Having a well-defined company culture is important. We talk about it a lot. Culture drives branding, talent acquisition, decision-making, etc. But sometimes, the discussions about company culture can seem a bit “rah-rah”. You know, a bit more qualitative and not enough quantitative.
I’m not saying that culture should be a 100 percent quantitative topic. In fact, my position about metrics and measurement has really evolved. For years, we’ve said HR needs to know the numbers. And that’s true, HR does need to understand metrics, data, analytics, etc. But storytelling is a powerful tool. I believe the best approach is to do both. Tell the story and back it up with numbers.
How can we apply this to conversations about company culture?
At a conference this year, I heard a great session about connecting culture and metrics. The speaker talked about the need to amplify company culture. Think of it like a megaphone. You have a culture. What are you doing to make sure it stays in the forefront of everything you do? To keep culture alive, it needs to be broadcast and measured.
I learned in the presentation that there are three steps to creating a culture “megaphone” strategy:
- Think about the behaviors the company exhibits. Those are the behaviors that get magnified.
- Think about the actions the company celebrates. Those are the actions that turn into habits.
- Create a data point between the behaviors and the habits. That holds people accountable.
Organizations that are having conversations right now about their culture, might want to consider asking themselves about these three steps.
- What are the behaviors that the company exhibits? Are they in alignment with the culture you seek?
- What are the actions that the company celebrates? Is the company celebrating the right things (i.e. things that align with the desired culture)?
- Finally, is the company reinforcing their culture enough? And are the right people reinforcing the culture?
It would be interesting to see if everyone in the organization is on the same page where company culture is concerned. Would everyone answer the questions the same way? And could they provide examples – clear, specific examples – of how the company’s words and deeds are in alignment with culture.
I believe it’s very easy to lose sight of company culture. Once it’s gone, culture can be difficult to get back. One person cannot carry the company’s culture megaphone. It’s something that everyone must agree they will do together.
Image courtesy of Deadpool – be sure to check out the latest trailer (and you should probably do it from home, just sayin).12