blog banner
Charity Culture: Five Tips to Achieve Positive Culture Change

Charity Culture: Five Tips to Achieve Positive Culture Change


JESSICA:
Thank you. Thank you. It’s so wonderful to to be
here and remotely connecting with you all;
technology is pretty amazing. We are of course going to be
taking a look at five tips to achieve positive
culture change. So talking about why culture,
which is a much overlooked part of an organization’s
success, is so important within the nonprofit sector
in particular and how you can use it
to your advantage. So a little bit about
myself and our company. So I am the national director
for Kin&Co Canada as Marina mentioned. I have hearkened from
the area of sustainability, communications, and strategy,
and culture work for the past decade,
most recently as the chief
sustainability officer for OCS, a mid-size
distribution company in Toronto, where a big part of
my focus was on workplace culture. That’s actually why I was so
excited to get on board with Kin&Co when we launched
in Canada a little over a year ago because it fused together
all of the things that I am very passionate
about and you know, looking to transform workplace
cultures across Canada. The actual purpose for Kin&Co
is to fix the way the world works, so that
obviously ties in very nicely. Kin&Co is a B Corp
certified Global Culture, Behavior Change, and
Communications consultancy, which helps organizations
across all sectors. So we’re actually quite sector
agnostic but we do have a lot of expertise particularly
in the nonprofit space, transform their cultures
using the power of values and purpose by defining them,
tangibly bringing it to life in their organizations
and helping them then to communicate that
amazing work externally. So we’ve been working
all over the world. Our headquarters is
actually in London, UK, with organizations
like Danone, TripAdvisor, WWF, Shelter Box,
and in Canada with CPA Canada, Endeavor Silver Corporation, the Conference Board
of Canada, Montreal Airport
just to name a few. So hello, we are Kin&Co. That’s a shot from one of
our team outings recently, by the way. So before we
actually get started, I wanted to begin with a quick
warm-up because one of our values is to
stay playful, so we are always
making sure that our workshops
and presentations and such are fun. I will do my best to
represent that here today. So I’m going to read out
a description of well-known companies’ cultural
environments and I want you to answer in the chat
or you can just you know, take a stab at guessing
who these apply to, and yeah we’ll be specifically
describing for-profit businesses here and you’ll
see why in just a moment. So, first one is “This company
fosters a sense of belonging for their employees. All their meeting rooms are
decorated like houses. Each member of staff has
its own profile page on the intranet sharing
personal information.” Any guesses? If you guessed airbnb,
you would be correct. You caught the connection
that this company brought from their branding straight
over to their employees, and the connectivity is what
is fun and sets them apart and finding similar links within
a non-profit is you know, commonly attainable. How about this one? “This company’s workspace
embodies its ethical and adventure-focused culture. The office – made from
sustainable materials – includes a huge balcony
overlooking the mountains of Vancouver.” And I can say personally if
you’ve been to their offices, they are outstanding. So if you guessed MEC,
then you guess correctly. Again MEC has aligned their
branding with their employee workplace. This makes it easy for
their team to connect with the bigger picture and is
definitely something that, you know, could also be
translated into the nonprofit world to build
a competitive edge. And finally, this
international company is known for unique and
creative work spaces that include an
office putting green, an authentic
jungle in Dublin, beach volleyball and
climbing walls in California, an authentic New York
apartment-styled conference room
and a virtual library with secret
revolving bookcases ileading to
other departments. So besides the fact that this
just sounds like a very cool place to work, any guesses
on who this belongs to? Ah-ha. I see people jumping to it. That is correct, Google. And the theme of all of
these elements for them is the tie-in to the creativity
that they are looking to cultivate within their company. Now, these are all three orgs
that have taken it to someone of the extreme, but you don’t need to
go to these lengths to build a great culture. We’ve actually found that
one of the biggest reasons why nonprofits have shied away
from investing in culture is because it always
seems to require, you know, quote unquote
big scale or huge investment, and you know,
often that is just not possible. However, there are a ton of
low hanging fruit tactics and initiatives that you can put
in place which are at little investment
for your orgs. For example at our
environment at Kin&Co, we do things like
quarterly power-ups, which are fun days spent with
the team doing everything from scavenger hunts in
a museum to potlucks picnics in the park. You may have noticed the
Wednesday afternoon on the first page, which is where
that we actually work 4.5 days a week and it has
increased our productivity and also improved our bottom
line returns and overall the happiness of our team. So win win win. We do things like penguin
shout outs or pointers, which is a playful way
of providing constructive feedback and
support to each other to foster, you know,
an open environment. We also do little things like
Monday Huddles where we have a meeting where we
spend the first half hour just chatting about
our weekends and such with the intention that
you know, we build team camaraderie
and it can’t only be about business
all the time. So of course for us the values
are the cornerstone of all of these elements
and we’ll take a look at how that all links together
in just a moment. So as a little recap of what
we’ll be looking at today, first the why and what. If you caught the article
that went out last week on the charity culture space
will do a quick recap on that. We’ll look at 5 steps to
a positive culture and then take some key takeaways
and a little Q&A session. So first up, what do we
actually mean by the term ‘culture’? Lots of people struggle to
articulate what we mean by culture because it’s not as
tangible or as easy to grasp hold of as something like
say marketing or finance. It’s also complex. It’s made up of
many different layers, from symbols. Like for instance,
does your management team sit in a closed office where
staff aren’t permitted to enter without appointment,
to behaviors. In other words are your
managers encouraged to micromanage their teams,
