A culture champion is someone who believes in, supports, and cultivates a positive workplace culture. They champion the cause of their company and are at the forefront of how the company's culture develops.
A culture champion also inspires others to believe in the company's missions and values recognize and celebrate colleagues' accomplishments, and looks for new methods to bring culture to life. To put it more simply, culture champions are among the most engaged workers in their firm.
The leader is the most important cultural champion. However, in any organization aiming to reform or otherwise continuously enhance its culture, it is critical for the leader to identify who else within the organization will be on his or her side early on.
These people are known as "cultural champions." They are individuals who exhibit the ideal behaviors of the company's culture and are visible throughout the organization.
What distinguishes culture champions from others? Here are a few examples to help you spot them in your own company:
Always keep in mind that people, not business plans or processes, are what drive behavioral change in an organization. These elements aid change, but it is people, your champions, who propel it forward.
Employees and teams who are aligned with their company's culture routinely outperform their peers on internal key performance indicators. Only four out of ten employees in the United States firmly think that their organization's mission and purpose motivate them to do their best work. Organizations might achieve a 41 percent reduction in absenteeism, a 33 percent improvement in quality, or even a 50 percent reduction in patient safety problems by doubling that ratio to eight out of ten employees.
However, some businesses struggle to create their "ideal" culture, whether it's one of inclusivity, engagement, or work-life balance. Perhaps this is due to the fact that culture rarely has clearly defined boundaries. It's a powerful force that shapes how people collaborate, how choices are made, which behaviors are rewarded, and who is promoted.
For decades, scholars have been researching organizational culture. According to one study, HR professionals play a critical role in establishing and maintaining the culture that their company aims to have. HR leaders are accountable for inspiring desired employee behaviors and beliefs, and so reaping the performance gains of a thriving culture, as stewards and keepers of the culture.
HR executives can promote exceptional performance and prove to senior leadership that they deserve a place at the table by owning their important strategic and tactical responsibilities in defining work culture.
HR leaders can use the three responsibilities listed below to guide their efforts in changing their company's culture.
Executive leaders set the tone for an ideal culture, but it is up to HR leaders to support the cause and turn words into actions and results. HR leaders are change agents that raise awareness and help people move from their current culture to what they want it to be.
Leadership and communication, values and rituals, human capital practices and policies, work teams and structures, and performance are five major drivers of culture that HR directors may employ to accelerate cultural transformation, according to another analysis.
These factors influence how employees act, how executives make choices, and how work is completed.
HR leaders must understand the present status of the culture and determine the areas of misalignment between the real culture and the intended culture in order to activate and pull the relevant levers within these five drivers. HR directors may use these insights to establish a roadmap for shaping the culture by harmonizing activities, initiatives, and systems.
HR leaders' responsibilities as culture coaches include aligning managers and employees with the desired culture, promoting a sense of ownership for that culture, and ensuring accountability at all levels of the organization.
HR leaders should do so by focusing on both short- and long-term culture goals, similar to a sports coach aiming to win the next game as well as the overall championship. HR leaders must adopt immediate solutions that promote the intended culture, such as performance development processes that reward excellent behavior, while also aligning the culture with long-term goals, such as organic customer growth.
Educating and preparing leaders and managers to model cultural values and embrace their roles in establishing the desired culture is central to HR's coaching function. Managers, for example, must promote regular interactions with employees and proactively satisfy their basic workplace needs in order to create a culture of engaged employees.
HR leaders should analyze culture measurements alongside other measures like employee engagement, customer results, and their company's specific KPIs on a regular basis. When HR leaders keep their fingers on the pulse, they can ensure that their culture strategies are on track and that the organization's cultural investments are paying off.
HR leaders may also effectively advise executive leaders on how the culture is evolving if they have data-driven insights. HR leaders can discuss immediate and long-term gains and make strategic suggestions for the future with the appropriate analytics.
HR executives can generate momentum, establish responsibility, and illustrate the bottom-line value of cultural transformation by consistently identifying the accomplishments that emerge from the desired culture and how that culture empowers corporate objectives and outcomes.
My spouse and I recently traveled to Tokyo, which will host the 2020 Summer Olympics. Every tourist attraction we visited seemed to be obstructed by scaffolding or other major renovations. Though inconvenient, Japan is just preparing for the crowds of tourists that will go to their country to see the world's sports champions, who have spent their entire lives training to be recognized as the best in their field.
If you care about enhancing business culture, you may feel like you're trying to persuade others at your firm that it's vital. You're probably aware that companies that empower their employees are held up as the gold standard for a fantastic place to work. But does putting your cultural strategy into action sometimes feel like a culture war?
You may only require training to be acknowledged as a company culture champion at your organization, just as Olympic athletes. While you probably didn't start practicing employee engagement as a toddler like most of those sports stars (and if you did, you shouldn't be reading this post), here are a few suggestions to help you prepare for stronger employee engagement activities.
