Monthly Culture Inspiration: January 2017

Every month, I post three types of culture inspiration: a visual, a book, and an article to bookmark.

Visual: The ROI of Investing in People

I recently watched a webinar from last year's Culture Summit featuring Maia Josebachvili, VP of Strategy & People at Greenhouse (recently voted the #1 best place to work by Glassdoor). Maia explains how anyone can build a case and prove the return on investment (ROI) of People initiatives. I recommend this webinar for everyone interested in culture (it's fascinating!), but especially for those who work in organizations that are driven by numbers and quantifiable results. In the two slides above, Maia visually and quantifiably shows the difference that good "people initiatives" (HR, talent, and culture) can make in an organization. The teal green line in the graph represents an organization with good "people initiatives," as opposed to a standard organization. Maia shows that when a new employee joins an organization with good people initiatives, that employee can ramp up more quickly, have higher output, and will be more likely to stay at the organization for longer. This is only one of many great visuals, so watch the whole webinar here.

Book: Scaling Up Excellence

Here is a book that I have heavily dog-eared: Scaling Up Excellence. When working on consulting projects about scaling up culture or making culture change at a large scale, I frequently refer back to this book. The authors, Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao, are both professors at Stanford. They spent a decade researching how organizations can scale up farther, faster, and more effectively. They share case studies about how organizations across many industries (tech, healthcare, government, non-profit) go from start-ups to exemplary organizations. One of my favorite anecdotes is how growing organizations must navigate the "Buddhism-Catholicism continuum:" do you want to replicate preordained beliefs and practices (Catholicism) or have one underlying mindset that guides why people behave the way they do (Buddhism)?

Article to Bookmark: Why Employees And Management Have Such Different Ideas About Company Culture

Who is in charge of driving organizational culture? If you ask HR, they do. One-third of HR professionals believe their own department sets the culture. However, only 10% of managers and 3% of employees agreed with HR. "Instead, 26% of managers tended to believe that culture was defined by the executive team, while 29% of employees said they [the employees] were in charge of defining culture." This big difference of opinion comes from a study done by the Workforce Institute at Kronos and WorkplaceTrends. What's even more interesting is that an even higher percent of millennials (40%) believe that employees drive the culture. "This is an indication of an evolving view of workplace culture where employees feel they have more power, the analysts say." Why does this matter? If people aren't in alignment about who drives the culture, they may not agree on what's important to creating a great one, and what can destroy it.