You already know that culture is important. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be actively sharing your mission, values, and code of conduct.
But, what’s the best way to communicate your culture message and make sure people live up to the values? Which of your teams should be involved and how do they ensure your message is consistent across the organization so it resonates with everyone?
During our Top Onboarding Strategies webinar, Steve Cadigan (former VP of Talent at LinkedIn) stressed the importance of creating one message about your culture, mission, and values. One message that you consistently share through all employment phases such as: recruiting, onboarding, team dynamics, and career development.
The challenge: your culture, values, and code of conduct are often created separately by different teams and they all seem to have a different message and style of delivering it.
Rather than hearing one strong message, employees end up hearing differing and inconsistent messages from leadership, talent, and legal – all emphasizing different components of the culture and values. These different messages water down the impact of hearing one message over and over again throughout your employees’ life cycle.
Instead, Steve Cadigan suggests having all three departments (Leadership, Talent, and Legal/Compliance) collaborate to create one unified and shared message that addresses the mission, the values and the code of conduct.
This way, employees hear your message as a steady drum beat from their initial recruiting to when they eventually depart the organization. When all three departments collaborate and create an integrated, holistic message it becomes THE culture message that everyone hears and remembers.
Here are three strategies to ensure you’re empowering your culture message throughout the organization:
1. Collaborate with stakeholders to create a consistent message
To ensure everyone is hearing and understanding your culture message, get a cross-functional team together to collaborate and craft a single message.
Leadership will weigh in heavily on outlining the mission and values; legal/compliance will weigh in heavily about the code of conduct and ethical issues; the HR & talent team can help combine both perspectives so that it’s a cohesive message that is authentic, human, and relatable.
After that, all departments can articulate the integrated message so it’s top of mind for all employees.
2. Use HR & Talent to consistently deliver the message
Once you’ve crafted your integrated culture message, you need to identify the best department to deliver the message.
When identifying the right messenger, look for the team that works closest with the troops in the trenches and on a daily and weekly basis. The messenger also needs to be able to communicate in a very human, relatable way.
Given that criteria, the HR & Talent team is typically the best team to deliver the culture message. Yes, your leadership will articulate the message and legal/compliance will reiterate the message when advising on specific ethics/compliance issues, but neither your leadership nor legal are in the trenches on a daily basis. Your legal team just isn’t in a position to influence people in a human, relatable way on a consistent basis.
Ideally, HR & Talent should deliver the culture message regularly while teaching managers to echo, support, and model the message to their teams.
3. Your culture message starts at recruiting and never ends
Your opportunity to communicate your culture starts with the first contact and ends, well, never. Even after an employee leaves, they should have a clear understanding of what it means to embody your workplace culture.
Ideally, your first recruiter contact should weave in the culture message as a way to sell candidates on the organization. That message should be repeated and emphasized during new hire onboarding and should be echoed, supported, and modeled on a consistent basis by HR & Talent and line managers.
“Your culture should be embodied at every level, and it’s pointless, even harmful, to have a culture slide deck that people don’t live out every day, ” says Steve Cadigan.
Employees at every level, especially managers, need to embody your culture and integrate it into the company language so it becomes part of the fabric of the organization.
Yes, your culture is important, but there’s something even more important: how you create and deliver your culture message. That is your culture.
Collaborate with your stakeholders to create a unified message and strive to embody that message at every level of your organization.
The stronger and more consistent your message is, the tighter and more cohesive your workforce culture. When everyone is on the same page as to your shared mission, vision, and values, you’ll get your workforce advancing your values to create a more ethical, productive, and collaborative workplace.
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