Maintaining Morale When Managing a Culture Shift

Maintaining high morale during a culture shift is crucial to its success. It’s the foundation from which the energy needed to implement change is drawn. Cultural and digital transformation are key drivers of growth and high morale is one of the ways that we achieve that vision. But these transformations are also how we increase morale from the beginning.

So, how do you produce morale from a digital transformation and culture shift? Here are some best practices.

Make the Vision of Change Universal

A shift in culture is based around a shared vision, the goals and the work it takes to get there. To maintain morale around an initiative, the vision needs to be universal. Without full employee buy-in, your culture change will suffer from the thoughts and actions of detractors. 

The vision needs to be concise and understandable to all, including not only how to get there but also why it’s needed in the first place. This vision needs to be effectively communicated throughout the organisation. 

It can be communicated in any way, verbal or electronic. It can also be tied into the very cultural transformation goals you’re setting so the vision becomes an integral part of the daily business processes. A vision doesn’t have to be solely holistic, it can also be intimately bound to tangible KPIs.

The vision itself can be described in terms of goals, a cultural code or even a set of values you want to work towards. 

Focus On Goals, Not Specific Technology

Culture shift is intimately tied up with the introduction of new technology, but it needs to be introduced for the right means. Simply stating you want to migrate to the cloud doesn’t make sense if it doesn’t correlate to any specific goals. 

What outcome are you trying to drive towards? When you implement a new piece of technology with no real end goal, there’s no way to prove an ROI. Managers and employees won’t find it useful if there's no reason for using it. 

The questions need to be phrased better.

For example, ask yourself how a technological change can increase the efficiency of your public sector functions. Or to be more specific - how could chatbots serve to help you better communicate with citizens?

When we use technological change to initiate a culture shift, it needs to be done with goals in mind. They provide the framework through which real results can be achieved which helps increase organisation-wide morale.

Provide Feedback and Acknowledgement

When work isn’t recognised, morale decreases. Lack of appreciation and recognition leads to employees feeling like they’re not cared about which is a huge detractor to any successful culture shift implementation. 

To initiate a culture change, a lot of work is needed - more than usual as you’re taking your organisation from one state to another. This work needs to be rewarded from a simple congratulations to an actual award or gift. The goal is to create an environment where work is noticed and appreciated. 

This helps a culture shift by incentivising employees to keep up the good work. Shifts don’t happen without creating a ‘culture of appreciation’.

Similarly, if work isn’t up to scratch, this doesn’t mean you should reprimand people. Alternatively, offer constructive feedback. This helps employees build on any lower performance and also improves accountability. Support needs to be given freely to anyone for as long as it’s needed.

This helps create a unified, morale-rich workforce - which can make digital transformation projects progress more smoothly.

Evolve the Initiative

Evolving the culture shift initiative revolves around the holistic, human side of change and the tangible, numerical outcomes. 

Initially, as the culture shift progresses, you should record how it’s affecting overall business performance. How is it meeting KPIs? What areas look like they still need improvement? Once you can visualise this data, you can evolve the process to be more efficient.

This isn’t the only way in which cultural transformation is carried out so it maintains high morale. You also need to consider the human side.

This could mean many things, including providing recognition. It should also be implemented in ways that are exciting, considerate and fun. 

Small things, like hotdesking or regular online surveys for employee feedback, that shake up the status quo can create a more innovative environment so new ideas can be shared. This complements a high-morale workforce by helping to create a proactive office culture.

Realise That Cultural Transformation is a Part of the Bigger Digital Transformation Picture

Imagine that 20 years ago, Windows 95 was changing the way in which organisations delivered their targets. Now, the nature of technology is a lot more advanced. Through modern technology, the amount we interact has increased. Not just with our immediate colleagues, but everyone in an organisation and beyond.

Collaboration, driven by digital transformation, has become an effective advantage when it comes to dealing with external pressure. The pressure to remain agile means that if you don’t adapt, you can’t provide. 

Employees need to realise that digital transformation doesn’t mean there’s a chance employees will be replaced by automation. It actually provides a chance for people to learn more, design more and work together more intuitively. Think of it as another arrow in the quiver, rather than a completely different weapon.

Digital transformation can create a more streamlined culture for all our stakeholders.

Create New Company Traditions

Company culture can be physically shown by a number of traditions or habits that employees carry out regularly. These help to create a more familial culture people are proud of and actively look forward to. 

These are only limited by the imagination of those implementing them. For example, you could try beginning employee of the month prizes, after-work hangouts, monthly meals-out or even dedicate specific months to charity fundraisers. 

New ideas and implementations, when brought about within a culture shift, are seen as the positive effects of said transformation. Not only do they maintain morale but they also actively increase it and can turn a negative environment into a positive one. This can make transitioning into a new working environment (such as one updated by digitising operational processes) much easier.

Maintain Open Communication

Finally, communication is absolutely crucial when it comes to a successful culture shift. It’s not only your voice that needs to be heard, as everyone needs the ability to raise their voice and make any concern they have known. 

As we implement culture shift, we also need to provide a space for both speaking and listening, which in turn shows respect for all stakeholders within the change. In doing so, you’re much more able to discover any issues that might have gone unsolved if they hadn’t been communicated.

Remember, maintaining morale is only possible when you work to develop a proactive culture. Proactive means that you’re not simply adapting to change and reacting when necessary, you’re the key driver of change. This idea needs to be communicated to everyone involved. 

Maintaining morale involves a lot of employee buy-in and engagement. To discover how to truly capitalise on these actions, download the Cultural Transformation Roadmap.

Increase Employee Morale with Cultural Transformation

Cultural and digital transformations are the best ways of achieving high rates of performance so that we can effectively cater to the needs of the citizenry. It’s also the way in which organisations can improve working conditions and morale levels. 

To discover the best practices of cultural transformation, click on the link below to download your copy of the Cultural Transformation Roadmap.

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