or are they acting to empower their teams? To assumptions. So do people assume that they
will be blamed or told off if something goes wrong? Then there are also areas like
how you celebrate together, what language you use,
your values, your power structures, and how
you actually make decisions. All of these
make up a culture. But I prefer how
Charles Gandy describes it. It’s just “The way we
do things around here.” For me that sums that up
really well and is a really human and relatable way
to explain it to any employee at any level
in the organization. But… why should you care? I think, you know, when
we’re working with different companies, the common assumption
has been that we assume nonprofits can attract
people because of the passion for the cause or the mission,
but the reality is that you know, the nonprofit sector
actually no longer has the competitive edge on
this because of the rise of purpose-driven businesses,
organizations that exist for the greater good as
well as making profits, and often they have bigger
budgets hitting the market and you know, this makes
competition for talent much tougher. Without investing in culture,
nonprofits risk losing their edge completely. And you know, in essence
no longer have the monopoly on purpose,
which is actually great. It’s wonderful that we’re
seeing it expanding into the business community. It just simply means that it
is not enough in and of itself and it’s not necessarily
what a good culture is, either. So a couple of
examples is, you know, we’ve already
talked about MEC, whose mission sits at the
heart of everything they do, Blackbaud is one of our
clients who have offices here in Canada and do cloud
and tech solutions specifically for nonprofits
focusing on connecting and equipping a global
ecosystem of good. We worked with Danone who’s
a company that is actually now the largest multinational
business to announce an ambition to join the B Corp
movement and get all of their different businesses and
partnering units on board with that which is an endeavor
that we help them with. Then you have companies
like Whole Foods, whose actual mission is
“With great courage, integrity, and love, we embrace
our responsibility to co-create a world
where each of us, our communities,
and our planet can flourish,” and to this end the
multi-billion dollar business actually donates over 5% of
its annual net profits to charitable causes. It is involved in a lot of
efforts to safeguard the environment, foster fair
trade in its supply chains, improve food safety
and even ensure the humane treatment of animals,
then you have your out, or, not your outliers, rather
your common ones that everyone knows,
your Unilever’s of the world. Then you’ve got people like
The Container Store which is actually less known for the
fact that their core purpose is to put employees first. So we actually pay 50-100%
above the industry average and provide 240 hours
of training compared to the measly average of seven. In fact in the
2008-9 recession, not a single
employee was let go. And actually they’ve won a lot
of different awards for their employee engagement. So as you can see, purpose-led
businesses are really stepping it up and frankly
will only continue to do so with all of the societal
expectations mounting on orgs to do well
while doing good. So I’d like to take
a moment and run a poll. So which of these issues have
you encountered within your organizations? Difficulty attracting talent, high staff turnover /
keeping talent, lack of interest
or investment in culture, people complaining about lack
of development opportunities, or poor staff morale? And apply, check as
many as you want to apply. MARINA:
Great. So we’ve got the poll
up on the screen. So just go ahead
and check which, as Jessica said,
as many as apply. And it looks like we’ve got,
just going to wait just another moment here. Make sure we’ve got the
majority of folks voting here. JESSICA:
Yeah, it’s really
interesting to see because these are all leveling
out pretty well, actually. MARINA:
Uh-huh, Jessica,
I’m going to close the poll now and just share it
with everyone so they can take a look at what
everyone had to say. JESSICA:
Perfect. MARINA:
So you should all
see that on your screen now. So those are
interesting results, Jessica. Are they in line
with what you expected? JESSICA:
Yeah, I mean
it’s a little bit of a trick question, I won’t lie. Because of the end of the day
all of these stem from a poor or ultimately
dysfunctional culture. So typically
when you have one, you have them all. So thank you for
sharing, everyone. I’d like to now take
a look at you know, we know what it is and why
it’s important when we talk about culture, but if we don’t currently
have a focus on culture, what can we do about it
in our organization? So, I’d like to begin by first
talking about the cornerstones of a successful culture. So, once again, I’m going to
do a little rapid fire here where I’d like everyone to
share a couple of words that describe a good culture. So, using the chat function,
I’ll take the next 30 seconds for you to share. So for instance,
it could be playful, results-oriented, innovative,
supportive, etc. What are things that
you feel are part of a good culture? MARINA:
Thanks, everybody. I see lots and lots of
great comments coming in. So Jessica,
we’re seeing trust, collaborative,
accountable, engaged, encouraging,
supportive, transparent. Autonomy,
that’s a great one, too. JESSICA:
Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing. So, again a little bit of a
trick question because the point is that actually
culture is subjective. So what might be good to one
person may not necessarily be good for another. In fact, it might
even be a nightmare. One person may prefer freedom
and autonomy in their role and the other may like to be given specific tasks
and targets. And neither of those is
actually good or bad, right or wrong. What it comes down to
is it’s actually up to the organization itself
to set out what its culture should be
and then live it. In the end it’ll either be
strong and well embedded, or it’ll be weak, where no one
knows what it’s actually meant to be, and the purpose and values
are what should guide this discussion
internally. One very common issue that
I’ll note that we see rampant particularly,
I mean across all sectors, but particularly in
the nonprofit sector is the copy/paste sort of
generic values syndrome, I.e. integrity,
respect, accountability. They’re everywhere
and ultimately employees can’t actually feel the lack,
or can feel rather, the lack of
authenticity in them. So it begs the question
what is actually guiding their organization? Your culture just needs to
be unique to your people, to your purpose,
