This is a guest post by Catherine Mattice Zundel, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP of Civility Partners.
Your organization has A culture. Whether it’s a good one or not depends.
If you don’t put time and resources towards ensuring it’s positive, it can get out of control. As consultants focused on turning ugly cultures to good cultures, most of our (Civility Partners) clients come to us when “it” hit the fan.
Their journey might be of interest to you if you’re not managing culture regularly.
Phase 1. Demoralized - Organizations not focused on culture will eventually end up here. People are burned out, there’s bullying and harassment, and people are disloyal. Sadly, many organizations in this phase don’t know they’re in this phase because they aren’t paying attention.
Phase 2. Big Event – Often organizations in Phase 1 snap out of it when something happens. Someone files a hostile work environment complaint, or writes a blog post about their #MeToo experience that goes viral.
Phase 3. Band-aid Actions – Lost on where to go from here, lots of organizations turn to training. Unless the organization’s culture supports the training, however, it won’t make much difference. Other organizations decide the event was a one-time thing and keep moving forward pretending it was irrelevant. This is not a good choice, trust me.
Phase 4. Solutions – Smart organizations contact us because they know the big event was only an indictor of something bigger. We conduct custom assessments with these clients so we can understand what’s happening, including interviews with randomly selected employees. The most important thing for our client to do at this point is take ownership of what happened. This is because all of that negativity has caused a lot of pain, and employees need acknowledgement of their pain to move forward.
Phase 5. Keep moving – Culture change is a long process, and is about instilling new habits. In this phase, we work with our clients to create a series of small and large steps, and it can take a while for employees to feel a new vibe. While we find that our assessment scores go up after a year of working with clients, we also know the organization still has a very long way to go.
Phase 6. Never-ending work – Culture can never be ignored – it must be cared for and nurtured. The last stage of culture change, then, is the ongoing and never-ending process of maintaining a positive culture. We always recommend a team of employees keep their eye on it, and continue to implement strategies and steps to keep it going in the right direction.
If you’d like to know where your culture stands, we suggest our quick assessment. It’ll help you determine whether your organization has a culture of workplace bullying.