I want to dive into an inspiring initiative that caught my attention in the ever-evolving world of company culture. It concerns a Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at a significant electronic company based in Japan, responsible for a 70,000-person workforce with a substantial US division. As you can imagine, the challenges of maintaining employee engagement in a hybrid work environment have become a top priority.
In response to this, a global directive emerged: “Purpose Month.” The concept behind this suggestion is to connect employees to their personal purpose, and their organization’s purpose, and to foster meaningful interactions within the remote work landscape. Cross-organizational teams, comprising people who don’t typically work together, are formed to engage in thoughtful conversation about purpose. Each group works in even smaller breakouts during 6 sessions in which six key questions are discussed. These questions revolve around the theme of purpose and aim to create a more profound sense of connection within the company.
Every week, employees delve into a new question that probes the essence of their individual and collective purpose. These questions include:
· What is your purpose?
· How does your personal purpose align with the company’s purpose?
· What are your personal values?
· What are your values at work?
· How do these values interact?
· How do you show up to impact our collective strategic initiatives?
This unique approach is about more than just fostering engagement; it’s about deepening the connection between employees, their personal values, and the organization’s mission. It encourages a level of introspection and transparency that allows for empathy and honesty in a remote work world. (maybe call out last week’s newsletter about the trust triangle).
Additionally, one standout feature of this initiative is the use of a discussion forum, where employees can share their thoughts, experiences, and insights. This forum provides a safe space for employees to connect with each other and express their views in a world that increasingly relies on virtual interactions.
But perhaps the most intriguing element of “Purpose Month” is the idea of cascading purpose. We are all familiar with cascading goals and objectives, but what about cascading purpose throughout an organization? This approach acknowledges that an organization’s purpose is not just a statement but a shared journey that involves every individual.
Elsewhere In Culture
Change, a ubiquitous force in the business world, often invokes a sense of apprehension; however, acknowledging this reality is crucial for leaders seeking to navigate organizational shifts with resilience and adaptability.
In this thought-provoking article, Rebecca Newton delves into the often-neglected challenge faced by leaders during times of significant organizational change — the task of preserving a company’s culture. I fully appreciate Newton’s emphasis on the profound impact culture has on a company’s performance, value, and ability to navigate change effectively. She astutely recognizes that while much attention is given to the initiation of cultural transformations, sustaining a steady culture amid transitions such as M&As, digital strategies, and leadership changes is equally critical. Drawing on her extensive experience as an organizational and social psychologist, Newton provides four insightful strategies.
These include the need to explicitly identify and act on the elements of culture worth retaining, attentively listening to employee concerns to identify potential culture shifts, avoiding the trap of nostalgia by aligning retained cultural elements with the company’s purpose and strategy and employing data-driven approaches such as regular culture assessments to proactively address unwanted shifts.
As Newton aptly concludes, culture is a collective responsibility that transcends HR, urging leaders to not only drive necessary changes but also safeguard the core aspects of their culture that contribute to sustained success in the face of dynamic challenges.
On the topic of change, a pivotal shift from flashy perks to a strategic rethink of organizational structures is essential for effective employee retention.
Through many business triumphs, smart leaders recognize that company culture isn’t just important; it’s a downright essential investment. Jason Hennessey’s piece, “Stop Trying to Retain Employees With Flashy Perks. Rethink Your Organizational Structure Instead,” sheds light on how an organization’s structure quietly shapes its culture. Sure, team-building exercises and office parties have their perks, but they might not be the game-changers for company culture.
Hennessey suggests that the very backbone of an organization—the way it’s structured—can be a game-changer. He’s all for leaders shaking things up, making communication flow at every level, and empowering everyone to make decisions, fostering a culture where people feel truly invested. Hennessey also gives a nod to team diversity for spicing up creativity and collaboration. It’s all about shared goals and responsibility, steering clear of unnecessary office competition.
Lastly, he hammers home the importance of flexibility and resilience to keep that vibrant company culture intact through thick and thin. As someone deeply entrenched in the company culture scene, I resonate with Hennessey’s stance, highlighting how organizational structures hold the keys to shaping and sustaining a lively and collaborative culture.