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ATD Blog

Build an Intentional Culture vs. Accidental Culture

Monday, October 23, 2023

Over the past three years, the landscape of work has undergone a dramatic transformation with the proliferation of remote offices. This shift has compelled organizations to reevaluate their approaches to company culture. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that many organizations inadvertently possessed a culture long before the workplace metamorphosed. In the pursuit of a more intentional culture, irrespective of physical location, lies the potential for increased productivity and employee satisfaction, ultimately enhancing a corporation’s return on investment (ROI).

Harnessing Technology for an Intentional Culture

Technology emerges as the conduit to guide organizations toward an intentional culture that aligns seamlessly with corporate strategy. Before embarking on a journey to employ technology in this endeavor, management and human resources (HR) must first grasp the existing culture’s nuances.

Indications of an Accidental Culture

Three unmistakable indicators of an accidental culture include:

  • Missed Targets: When organizational units fail to meet established benchmarks, it often signifies a misalignment between culture and strategy, hindering the achievement of overarching goals.
  • Underperformance: Employees not meeting expectations signal a misunderstanding of the organizational culture, necessitating more than routine team-building exercises and quarterly reviews for resolution.
  • Low Morale: High attrition rates and low employee morale are telltale signs of an organization’s murky or inconsistent culture.

Culture Beyond the Office

Crucially, culture transcends physical office boundaries. It comprises the values, beliefs, and behaviors practiced by employees and shaped by leaders. Remote work is likely here to stay, offering cost savings for organizations and improved work-life balance for employees. CEOs play a pivotal role in setting the culture, but it is the collective effort of all levels of management that propagates it. Subcultures form, contributing to the overarching narrative within the company. Maintaining a consistent message across these subcultures is paramount for organizational success.


Real-Time Automated Technology for Cultivating Culture

To instill an intentional culture in this new paradigm, companies must leverage technology effectively. Traditional approaches, such as annual surveys, are no longer adequate. Real-time data collection through automated Employee Experience (EX) platforms becomes essential to cater to the dynamic nature of today’s workplace.

Personalized, journey-based employee experience campaigns humanize everyday excellence and empower employees to provide continuous feedback. This robust platform deploys preset feedback campaigns at crucial points in an employee’s journey, enabling immediate action. It aids in identifying at-risk employees, evaluating training efforts, and more.


Enhancing Culture Through Humanization

Humanizing everyday moments allows companies to elevate culture and enhance ROI through improved communication, engagement, and retention. This approach fosters:

  • Active Listening: Employees feel empowered when they see tangible actions taken based on their input, enabling them to actively shape the company’s direction.
  • Automated Improvements: Management can prioritize key employee journey moments for greater impact.
  • Empowering Leadership: Feedback is shared with respective managers, and insights are surfaced across meaningful touchpoints.

A crucial element for such a solution is its ability to integrate seamlessly with existing human resources information systems (HRIS) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This integration, along with pre-configured reports and analytics platforms, aids in surfacing insights that can drive engagement, productivity, and satisfaction and decrease turnover and absenteeism.

Embracing Technology for an Intentional Culture

In conclusion, management must embrace technology to establish an intentional culture, rather than settling for an accidental one. Technology can transform culture from an abstract concept into a measurable, systematic process, paving the way for an organization that consistently achieves its goals while retaining a motivated and satisfied workforce.

About the Author

Jessica Kriegel is the chief scientist of workplace culture for Culture Partners, leading research and strategy in best practices for driving results through culture. For more than 15 years, she has been guiding global, national, Fortune 100, and other organizations across finance, technology, real estate, and healthcare industries on how to create intentional cultures that accelerate performance.

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