A Director’s Perspective of Organizational Culture Change
Organizational culture change influences the longevity of thousands of global organizations whose existence is threatened by negative corporate culture. Stagnant sales, high turnover and unmotivated employees are a few of the side effects associated with a negative culture but not the root cause of the organizational culture problem. Many executives believe culture change is easy – ‘let’s give the employees summer hours and a break room with a pool table and we will watch their productivity skyrocket,’ they think. But full scale culture change is far more complicated than superficial changes like adding a swanky break room. Changing your organizational culture takes time, energy and a team of experts; but the effect on employees and customers is extraordinary.
For the past 18 years we have been privileged to partner with incredible organizations, like the Mobile County Health Department, looking to change their company culture to motivate employees, improve performance and bring up the bottom line.
We sat down with Dr. Stephanie Woods-Crawford, Bureau Director of Environmental Health and Communicable Diseases to hear how the ongoing culture change initiative at the Mobile County Health Department has impacted her team.
- What was your initial reaction to your organization going to work on improving the service culture?
My first thought was, finally! Hopefully we will have an expert come in and make changes.
- Did you see behavior change in internal and external service delivery after training?
Immediately after the training I started to see the employees stopping and addressing patients who were lost or looked like they needed assistance. Prior to training with Moran Consulting, the employees would allow these patients to pass by. There has been a culture change in the way the community perceives us as well.
- What was your reaction to the Service Essentials for Leaders Training?
It provided us with an opportunity to look at ourselves and see where we needed to change. It helped us to understand that there are differences in leadership styles and we all pull traits from each other, good or bad.
- In what ways did the universal standards that were developed change internal and external areas?
Everyone had to follow the behavioral standards – suddenly we were all on the same level and accountable to one another for our actions.
- What tools and strategies that have been a part of this culture change initiative have led to positive results?
I was worried about the sustainability in the future. Moran Consulting helped us with the reinforcement modules to apply to future meetings – giving the employees an opportunity to continue with their action plans.
Overall the agency’s communications has changed. We have standardized meetings, and technology to assist in measuring results. We also have a quarterly newsletter called, “Culture” which details vital information.
- Knowing where you were a couple of years ago and where the organization is now, how would you describe the difference?
It is a positive impact to our culture within the agency. We are actually measuring results. There is so much data coming out of every program and department. It’s great to know that if I have an issue, I can go to a colleague and ask for assistance on how to help change the issue. We can go to each other and work together. I am enjoying seeing the success and seeing our growth.
- If you were to speak with a peer in another organization that was struggling with their service culture, what advice would you have for them?
I would tell them to analyze themselves first. Throw everything you thought you knew out the door and embrace the changes. Embrace the lessons and buy in, others will follow and they will have success.
- Why do you think this service culture process worked for MCHD?
I believe it worked because we had total buy in from the employees once they saw upper management believed in it. Previously, we participated in several programs that weren’t successful. We had a heart-to-heart with each employee, made a commitment to them, and they made a commitment back to us.
How will you inspire your staff to develop a positive culture?