to your values, your ethos, your ways of working. We say this all the time
when working with clients. We are experts on culture,
but you are experts on your organizations. It only works when
everybody co-creates together. And the reality is
whether you like it or not, your organization
has a culture. It’s not optional,
it exists already. So next time
you’re in the office, I encourage you to
notice around you, what are the
habits and routines? What are the
underlying assumptions? They’re there,
you can’t ignore them. But if you can get them right
you can sincerely use it to transform your organizations. So what makes
a strong culture? How do we get there? So at Kin&Co, we use
a model called Find, Live, Communicate. So Find is about consulting
everyone to co-create your foundational pieces,
like purpose, values. This way it’s
actually enduring, its authentic, and people
begin to feel ownership over it. The key part in there is
again consulting everyone to co-create it together. The second part is Live,
and I’ll note that this is actually the part
that people often skip. They go through
sort of a Find process. Usually it’s not very
co-created across the organization but
there’s some version of a Find process that takes place
and then they skip over to communicating it, whether that means
internally / externally, but it’s just more of
a marketing exercise than anything else. The key to this is ensuring
that you get the Live piece right. You know, it’s how
you actually work, the systems, the behaviors,
the processes, the way that your
organization runs. And then finally you can get
to Communicate where you know, you can share the good news,
the amazing work that you’ve done, that you are
authentically living internally with the
rest of the world. Uber is a great
example by the way, of a company that is you know,
classic Find jumping over to Communicate, you know in all
the controversies that they’ve undergone as a company
and there’s lots of different examples out there. We actually put out a report
called Not Effing Up Purpose, bold company, which showed that
almost half of workers said their company does not
act in line with its purpose and values, and this perceived
hypocrisy makes them want to leave. Not incredibly surprising
but yet something that a lot of organizations
just aren’t paying enough
attention to. So now let’s look together at
what this all entails and at those five tips. So the first one is
defining your culture. What defines a culture? Well, it’s the culmination
of your why, what, and how, your purpose,
why you exist, your North Star, if you will,
exhibited by your stories and proof points, like your
social responsibility, your innovations,
your partnerships, you know, the way that you
actually go out and show that you’re you’re
walking the walk. Your strategy, what you’re
doing to drive the income. Should that be you know,
whether it’s you know, raising funds for your
organization or bottom line results, etc. That should be
guided by your purpose. And finally your values,
how you actually work. Are you going to deliver on
your purpose and strategy? This is where
the characteristics of your culture come to
life and they all need to work together and be aligned in order to actually
have a good culture. They cannot be
separate disparate pieces. Which again is something
that we see very often in the organizations when we
start working with them. So now when we talk
about purpose and values, going back to what I mentioned
the generic syndrome many nonprofits find
themselves in, the generic values, if you will, here are some
guiding principles that make up successful purpose and
values within an organization. One, they need to be
co-created across different departments and levels
of the organization. It should never just be
a top-down exercise if you actually hope to
garner real ownership over them from the rest of
your organization. They also need to be unique. Stay away from generic. I assure you, you are all much
more interesting than that. They need to be true. Don’t say you’re innovative
if that’s inauthentic to your organization. It should be something that
really resonates with your people. And they need to be enduring. Think long term
when co-creating these. What will stand the test
of time at least for the foreseeable future? What’s in line
with your strategy? And last but certainly
not least, they need to be human. People sometimes have trouble
relating from a human side of things to the a term
like accountability, for example, they need to be
something that can be quickly understood
and relatable. They should come from
the heart and the soul of the organization and this really
loops back all around to the co-creation part. You get all of these elements
that are listed here today when you work
on them together. Next one is decide
where you want to get to. Where are you headed? What are your goals? We often call this
the end state stage. If you don’t have this
already clearly defined, you actually risk losing
sight of what it is your organization is actually
trying to accomplish in the world. So what could this
look like in practice? Taking for instance
‘we work together’ as an example value, in order to align your
vision to your value, it may be
important for your team, for example, to move to a
network structure within five years to foster
a collaborative approach, or perhaps you want to
foster the value of ‘we bring out the best
in our teams’ where you want to
you know build that culture of empowerment. So you might set targets
against it which have, you know, a different type
of system where there’s no managers and you know, it’s a self
accountability system. We actually built, put in
a system like this for ourselves at Kin&Co
a little over a year ago where we only have coaches and mentors for our teams. There is still
a little bit of hierarchy, but it’s very very minimal and
it’s something that has been incredibly well received
throughout our organization and it’s really been wonderful
to see people step up and take initiative in different
scenarios as a result. Or maybe your value,
for example, is “we’re always disrupting.” And you want to foster
a culture of innovation. So you may want to set up
an innovation hub or lab as part of your organization to
allow for a safe area to take chances and push those
disruptive boundaries to begin with. Whatever the goals or the
values that you have are, lay them out in a way that
everyone can connect with by seeing
the clear parallels and set checkpoint
goals along the way for a specific
cultural needs. It’s beginning to connect
the dots between values and actually taking action. Next we’re going to
look at Tip 3: Find out where you are now. So at this point, you should
have a clear idea of what you stand for. You should understand
