As you logged back on last week coming off the slower pace of the holidays, you likely hit the ground running with all the carefully laid plans you made for 2023 (or you waited until this week to kick it into high gear – we don’t judge).

Perhaps 2022 was a great year for your people; you wrapped the year with pride, ready to carry that success through to 2023. Or maybe 2022 was challenging and you’re looking forward to turning the page to 2023. Whether you’re feeling proud of 2022, couldn’t be happier it’s finally 2023, or somewhere in between, a new year typically brings new initiatives – especially those related to company culture – and with good reason. Companies with strong cultures not only have more engaged people, but they also see four times the revenue of those that don’t.

New culture strategies often evoke a range of reactions. You’ll always have your skeptics, but with proper activation of culture strategies, you’ll sustain positive change for your entire organization. So how do you implement a new culture strategy and make it successful?

Well, it depends. Before rallying your people, make sure your activation plan is as well-planned as your culture strategy itself. To get your people on board, you must make the strategy engaging, accessible, and beneficial. What those things mean to your people will vary greatly across industries, organizations, and even individual departments, but the framework is the same: make it feasible, relevant, and sustainable.

Define Your Future

Your culture strategy is only as strong as it is functional. If your company has been working from home for the last three years, you’ll likely find it difficult to plan an in-person ping pong tournament as a team building exercise. Set your people up for success by meeting them where they are and exploring “the enormity of the possible.”

Having honest conversations about your current reality is the only way to ensure your ideal culture strategy is feasible. Pulse check your people and see how they’re feeling about current company culture before implementing changes. You may be surprised by the findings and how transparent your people will be when they’re asked what does and doesn’t work for them.

Build an Organizational Movement

Culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it is layered into every aspect of your company. Because it’s woven into the daily functions of your organization (and by default, the daily functions of your people), your culture strategy must directly benefit your people first. You asked the hard questions and had the honest conversations to define your current reality? Great. Use those findings to build your path forward.

Your people will be far more receptive to adopting a new culture strategy if they see where they fit into it, which likely means providing a variety of options. Rarely, if ever, does a one-size-fits-all approach work when building and activating a culture strategy, and your people need the flexibility to do what works for them. Your culture strategy and the methods to deploy it must be as diverse and dynamic as your people for each person to see themselves as a part of the strategy.

Create Lasting Change

Well done! You took the time to build and activate a culture strategy that works for your people. Here’s the catch: you have to sustain it. The fastest way leaders can ensure their new culture strategy sticks is leading by example and modeling the behavior of the new culture strategy. If part of your new culture strategy is increasing everyone’s amount of paid time off, leaders must use their PTO, too. If you created ERGs, leaders should actively participate in ones they identify with.

Reinforcing the “why” by showing support for the culture strategy fosters gratitude and sustainment. Following through on sustainment also builds trust with your people, especially if they had a role in designing the strategy.

With the current business landscape growing more competitive by the day, your culture strategy is the cornerstone of your organization’s ability to keep your people engaged. As the old adage says, “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.” And at Root – we do things differently. Need help building, activating, and sustaining a culture strategy? Let’s talk.

January 13, 2023

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