

In addition to hard numbers, employee feedback can also be enlightening. You might want to conduct surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one meetings to understand employees’ sentiments toward the new culture before and after it’s rolled out.

Based on the data and feedback you collect, be sure to address any issues and make improvements to your culture change approach.

9. Maintain the New Culture

Culture change is not a one-time event but a continuous process. You must maintain the new culture to ensure it becomes part of the organization’s DNA. This requires ongoing reinforcement, communication, and recognition.

For example, regularly recognizing individuals or teams who embody the new culture can be effective at keeping employees motivated to maintain the change. Similarly, celebrating small wins and sharing success stories can boost morale.

Next Steps: Understanding the Culture Change Process​

Implementing culture change in the workplace can be a daunting task, but it is essential if you want to align your company’s values, mission, and goals with day-to-day operations. Contact our change management consultants below for a free consultation.

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