#4 Hardwire your culture
Our recent articles have been guiding you through how to create a deliberate culture in a hybrid world.
We have covered how to articulate what you want, how to align leaders and create a movement of advocates across your organisation to build momentum and energy for change.
At this point you can start to ‘hardwire’ the culture you want into your day-to-day working practices, polices and processes.
This step clearly separates the organisations who only have purpose and values on their websites from those who are living and breathing them every day. It differentiates organisations whose customers experience their culture in every interaction and tell others about it, creating loyalty and advocacy.
More than any other aspect of work, lockdown has changed traditional ways of working for the masses.
For many all meetings are now on-line, new collaboration tools are used for creative sessions, emergency policies have been written for health and safety and new recruits have yet to physically meet their teammates and manager.
These may be viewed as temporary measures, only required whilst enforced remote working is a necessity, but increasingly organisations are envisioning a future world of work which takes the best of our new ways of working and builds them deliberately into a future culture. Putting choice, flexibility and a healthy balance of wellbeing and productivity at its heart.
Now is an excellent time to reflect on the past year, to deliberately build the best learning and principles into your organisations’ future. Astute leaders are taking this a step further, taking the opportunity to reboot ways of working that have been needed for a long time for the organisation to remain relevant and become even more efficient, effective and competitive.
This can feel like an overwhelming task when most organisations have hundreds of working practices, often different in different teams. So where to start?
Successful organisations know which signature ways of working create most value for customers and set them apart from the competition. They ensure their culture, or values, are absolutely embedded through these and are religious in making sure they are adhered to.
McDonalds’ success relies on their ability to replicate their output across franchises quickly and consistently. Onboarding new franchisees is a critical way of working for them and their Hamburger University is central to this, where their values of Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value are taught in depth. Whether you love them or hate them, you can walk into any one of 38,000 McDonalds worldwide and know what to expect. The Hamburger University no doubt remains an integral part of the franchise on-boarding practice even in a hybrid world of work, it will just being delivered differently.
Tips to hardwire your future culture
- Use what you’ve learned – learn what has been most important to colleagues and customers over the past year and what will likely remain so in the next 12-18 months. Consider what has helped productivity, engagement, efficiency, revenue or customer experience since Covid – many organisations pivoted in record time.
- Less is more – identify the 2 or 3 working practices that you need to excel in to create most value for your customers, your business or your people. Become excellent in and fully embed these first.
- Kick the tyres on your people policies and processes – get an honest perspective from new recruits, people managers and leavers about the impact existing policies and processes are having. Decide what to keep and what to evolve eg new starters may have had a particularly tough time, finding it hard to build new relationships, acquire tacit knowledge and learn ‘on the job’, so onboarding practices will likely need a reboot.
- Co-design your ‘go-forward’ ways of working with the people most closely impacted. This is likely to be frontline colleagues and customers. Spend a ‘hybrid world of work day’ in your team or customers’ shoes and get a sense of other responsibilities they maybe juggling at home.
- Notice, reward and challenge behaviours that are in line with the culture you want. This can be harder now that we are working in a hybrid world, but regular straight-talking feedback and 360 tools still apply. And make sure everyone has the skills to coach performance
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