how you want to behave, because you’ve gone through
the values process and figured out what those
behaviors look like, and you’ve determined
your end state, where you want to go. In order to actually roll this
all out successfully though from there, you need to find out first
where you are now, so we often call this
cultural diagnosis. Why is this so important? Simply put, you need to know
where you are now so you can see what changes need to be
made in order to get you where you want to go. So essentially it’s to
understand where the gaps between your current state
and end state actually are and it’s important that this
mandate is again done in a co-created and
engaging manner. You’re going to hear me use
the term ‘co-created’ quite a lot throughout this
because it’s one of the big keys to effectively
rolling out any transformational change. And I will mention that we’ve
often seen with our clients that they naturally have some
starting assumptions on where the gaps that they
foresee will be in their organizations. And then after having actually
undergone the full diagnosis across the organization were
quite surprised at some of the areas in which they
actually needed to tackle, and likewise in some areas
that they were doing much better than
they thought, so it’s really
important that you deep dive into this. It’s like an organizational
wake-up call or reality check. You’re testing assumptions
and you’re ensuring that you’re hearing from
all of your people. You know, I’ve been in many
a boardroom where a CEO or an executive director
is saying, you know, “This is what’s
going on in my culture. These are the issues,”
and you know, the information that’s
being brought back out of a diagnosis is
completely different, and it really starts
interesting dialogue and helps people to get
alignment on where they’re actually headed. And it’s what actually
enables as well, the clarity of the route
that you need to take as an organization which means
spotting where things support the culture
and where they don’t, proactively making
those changes and difficult decisions
sometimes, I mean, it’s it’s not to say that if
you make changes everybody will
always get on board. Sometimes tough decisions need
to be made to support them. But ultimately they are
carrying you all forward in the right direction,
to the new culture that you, you know, your organization
has decided they want to have together. So how do you actually
diagnose your culture? So I’ve provided a couple of
examples here of ways that you can diagnose. So the first
thing I would say, however before you do any of
this is you need to set out a framework of what you
want to measure against. In other words
your purpose, your values, your end state. What are you actually
measuring against, and then conduct a series of
fun and engaging activities which reach across to every
level of your organization. And again, very important
point is it needs to hit all points of your organization and all the different
departments. So this can be in
the form of surveys, you know, there are some
organizations that might already send surveys out, some
cases they don’t but you know, it’s worth reassessing what
might already be in place to ensure that it is properly
aligned to that framework, and you can do that first
diagnosis and you can also set up something called pulse
surveys where you continue to have a clear view on how
your people feel and you can do that in
a couple of different ways. It doesn’t necessarily mean
that you need to pulse everybody in your
organization every two weeks, that would feel
a little bit overbearing, you could do that in a smaller
little bite-size pieces where you know, every two weeks
you could poll five people for example, but it just gives
you an ongoing picture of where you are actually at
in your organization. Another one is one-to-one
interviews that you script prior and ensure again
tie into the overarching framework. I will tell you we have just
undergone this process with Montreal Airport. And you know, their
organization is comprised of over 28,000
different stakeholders. So we, needless to say,
conducted a lot of one-to-one interviews and just the very
process itself of interviewing people is such an
amazing engagement initiative, people are feeling like
they’re being listened to, like they’re being heard,
and they actually have amazing ideas
and contributions to make. It’s almost, it’s a missed
opportunity if you’re not doing this. Other ways are to hold focus
groups and workshops or even special
off-site days, for example, where you give people
the chance to connect and have honest dialogue about
what’s working and what’s not, because you know,
in a lot of organizations, it’s a little bit
hush-hush or people, there’s a fear, you know,
there’s a fear around talking about
what’s not working. The key here is not to have
a festival where people are just complaining, but rather how can you build
a workshop or a group or a feedback loop
that is productive, which guides people, that
provide some frameworks, and which doesn’t only
focus on what’s wrong, but rather how do we
problem solve together? And I would highly encourage
when you’re doing any of these types of sessions,
make it fun. Put in games,
get people drawing, get people doing activities,
make it competitive. You want people to leave
there feeling amazing, feeling like they are part of
something and that they are helping to
actually co-create it. And once again, all of these
different methods that we’ve talked about are
in and of themselves engagement initiatives, and start to actually build
those behavior change instincts and behaviors from
the get-go because people are starting to,
are having a clear picture of what’s
going on and where they can
make changes themselves. The next one is Tip Four. So now you will have
determined what you stand for, the behaviors, your end state,
and you’ll have identified the gaps between
those two points, that end state
and your current state. So next we’re going to take
a look at Tip Four which is to make a plan to
close those gaps. There are many different
ways to tackle this piece, and loads of creative efforts
that you can do to make it unique and true to
your organization. When looking at
transformational change, you need to approach it
from both a systems / you know processes
change standpoint. In other words,
your hiring process, your performance reviews,
your reward systems, your policies and procedures. Those are all items that
should be reviewed against that framework
that you built to see if they are in line. But also this needs to be
tackled from a behavior change standpoint. So in other words
your communications, your values, how you visibly
uphold the culture and engage your people, and that’s where you can
