Cultural Credibility

Not long ago, the primary reason that most employees left their companies was because of a bad manager.  Today, the most prominent reason for voluntary exits is a mismatch between an employee’s values and the organization’s culture.  

This new reality is an invitation for an organization to assess the impact its culture is having on employee motivation and retention.  At every step of the employee life cycle, your culture is either providing positive nutrients to a healthy relationship or it’s chipping away at an employee’s declining level of engagement.  

First impressions matter… a lot.  An effective orientation should provide a rich introduction to the organization for your new hires.  The onboarding process that begins on day one and ends months later should provide all of the informational, social, technical and other tools needed for a meaningful integration into an organization’s culture.  

Many organizations struggle with employee integration and I believe that this is largely because they do not have accurate information about culture to share.  

How one collects such engagement and cultural data will depend upon the size and structure of the organization.  There are assessments and surveys of every scale and price point on the market.  However, if something like cultural awareness and health is really important to an organization, normalizing honest communication about it is an essential first step.  

Internal communication can no longer be left to chance.  Creating opportunities for intentional dialogue about culture at all levels of a company, during leadership and team meetings and reinforcing these values in decision-making, actions and accountability (like performance management) will lead to credibility.  

Culture is happening all around you; whether you are paying attention or not.  I believe the call of every leader is to maintain an unfiltered ear to the ground in order to discover how things really are being done in the organization and to make every effort, in an ongoing way, to align all systems with the organization’s culture and values.