Change and transformation projects are becoming increasingly common as businesses strive to evolve to better meet the ever-shifting demands and expectations of consumers. When managed efficiently, these projects are fundamental in driving organisations forward. However, quite often, leaders fail to recognise that culture and the engagement of people in the business can make all the difference when it comes to implementing these large-scale changes.
We know that without a clear plan in place, any project is almost certain to fail. But why are so many businesses neglecting their key assets - people - that will ultimately drive the success of these projects when forming strategies to support the goals and objectives of their transformations?
To explore this topic further, we spoke with Derek Bishop, Director at Culture Consultancy. Offering bespoke cultural change services to businesses across the UK, the team at Culture Consultancy is leading the way in creating high-performing cultures.
These are the five organisational changes of which success is underpinned by the culture of a business.
1. Mergers and acquisitions activity
Uncertainty underpins every M&A transaction, particularly for employees involved. Each group of employees will have different needs, concerns, wants and expectations, throughout the integration journey. Effectively managing this is crucial when it comes to the continued success of the businesses.
“No matter what the integration strategy may be, merging two existing cultures to one united and positively aligned culture, is no quick exercise and requires a properly designed culture change journey. There is no simple and easy to implement one-size-fits-all approach for this cultural journey.”
2. Digital transformation
“Most organisations are still significantly dependant on manual processes. Removing paper, automating processes, and digitalising the customer experience will all have cultural implications. Whether that be leaders that are used to receiving paper or PowerPoint reports, field staff who carry notebooks, or a manufacturing site that is not integrated with the office functions. A shift to using technology is likely to need a shift of mindset as well as behaviours.
“Such a significant shift to ingrained ways of working will require a newly designed culture, which enables the desired ways of working to be embedded into daily work practices.”
3. Developing innovations/customer propositions
Innovation is key to driving business success. Derek has highlighted that there are three core capabilities organisations need to deliver innovations/propositions that fuel the growth and impact of the organisation: intelligence, collaboration and adaptability.
It’s not just about data– it’s also about really listening to customers; understanding their real needs, and uncovering insight that allows you to anticipate customer problems.
Often structures within businesses are functionalised and a team ethos created, but in all too many instances attempts at collaboration fail because they are founded on a structured teamwork model. For many, in business and life, collaboration or working together, is just another way of explaining task allocation. True collaboration requires different aims and objectives; different relationships and communication; and different approaches and decision making.
The pace at which we operate means we need to be flexible and adaptable, with the speed to be able to stay competitive when our customer demands are changing so much.
“Each of these capabilities will require a shift of culture if you want to deliver innovations at pace. You need to embed a culture where constructively challenging any assumptions (conscious or unconscious) is desirable, providing it’s all done with the right intent.”
4. Changes to the operating model
“Any radical re-think or pivot of an existing business operating model will create cultural tensions. As much as a culture needs to evolve as you grow, if you significantly reduce the number of people in the business, or shift the core skill set of people needed in the business. This will require a re-think of the culture. Failing to shift ingrained ways of working may grind the new operating model to a halt, or at least slow things down as legacy ways of working naturally get taken forward into the new operating model.
“If you don’t future proof your culture, more often than not, new people joining will leave. This is because they won’t feel as though the opportunity allows them to make the contribution they want to and that it’s not a culture fit for them.”
5. Re-location or additional locations
“The physical workplace environment does influence the way things get done, hence the culture. A new physical workspace should be designed based on the culture that you need to enable the desired outcomes and experience for customers, your people, the business and other stakeholders.
“If you are moving location, it’s an opportunity to intentionally re-set cultural and behaviour norms. Or, if the existing embedded culture is serving you well, ensure you are reinforcing the key culture enablers in the new environment and not unintentionally triggering a different set of behaviours.”
At Page Outsourcing, we work closely with businesses transforming their operating models. Ensuring the right people are in place to implement these changes is critical, but without a clear objective and a solid plan to support the culture of your business, attracting and retaining top talent can be difficult. In many cases, early engagement plays a pivotal role in ensuring that a project is delivered on time and in budget. Engaging Page Outsourcing and our strategic partners early for a complete human capital solution, can help remove any unnecessary burden on resources.
If you would like to explore how we can support you during change and transformation projects, and source the right people to best meet the needs of your evolving organisation, get in touch with your local Page Outsourcing team today.
Business Development Manager, Page Outsourcing