actually have a lot of fun and be creative with it. So a couple of examples for
this instance are you know, I’m using Kin&Co a lot as an
example because it’s easy. One of our values
is ‘stay playful’. So we actually go to
a festival every year for our annual away day,
the entire company goes, and it’s just lovely,
it fosters connectivity. It builds
authentic relationships, people get out of
the normal sort of, you know, the the day-to-day
and step outside and actually
get to know each other and it’s amazing
how building that camaraderie affects your
day-to-day roles. Another one for
instance is Zappos. They actually develop
a culture book every year containing stories from within
their organization and share it. Netflix is actually pretty
ruthless in its desire to have the very best people. It’s actually
pretty interesting. They agree that if someone’s
skill is no longer needed or applicable they would
actually help them to transition to another place where you can be
better utilized. Another one is Burt’s Org,
which is a Dutch organization that is honestly kind of
the poster child for empowered teams. They’ve grown from
four people to 14,000 employees in only 10 years
and all of their teams are self-organized. They take on new clients,
plan their own work, deliver care,
and hire new nurses. All of it is done by
their self-managed teams. And I think they
were also yeah, they were recently rated
the most satisfied workforce of any Dutch company
with more than 1,000 employees. Then you’ve got something like
Buffers Transport who has a transparent salary tool to
build a culture of openness and transparency. So this is just a couple
of examples of you know, organizations
who are you know, putting in initiatives that
are aligned with their values and which engage their people
so if these inspire you just a little
and get you thinking about some of the changes
that you might want to make in your
own organizations. With that said, there’s
a little tool that we like to use with clients when going
through their transformational journeys
and embedded change, and are
embedding change, that I’d love to
share with you, which is I call it the
I Know the Story Model. So the first part of this
journey is getting people to know the story. So that’s where people know
the values and the culture that they’re looking to build
and they understand them. The next is
“I believe the story” and this is where people
actually start to put the new culture and values into
actions themselves. In other words,
they start to walk the walk. And finally the place in which
you want to get to and this can take months or even
years, is “It’s my story.” People don’t just know
the culture and values. They don’t just you know,
action them themselves. They feel true ownership
over them. They feel like it
is their story. They have a keen sense of
responsibility and wanting to uphold them,
but also teach others, you know, the ways of
working and it’s really really interesting to see this
all come to life and have an organization, you know,
be in the it’s my story stage. You feel it. You feel it when
you walk in the door. And you can actually also use
this framework to help guide your internal
communications strategies and roll out, if you like. So for instance on the
I Know the Story phase you want to ensure that everyone
understands what you’re doing and why, and align
your internal comms to a value-centric approach. If you’re in the
I Believe the Story phase you want to have, you want to ensure that
the comms are demonstrating the right behaviors
and showing proof points. So this is where you can
actually start to share stories for instance
across the organization and where people are
just getting it right, and then finally
It’s My Story. So give people the
opportunities and skills to take ownership and be part of
the movement so that can be a for instance, you know,
if you have an internet that you share stories
on internally where people are adding
to it themselves, they’re showcasing
role models within your organization. So again, this is one tool in
a toolkit of many that you can use to sort of align
yourselves in what kind of journey that
you’re embarking on. So what can you do now? There are you know, are a few
organizational changes that you might be able
to implement quite, quite quickly. In other words some
low-hanging fruit that could be
for instance creating a decision
making framework, where you know,
when you’re making your day-to-day
decisions or as a management team
for instance, you can take a look at where
they fall in alignment with the values and it’s not to
say that they always need to be perfectly aligned but the
idea is to get as many of your decisions into the
upper quadrant as you can. Another example is introducing
a culture or values criteria for a new project. So for instance, with one of
our clients whenever they have a new procurement
that they need to do, they actually ensure that the
procurement request includes the the question about
the sustainability impact, and the impact
on the employees. So it, you know, kind of
forces people to get into the habit of thinking
about those things. So it’s not just the process
but it’s also the domino effect of
that process, and you know, even using something as
simple as starting to use the language of your new culture
and values can go such a long way. A note that I’ll add here is
also the importance of senior leaders, not just walking the walk
but actually rather explicitly, they need to be
talking the walk. They are inevitably
the biggest role models in your organization,
like it or not, and their impact
will always be noticed, or scrutinized even, at every step. So if this piece fails,
it’s quite difficult to have the rest of the organization
buy in and feel the new culture and values
are actually authentic. So it’s a little bit
more explicit. Like I said, it’s about
actually having them talk about why they’re doing that
thing that they’re doing as opposed to just doing it. And finally our Tip 5,
you’ve come all this way, you’ve embedded the change,
but culture is not just a one-time activity. It’s not something,
it’s not a one-off project that you put into place
and boom now, you’ve got
this great culture. It actually needs
to be measured, it needs to be tracked,
and it needs to be updated as your organization
and the world evolves. So how to measure
culture change, and this is one of the big
questions that we get a lot. We are known as
culture measurement geeks in everything that we do, we measure every project
not just the– the, you know,
measurement of how we work but of the domino effects of
everything that we’re doing because at
the end of the day, you need to have
a solid business case for it or financial case for not
just putting it in place but upholding it long-term. And traditionally culture was
