In the volatile world of business, culture isn't just a buzzword or a set of abstract values. It's the navigational chart that guides a financial institution through uncharted seas of change and growth.
A key to prospering during uncertain times is to assess the current culture and then develop a culture map as a navigational tool to reach your desired culture. Culture mapping is not merely a project for your organization; it's a holistic journey that involves deep examination and potentially an internal overhaul that can steer you toward your goals.
The reasons for pursuing this journey are compelling. Organizations continue to operate in a time of quiet quitting. Employees are costly to keep on the roster, and it’s necessary to make retention strategies a key priority for your success. An engaged culture equals engaged people. This engagement is necessary to drive organizational performance and effectiveness.
The risks of disengagement
Gallup finds that almost 50% of the workforce is disengaged. When translated into dollars, Forbes calculates that companies lose about a third of a disengaged employe’s annual salary. If a third of an employee’s annual salary is wasted, multiplied by 50% of your workforce, the cost of disengagement could cost your organization millions of dollars in losses on your balance sheet.
In short, culture mapping is closely tied to your organization’s performance and ROI.
So where to begin with culture mapping?
The process starts with defining your ideal culture. From there, you need to determine your current culture by collecting data about your institution and getting a lay of the land while also capturing the perspectives of your employees at all levels.
A third party experienced in devising and guiding the mapping process can help ensure you obtain the maximum benefits, but it’s essential that your organization maintain visibility and control throughout the journey.
6 key steps
Here's an overview of six culture mapping steps that can provide your leadership team with a vivid and thorough road map of how culture works at your organization as well as an action plan that works to make your culture more consistently constructive. The results will help you achieve business goals and sets the stage for improved growth.
1. Discover and understand
This involves articulating engagement research goals and understanding the organization’s landscape. It will be important to define survey parameters, milestones, timelines and success factors.
2. Get the buy-in of leadership
You’ll have a difficult time developing and implementing a meaningful road map without the support of the C-suite executives. It’s not just about the financial investment in the endeavor but also making sure they are clear on and understand the benefits. You need a uniform vision of the current and ideal culture. Otherwise, the results may not stick.
3. Seek a variety of perspectives
Survey all employees. Focus groups of up to 30 staff or 20 senior managers at a time can yield valuable insights efficiently. Individual one-on-one conversations can be of use as well. You’ll want to ask about cultural norms and expectations that define the current culture. You’ll learn how well the climate aligns with the state of the culture today.
4. Synthesize disparate insights
You need to make sense of all the information you’ve gathered. Your human resources team may be an effective in-house resource for this, but the reality is they may not have the bandwidth with the day-to-day demands. And in-house review is always subject to unconscious bias that could affect your understanding of the collected insights and possibly skew the results. Engaging an objective third party that's not emotionally connected to the business can analyze data objectively and provide perhaps more trustworthy findings.
Consider creating a cross-functional culture committee that is going to take this information and build the road maps and develop action steps, working together with the outside consultant as an accountability partner. Diversity of thought and perspectives along with people with different tenure and job levels will increase the credibility of the efforts.
5. Develop a collaborative work approach
Implementing solutions requires input and a close working relationship with key stakeholders. These could include representatives from HR/talent management, operations and technology departments. Discussions of cultural norms will lead to the creation of measurable behavior targets.
6. Implement a two-way communication plan
Communicate fully and regularly with your employees and encourage feedback about what you plan to undertake at your organization. Don't be discouraged if people push back. You may need to pivot the course based on new information received from employees. Be prepared for shifts in the journey as you make your way to your final destination.
In short, culture mapping is a performance catalyst, rather than a fixed means to an end. The process or creating the map typically takes 60-90 days, so with focused effort, you can begin to see meaningful, productive shifts by your next operating quarter. Working with your accountability partner to get everyone on board for the journey, the potential gains for your financial institution are limitless.
How Wipfli can help
Embarking on a culture mapping journey can be key to improving employee engagement at your financial institution. Wipfli’s team is ready to help you navigate the process and keep on track as your accountability partner. The results can be game-changing for your organization. Let us help you map a new course.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help improve your operations. And explore our services for financial institutions.
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