Talk about it.

organizational culture, analysis and development concept

Leaders want to integrate core values, mission-critical goals and culture into the DNA of their companies. Internal marketing and communication teams align to that goal by promoting culture through internal campaigns. Human resource groups survey employees to see if it is happening.

Building an organizational culture that reflects corporate values, prioritizes goals, engages employees and drives results is a number one priority for most businesses. Getting to that state, however, can often be over-complicated. Leaders may look to HR, Communications or Marketing to “get it done” but when they look around and assess that culture transformation is not happening they need to turn the mirror on themselves.

Promotional efforts are important and essential but in reality if leaders are not talking about the business priorities and cultural imperatives, it won’t happen. Employees may see the posters, read the campaigns and view scorecards but if their direct manager does not talk it up and make culture relevant and specific to them, it just won’t stick.

Here are some low cost, high return best practices for driving culture and keeping it top of mind with your team members:

Kick off every staff meeting by focusing on one core value. Provide an example of how that value lives and breathes daily within your world of work. If “Teamwork” is a core value talk about an example of it in action that you witnessed in the past week.
Assign a direct report a particular cultural imperative and ask them to speak to what it means to them at the start of a meeting. “Carol, I’d like you to start our meeting on Monday with what “Innovation” means to you and when you last saw an example of it at work.”
Video-conference or Skype your team with a quote, news story, or thought of the day that highlights a core value. If your value is “Persistence” you might share snapshots of famous stories that illustrate how persistence pays off: J. K Rowling was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, and a single mom, who went to school while writing Harry Potter. Rowling went from needing government assistance to being one of the richest women in the world in a 5-year span through her hard work and PERSISTENCE. Ask them to come up with their own examples for the next call.

Staff meetings, round tables, Town Halls, conference calls…whatever your venues are for being face-to-face or voice-to-voice with your people, be sure to carve out a couple of minutes to talk culture. When they know it is front-and-center for you, it will be for them too.