kind of seen as something that was a fluffy intangible,
you know, nice to have concept,
but as we’ve seen this isn’t the case,
you know, at all actually
in today’s world. That doesn’t mean that you
have a blank check to invest in it though. So you need to be able to
prove again that impact of your cultural strategy and the
only way that you can do that is through robust measurement. Measuring culture change,
however is not easy, I won’t lie. Changes in how people in
organizations work can be affected a lot by different
things but by measuring as much as possible in a focused
and concerted way you can actually start to see the big
picture jigsaw puzzle pieces coming together, and you may never get
100% completion but what you what is to get as
many of the pieces connected as you can. So we do this by kind of
separating it into three main segments: reach, engagement,
and change. This doesn’t mean we don’t
just measure the soft changes, the feelings, but tangibly
how people respond to them and ultimately the hard
business change they create. So the first one is reach. Measuring reach is
often the easy bit. We track the amount
of content we create, where it’s shared, how many people
have seen it, and then survey to test
people’s awareness of the topic as a result. Measuring engagement
is a bit harder. It means tracking how much
others are sharing the content we’ve created, how many people came along to
the workshops we run, the size of the
ambassador groups or perhaps the steering groups
we’ve created as part of this processes, essentially the engagement
into the process itself. And then change. And this is really
the critical bit to measure that surprisingly many miss,
but change here does not happen overnight. Again, it can take weeks,
months or even years to come into effect, particularly if you’re
in a much larger organization. When measuring change,
we tend to use a mix of metrics including for instance,
surveys designed to understand how
people’s attitude– (microphone stops working) As I mentioned, we also
take a look at potential connections– MARINA:
Jessica, sorry,
I’m going to jump in there. You cut out for me for
just a moment there and I’m suspicious that
you may have cut out for some other folks too, so do you mind just
backing up just a little bit and just repeating that last
bit that you were discussing? JESSICA:
Sure. Do you know
where I dropped off? MARINA:
Yeah, just like, just
as you were discussing change. JESSICA:
Okay, perfect. So I’ll restart at change. (laughing) Part 1 of change,
update your internet. So yeah, so some of those
metrics that we looked at in the change category could be
for instance the surveys of how people’s
attitudes have changed, have, you know, transformed. So again that can be
through your glide surveys, it can be the through those
pulse surveys that we talked about. You can also you know,
we’ve set up polling stations with, when we were working
with Danone and polling the organization, some of
their stakeholders were dairy farmers, so we set up a physical
polling station to accommodate them. So, you know, you can get
creative with how you collect that. Another one is bespoke metrics
that are designed to see you know, how their behaviors
have changed as well. So for instance metrics
that are created specifically around pilot projects that
you may have launched in conjunction with
your transformation. You also want to look,
and this is very important, at existing business metrics. You’re not going to
recreate the wheel on, you know, a whole new set of
metrics where they don’t need to be, you’re probably already
tracking productivity or staff turnover
or revenues and etc. So these are
definitely ones that should be looked at and
embedded into this framework. And then there’s also things
like third-party metrics that track the bigger
impact on the wider society, for instance the industry or
the world like GRI or trust measurements,
or net promoter scores, you know, things like that. All of these come together
and give you a very holistic understanding of what
your cultural state is, how changes are being made,
and the success of your overall culture
and culture strategy. By measuring
all of these things, individual interventions can
start to be tracked as well through all the way to
creating societal change, you know, that butterfly
effect if you will. The bottom line is measure
as much as you can and then measure some more,
and then measure some more. And as you’re
going through it, don’t forget that your
organization again inevitably will evolve,
so it’s okay and encouraged, strongly encouraged,
to reassess this yearly and see if it’s still
really feels right, if these are
the right metrics, you can make adjustments,
you can set, you should be setting
goals on these metrics. So not just once you’ve
got your cultural state, you know,
sort of that starting point. What we usually do is
encourage you to do sort of a three-year outlook
or a five-year outlook and say, “Okay. This is where we are. Where do we want these metrics
to get to?” and then it really becomes quite
concrete and tangible. It’s no longer again,
just that sort of fluffier concept that sometimes gets
attributed to culture change. So I’ve given you
a lot to talk about, or think about, I think
we’ve covered quite a lot and obviously that’s
fairly high level with, you know, hopefully some
interesting details and bits there that you can
take away and think about how to apply to
your organization, but hopefully
it gives you a starting point of how to
build and cultivate a healthy workplace culture
for your organization. So with that said, I would
love to open the floor for a few questions before we wrap
up here today and I will do my very best to try to
answer them to the best of my ability. And if I can’t, you are
welcome to send me an e-mail afterwards and I will most
definitely get back to you. MARINA:
Wonderful. Thanks, Jessica. Indeed, lots to think about
here today and some important stuff for our nonprofit
organizations to think about for sure. Let’s dive right in,
so you talked a lot about co-creating today
and we had some questions come in about what to do if not
everyone has the same values. How do you get
everybody aligned on that? JESSICA:
It’s a great question. Yeah, so it is completely
understandable that the people in your organization
will be coming from different cultures,
from different backgrounds, from different, you know views
on life with their own biases and the idea is not
necessarily to say, you know,
stepping back for a moment. This is especially why it’s
important to co-create together because if you just stamp
on our new values as an organization
and try to roll them out, you know, people are going
to have a very different understanding even of how they