1. Score your company culture strategy
The announcement of the judges' scores is one of the most exciting portions of the Olympics. We've all seen a team come within a few decimal points of winning a medal, followed by cheers and tears. The Olympics wouldn't be nearly as exciting if all the judges said after a gymnast completed their faultless floor performance was, "Great work!" If you want to achieve Olympic levels of employee engagement, you'll need a scoring system. This allows you to track your progress in business culture training and celebrate when you reach key milestones.
You may currently use an annual survey to assess employee engagement, but how much better would it be if you could identify areas for development or cultural successes on a more regular basis? Consider this: Olympic participants must train for four years to see if their judges' ratings improve. Don't put your company's culture on the same timetable as everyone else's! Make sure your annual survey is followed up by a more frequent one, such as a fast quarterly cultural check-in.
2. Coach your cultural outcasts to increase involvement.
Remember the "Miracle on Ice" team from the United States that beat the legendary Soviet Union hockey team in 1980? A good underdog story is something that everyone enjoys. That hockey team has been the topic of numerous books and films, and all it took was one guy to see their potential and give them the tools they needed to succeed.
In this case, I'm not suggesting that you look for one or two people to nurture and take under your wing as future CEOs of the United States. While this is crucial, you don't have time to personally coach each disengaged employee at your company. Instead, I recommend identifying a select group of people who may be under-engaged at work and concentrating your efforts on improving their engagement. Providing opportunities for feedback will enable you to understand which departments or divisions of your company are experiencing difficulties and customize your engagement activities and time to their individual needs.
Motivate your organization's management team and managers to make feedback the norm. Set up various touchpoints for input, ranging from one-on-one meetings with managers to company-wide gatherings and staff surveys. Then act on the feedback to remind employees that their input is important. Your staff will be more willing to contribute ideas in the future if they realize they have the power to make comments or concerns in a safe setting.
3. Make your case for the importance of business culture by conducting research.
The average cost of hosting the Winter Olympics is $3.1 billion, whereas the Summer Games can cost up to $5.1 billion. Hosting can bring a city more than $9 billion in revenue in the short term, and enhancements to municipal infrastructures, tourist attractions, and other lodgings can lead to years of residual tourism. However, when you consider the alternative ways that money may be spent, as well as the long-term costs of maintaining sports facilities that may or may not be used, hosting the Olympics, may not be a wise investment for all towns.
That's one of the many ways corporate culture differs—the more research you do, the better it becomes as an investment for your firm, and for all companies. Demonstrate the importance of a strong corporate cultural foundation by demonstrating both short- and long-term benefits. Companies with engaged employees, for example, have 50% lower turnover than organizations with disengaged employees, and companies with higher Glassdoor Culture Index scores have greater stock price margins than companies with lower scores.
If you want to retain your already great company culture during a period of rapid growth, do your research and prepare a few more facts about the value of engaged workers and how they will produce better business outcomes, whether changes in your organization (like new leadership) are leading to decreased engagement or you want to retain your already great company culture during a period of rapid growth, do your research and prepare a few more facts about the value of engaged workers and how they will produce better business outcomes.
People leaders require real-time help to build new abilities, overcome obstacles, maintain pace, and generate responsibility, thus culture champions are critical. Culture champions are a group of people who have been assigned to four or five people leaders and who possess the respect, trust, and facilitation abilities required to accomplish meaningful change. The culture champions learn about best practices, identify typical roadblocks, and acquire specific tactics to employ with their assigned managers. When a large number of culture Champions is required (above 150), a tiered strategy should be used. Front-line culture champions, super champions, and/or master champions fall within this category. It's critical for a change expert – internal or external – to identify these people, provide them with the information they need to get started and give ongoing support and education as real-world circumstances emerge.
The attributes of effective culture champions tend to stand out among high achievers (or high potentials) in the organization. Being a culture advocate is a wonderful development opportunity, as it allows you to interact with strategic decisions and leaders from across the firm. Being a culture champion, on the other hand, takes time. Your high performers or potentials are frequently overworked and involved in a variety of projects and initiatives, and despite their passion, they may simply lack the time!
Act with integrity. They are truthful, dependable, and above all, they keep all conversations private.
Are willing to make a change. Culture Champions are enthusiastic about the improvements the organization is attempting and are dedicated to its success.
Build trusted relationships. They foster mutual respect and actually cooperate and partner with others to achieve success.
Are seen as resources in the organization. Culture champions are well-informed and skillful; if they don't know the solution, they know where to look.
Teach and coach others. They are patient and supportive, and they encourage people to acquire and practice new abilities by setting them up for success.
Culture champions are an important tool for bringing about and maintaining cultural change. Choosing the appropriate culture champions is important to the success of your culture transformation approach.
HR employees are vital resources for any change initiative, but everyone is responsible for successful organizational change. If your HR department provides all of your culture champions, cultural transformation becomes "HR's problem." Accessible and available culture champions should be found within the business. If this sounds like your HR department, that's fantastic! Culture champions should, in most situations, be representative of several departments, levels, and locations within the organization to encourage a diversity of ideas and experiences.