Communicating Corporate Culture to Employees
Q: I just found out about this Website and it seems that it provides many cases that may be applicable to our operational duties. I am handling the corporate communications department of a publicly listed company in the country. The management had actually come out with the vision, mission & culture as tools to direct the company’s objectives. I have difficulties in promoting the corporate culture to employees. I tried many methods, writing (either in our newsletter, leaflets, or even through stories about real employees in which I have conveyed the stories of our founder director), speeches (through our monthly assembly, family day). Still it seems dull and dry. The management wants me to do something about it! And now I am planning for a whole year campaign of the corporate culture!! (i.e. Best Effort, Responsibility, Integrity….) Can you suggest to me how/what is the best or few methods (rather than what I have done before) that I can include in the campaign! Or other ideas or examples?
Thanking you from Malaysia
A: Dear Surati,
Two things come to mind. First, to make any kind of change in a workforce, employees need to become involved, not just informed. Second, it’s difficult to tell how well the culture is working without measurement. Here’s something we did at a former company I worked at that really made a difference.
First, we communicated our new vision and values through meetings with employees, videos, newsletters, posters, wallet cards, etc. Then we conducted an employee opinion survey. The survey was broken into sections with headlines. Each headline reflected either a part of our mission or one of our values. Some sections had a few questions, others had more. Most of these were traditional survey questions, but because we organized them according to our new culture, we showed employees that we wanted to measure how we were doing on each aspect of our stated new culture.
The results showed that some things were going well while others were really bad. We identified about seven items we wanted to improve on over the next year. We organized task forces of employees in each department in each location to come up with suggestions for those seven items that THEY COULD IMPLEMENT in their own work groups that would better reflect the ideal culture. These were not ideas for someone at corporate office to implement. These were things like how they treat each other, how they approach projects, how they talk with customers, etc. that was relevant to their own jobs. Of course, we communicated throughout the year what all the task forces were doing.
One year later, the some of the targeted items on the survey improved from 15 to 20 percentage points. A huge success in changing the culture at the work group level–and having measurements to prove it.
I hope this gives you some new ideas. Good luck, and stay in touch.
Angela D. Sinickas