translate them themselves. So we usually start by having
what we call kind of buckets. So when you’re running
workshops and having people talk about what the values
of your organization are, you start to look at
where the themes are, and then ultimately you can
use that and and distill it down to what your final values
are and you’ll find that if people are actually part of
that process and part of the you know, that like actually
thinking through it as a team and reasoning why this
feels right and this doesn’t, it connects the dots. It pulls the threads
through and you know, it really does come
together and I will say that it it also, you know,
we’ve worked with organizations like
TripAdvisor for example, who is in I think it’s
53 different countries and they were, you know, had lost track of their
purpose and values. And so we help them
to get back on track. Now that didn’t
mean that you know, we took out the value and
said this is exactly how it should be behaved in every
single region because it just wasn’t
the reality of the world. What we did was we took
the value and figured out how that was individually behaved
with in the different regions, but so that there was still
a connection and a tie-through that
brought it all together by sharing
that common value with the ability to have
a little bit of flex in how they are interpreted
but still within an overarching framework. So hopefully that
answers your question. MARINA:
That’s super helpful. Thank you. And sort of
along a similar line, we have a question here,
at our team meetings where we seek to co-create
organizational change, many team members are
unwilling or uncomfortable voicing their suggestions. Are there other tools we could
use to overcome this barrier? JESSICA:
Yeah. Yeah, this is
so it’s very interesting. That’s part of the reason
why sometimes organizations partner with third parties,
this is especially true when it comes to
the one-to-one interviews, as an example. And that is actually
why we conduct the one-to-one interviews. One part I forgot to mention
when I talked about one-to-one interviews is that we
always ensure that they are confidential, and that the themes
are pulled out high level, but they are never
specifically attributed to the individuals. Therefore, it creates
a safe place where people can actually share
how they’re feeling. They don’t have to worry
about possible repercussions, and from that
the organization, you know gets to see
the overarching picture of what really is
the cultural state. The reality is that
people do want to be heard. But you know, of course,
they don’t want to be penalized for having perhaps
an unpopular opinion. So the way of working around
that is creating a safe space where you can collect that
information anonymously so that they’re safe. MARINA:
That’s great. Now we have a question here
from someone who sounds to me like a non-profit veteran,
who says they chuckled when you said that many nonprofits
have the same values, accountability, collaboration,
effect, etcetera. How do we get beyond those
boilerplate values and get more specific, and second
part of that question, have you seen any nonprofits
that do that really well? JESSICA:
Mmhmm. So yes, I’m trying to think
of the top of my head of great examples of that, now I won’t lie and say
that I remember people’s values off the top,
but what I can say sincerely is that the way that you get
around that, the way that you get past that, is back down to that favorite
word of mine, co-creation, because when you’re–
when you’re collaborating together
and you’re having real discussions and you’re
brainstorming together, what is the ethos
of our company? What do we want
to behave like? How are we feeling? How do we act? When you start to investigate
those questions and there’s a thousand different
exercises that you could use, you can find a ton online. There’s a, you know, we run a,
again we have hundreds in our repertoire ourselves. There are lots of really fun
ways to pull those out of people because it may
not be obvious at first, but what you want
to do is, you know, ideate together
and start to build that and that’s how you get ones that
are not cookie cutter and ones that really
really resonate with people. I mean for our organization,
we actually revised our values last year and went through
all the process that I’ve just outlined now, which was
getting all of us involved running a bunch
of different workshops and then testing those against
our assumptions like, it’s important that again you’re
getting everybody involved because that’s how
you push past that boundary. MARINA:
Excellent. Now for those folks that
are on the call today that might be working at the
really large organizations, that might be national,
we have a great question from Danielle. So if you’re working at the
large national organization and you find that your local
team or office site is not really connected to
that corporate culture, is it okay to create
a subculture within your own site or region? And would you follow the
same steps outlined here? JESSICA:
Yeah. So this, I would tie this back
to the example that I used with TripAdvisor, for example,
where they were against, across, you know,
53 different countries, and had realized that they
were really quite disconnected from each other
and weren’t aligned, there was inconsistency
in the values across the organization. So I don’t think it’s actually
about necessarily going and creating too many
different subcultures per se, you don’t want to have
different sets of values because that can get
confusing for people. But rather I think it’s that
next level down of when you start to talk about how
those things are behaved, what applies for one region
may apply differently for another, what applies for managers
may apply differently for frontline employees,
and you can actually start to build them in little buckets
and break them down and doing it
with your local teams. It shouldn’t be something
again dictated to them. It should be something
co-created with them because they’re going to know
better than anyone else, you know,
what those, you know, how they should be
behaved and exhibited. Again, getting them into
the process with you and creating that safety to
interpret within a framework because otherwise it gets messy. MARINA:
Mmhmm. Yeah, I can see that. So on a similar note,
what about organizations that have combined remote
workers and office staff? Do we need to think about
things differently there? JESSICA:
It’s a great question. And so, yeah, so our
organization is a great example of that,
we have both of those, we have offices. We also have remote workers. We also are working with a
company actually right now, a tech company
who is 100% remote, there are no offices
