Time For a Change? Consider Company Culture In 2015

2015 culture change

As 2014 comes to a close, let’s take a moment to reflect on our business successes and opportunities. Maybe you’ve had a successful year. Your company hit a new milestone, or doubled your revenue.

Or, maybe your planning for next year was more about finding opportunities than celebrating success.

No matter what last year means to your organization, 2015 is a brand new year, and for most companies, it means an opportunity to do things differently. You may be wondering how to reignite the flame that drove your business in the very beginning. Maybe you need that one big change that’s going to excite your team to succeed in the New Year.

There have been a lot of trends in office design and management style come and go over the last few years. And if you’re looking for answers, it may be tempting to try one of these “innovative” ways of doing business. But, before you invest in a new putting green in your office or move to an open office design, make sure you’re making the changes for the right reasons.

Our team knows the importance of building a resilient company culture better than anyone. So we asked them to share one piece of advice for a business like yours as you head into 2015:

Dustin Schneider – Senior Associate

Dustin Schneider“Culture” was just recently named Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2014.  Culture, by their definition, represents the system of thinking, behaving, and working in organizations.

That’s big!

There is a lot of power wrapped up in that little definition, but there’s even more power in understanding it and acting based on it.  So if 2014 was the year of understanding the high-level concept, I think 2015 should be the year of diving into it.

Take a look under the hood and shine some light on the culture in your organizations.  Get out there, talk to people, hear the stories, question the underlying beliefs and assumptions, and take some steps toward addressing the elements of your culture that aren’t serving you well; whatever they might be.  If you do, I think you’ll find there’s a lot you can learn, and apply, that will have a real, tangible impact on your business.

Early favorite for 2015’s word of the year: performance.

Samantha Goldman – Associate

samantha-goldmanI recommend that every organization do a Values Audit.

An organization-wide exploration into how organizational values are reflected in policies, procedures, and day-to-day work, can be an enlightening first step in ensuring that your organization functions according to its stated values.

Solidifying this alignment is crucial to ensuring consistent messaging across the organization around what it rewards and punishes and values as a whole. This is a critical element of every high-performing culture. By auditing and refocusing your values, you’re giving your organization direction as you work toward building a culture that embodies its message.

Stuart Farrand – Associate

stuart-farrandEvery year organizations develop “new” initiatives that they plan to roll out in the coming year.  Many focus on new ways to manage the organization or more employee flexibility and autonomy.  These initiatives aim to enhance morale and get better buy-in from the workforce.

Unfortunately, much like most New Year’s resolutions, many of these great ideas fall by the wayside or don’t last very long once they are put into practice.  While there may be some logistics issues or market events that changed the original plan, not following through on these initiatives probably does more to alienate employees than if the organization had done nothing at all.

Regardless of the idea, organizations need to have a solid execution strategy that outlines the timeline, mechanics for implementation, costs, and associated risks (likelihood and impact) before the concept is communicated to employees.

Transparency and follow through are essential to success. If your plan lacks either, you may want to go back to the drawing board before announcing the next big thing.

Start At The Beginning

The biggest takeaway here is to focus on changes that align with your values and your company culture.

Painting the siding of your house doesn’t make it a more livable space for your family. You have to tear down walls, remove your old cabinets, and start rebuilding what you truly want.

Before you make any major changes to the surface of your business, like an office makeover, or a change to employee benefits, make sure it’s in the best interests of your underlying culture.

It takes a lot more work than you may have initially thought, but once you tear down the existing structure and rebuild, you’ll end up with the kind of behavior and culture you want from your people and organization as a whole.