Managing Culture Change in the Public Sector: How to Prove it Works

A main component of a successful digital transformation project is managing culture change. If your team is on board with the project, you're more likely to achieve your goals within your desired timeframe. And that includes getting management and key stakeholders on board too. 

Initially, management or key stakeholders tend to only care about the cost and whether the returns foot the bill - which can be something that’s hard to prove. Determining the ROI of a cultural change (one that sits within the wider digital transformation project) doesn’t exactly equate to numbers on a page, at least not at first.

So how do we prove it works? Follow this guidance to see how the success of cultural transformation can be measured.

What Are Your Biggest Touchpoints?

It’s worth using this stage as the first part of any transformation plan. Identify the biggest touchpoints that you’re looking to either improve or resolve. By asking these questions, not only do we build a framework for evaluating change down the line, we also begin a meaningful dialogue. 

After all, if an organisation is looking to serve the community, the process towards culture change should be open to critique from all stakeholders. Use the following info to determine the touchpoints for change and how to progress in the process.

How Are You Framing Your Culture Change?

This means building a narrative that people can empathise with, understand and agree to implement. Culture change needs to be something everyone can get behind.

Answer these questions:

  • Why do we need a change in organisational culture?
  • What would successful implementation look like?
  • What goals can we hit along the way?

By creating a framework for what to measure, you can improve the alignment between leadership needs and goals, incentivising more employees and informing the solution.

Gathering Data

By undertaking a transformation project (digital or otherwise), you’re implementing a change learning process. The only way to inform yourselves through this is to gather data, so you can make adjustments in real-time. 

Make sure that you’re keeping track of anything that needs to be changed in order to progress. Similarly, has your progress changed direction at all?

Demonstrating Results

What evidence do you have that the transformation project is going in the right direction? Is it employee buy-in, internal/external engagement, better customer satisfaction? Furthermore, what are you getting out of your investment? 

By focusing on the impact of any decision, you can assess what results you may or may not be achieving. 

Measuring the effects of your changes should be done in ways that make sense and can actually provide solid ROI. For example, if you’re altering your social media presence to be more inclusive and accessible, are you getting any more interactions?

Through accurate measurement, you’re facilitating improvements and adding value to the process. What you learn has multiple benefits. It allows you to show your progress to management and improve upon trust and also will aid you with any change carried out in the future. 

Decide Upon Your Measurements

Culture change in the public sector can be seen as an ill-defined thing. It’s like not noticing how much we grow as a child because we’re experiencing the growth over an extended period of time. If an organisation is changing, it’s changing slowly, which can mean key stakeholders aren’t seeing major differences fast. 

To prove that culture change is working, we need to show evidence. So what do we measure? It’s not a straightforward answer. The daily operations of an organisation are intimately tied up with culture change initiatives, which can manifest in subtle ways that fly under the radar. 

However, measuring the effects of culture change isn’t impossible. For example, we can measure the following through analytics, company surveys and general feedback:

  • Interpersonal practices that change over time to align more with the goals of culture change. This could be seen by faster turnover times, increased collaboration and improved employee satisfaction.
  • Shifting organisational practices, such as a new digital platform that aligns all departments.
  • Organisational outcomes, such as customer satisfaction, engagement and talent retention.

Each key change will have a number of related effects that can be physically charted. Many of these should be fairly obvious. For example, if you’re trying to increase online interactions through the use of a chatbot, are your online interactions increasing over time?

Furthermore, we need to determine how to manage culture change through the measurement metrics we choose. During culture change, there are two ways data can be collected:

  1. Holistic, social methods that cover changes in beliefs, attitudes and satisfactions.
  2. Data-based methods that measure more tangible outcomes, such as interactions, transactions or CTR.

How Will You Measure the Effects of Culture Change?

There are a number of ways we can actively record the effects of a transformation project. As we mentioned above, these can be ‘people-based’ or ‘number-based’.

Conduct Mini Surveys

Mini surveys or ‘pulse checks’ can give you a small, fast, periodic assessment of what your employees and colleagues are experiencing. They’ll be able to observe different initiatives at work in their specific departments and provide relevant feedback. Sites like SurveyMonkey can be utilised to quickly send surveys to all employees.

This also helps employees become more engaged in the change process. It assesses progress and helps to remind employees about the goals that are being worked towards.

Surveys could cover:

  • Engagement.
  • Shared direction.
  • Developmental climate.
  • Trust.

Appoint Employees to Report on Culture Change

Another methodical and engaging way of proving culture change is working is to designate a number of employees to make note of any key changes within the ongoing initiative. They can be passive reporters or work to actively incentivise the rest of the workforce. 

Each designated employee needs to record what they see and experience. Each week, a small meeting can be held to explore these findings and develop the necessary responses. The reporting they do can be either quantitative or qualitative. 

Target Business Outcomes

You must determine which metrics are the most expected to change throughout a period of culture change. Connecting the recorded statistics of both business climate and culture to the goals you’re chasing is an effective way of proving the changes are working. It helps you to determine which initiatives are most successfully influencing overall performance. 

The weakest parts are areas to focus on for improvement, while the successful areas need a consistent amount of energy to further drive success. 

Overall, this data needs to be reviewed and utilised in order to make adjustments. Any team can use this data to drive the insights needed to affect successful organisational culture change. 

Framing the change, recording progress, incentivising staff and learning from the data are all successful ways of implementing change and then proving that it works. 

However, we realise cultural transformation like this doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re curious about more key information for this beneficial process, download the Cultural Transformation Roadmap.

Discover the Best Practices of Cultural Transformation

Your guide will explore the ways in which employee engagement can be incentivised, the importance of culture change, how culture change looks in the public sector and much more. You’ll also learn how cultural and digital transformation are inherently linked and can prepare your organisation for future success.

Click on the link below to download the Cultural Transformation Roadmap.

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