and they have people again in many
different countries and the question
of whether you should build one framework for all
or have special accommodations for remote workers, the bottom line is
you can’t put your remote workers
to the wayside. They are part of your team
and should be feeling like part of your team. So it’s worth,
in those instances, taking a look at what what can
you do to foster that culture even in
a remote scenario and that can be
anything from setting up for instance,
you know bi-weekly call where they all get together
with certain parts of, different people
on different teams, even through a Zoom call
or a video call where they are only, you know
talking about camaraderie, you know, or just connecting
or learning about each other’s roles, for example,
there’s lots of different ways to connect the dots
but they certainly shouldn’t be put
to the wayside. They should be considered
into it and I think the answer normally from what I’ve seen
in different organizations is actually quite specific to
the organization based on what resources they have
available, how you know, when we’re talking
about different locations, what is that actual
spread of locations? What time zones
are involved, and so forth. So there’s a lot of
factors to consider, but there are absolutely ways
to ensure that those people are engaged into your
culture and your values. MARINA:
Excellent, and when we
go back to looking at the sum of the different
diagnostic tools and that, would you advise that doing
exit interviews when staff are leaving being an important
piece of that as well? JESSICA:
Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean back to the comment
of people don’t feel safe, you know. One thing that is true about
an exit interview is that people generally,
not always, but generally
are feeling a little bit more free to speak their mind
of why they’re leaving or you know,
or how they feel about exiting the company and
what I’d say around that is it shouldn’t be
random though. Like if you’re
collecting information and everybody’s doing that
interview differently, then the information that’s
coming out of it becomes more subjective. So if you can again take that
framework of your values and your purpose
and actually help to, you know, create a little
framework of questions and values oriented
questions and so forth, where you can position things
that can feed into your data as well. It’s a lot more effective
and it gets people on the same page. MARINA:
That’s a great point. So for our last
question for today, we’ve talked a lot about
leadership and you know how important it is
for leaders to be, you know, walking the walk,
talking the walk. For those on the call today, who aren’t in
leadership positions, are there things
that they can do to help shift this from
the bottom up, or to help get
leadership buy-in, in terms of starting this
process of creating a culture change? JESSICA:
Yes, absolutely. (coughs) Something that we
see very often is, you know, we have a large
client recently that shall remain nameless, but when we
started with them, we were engaged to lead their
cultural transformation at this larger org,
and you know, the management team, you know, when we met with
them they said, “Oh we’re all on the same page. This is great. Let’s do this thing,” and the next step
when we actually started to begin to put
those pieces into place, it was very clear that
actually they were not aligned, and they were not
necessarily role modeling and so forth. So we took a step back and
said actually we need to begin with a leadership
alignment exercise. And so that was everything
from one-to-one interviews and workshops with them first,
to make sure that they were all on the same page and
going in the right direction. So if you’re not necessarily
a leader within organization, I would suggest that you
start by seeing if you can facilitate something
with them. If you have
an ear on, you know, maybe a champion that can
bring that business case or voice to the table
and challenge a little bit and just say, you know,
let’s get to a better place, every organization
can always improve, that starting point would be
you know that alignment piece. And then in terms
of like bottom down, absolutely. I mean, I think
if you’re able to, you know work on different
engagement initiatives, it depends, when we
talk about bottom down, you still need budget in
some cases or in many cases to start to get things moving,
even if it’s workshops and so forth. We have seen it work
the opposite way where, you know, the top didn’t
necessarily buy into a big picture scenario,
but they, you know, they gave enough to get
a cultural diagnosis started and the results of that are what
quantified the next steps in the process and what made
the senior leadership realize the need,
the importance of it, so, I think you know,
SurveyMonkey is free, for instance. You can get a free
version of their account. Maybe, you know, there are
some low-hanging fruit ways to start to gather information
to build your case from the bottom up. MARINA:
Wonderful. Thank you so much Jessica,
you’ve given us a lot to think about today, and we really appreciate
you being here and presenting for us. JESSICA:
My pleasure. I’m just going to mention
it was so lovely to be here. We are actually going to be
putting out a white paper on nonprofit culture. So my email is up there if
anybody would like a copy, just shoot me an email and I
will get it over to you as soon as it’s released in
the next couple weeks. MARINA:
That’s great. Thank you so much for that. I also want to remind everyone
that we are going to follow up with you by email
this afternoon or by tomorrow morning with
the webinar recording and the slide deck. I know we’ve had a lot of
questions coming in about Jessica’s fantastic
slide deck and you will get a copy of that. There will also be a short
survey that takes about five minutes to fill out. We hope that you’ll
complete that for us. You’ll have an opportunity
there to let us know if there’s other topics you’d
like to see covered in a future session and we’ll also
be sure to share this feedback with Jessica as well. So if there’s anything that
you want to make sure that she hears,
pop that in the survey. We are kicking off a new
leadership series on June 6th. We’re going to have past
Charity Village webinar presenter Kathy Archer
presenting on how to build trust with
your nonprofit team, and there will be a link to
register in the email that you receive later
today or tomorrow, and we do hope
to see you there. With that, I’m going to thank
you all again for joining us today. Thank you Jessica, and I hope
you all have a wonderful rest of your day, bye bye. JESSICA:
My pleasure, bye, bye.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *