Technology - an enabler of cultural and behavioural change
In the workplace, culture can be defined as ’the way we do things around here’. It encompasses everything from how people communicate with each other, to how they respond to change or when something goes wrong, or right.
- AUTHOR|Silke Brittain
- DATE|02 Jun 2023
- READ TIME|4 min read
Evolving your organisation’s culture can be a sensitive subject – many people will want to cling onto the old ways of working and culture of days past (we’ve always done it like this). But the world is constantly changing, and as many aspects of our working lives have had to adjust, so too do company cultures. They need to be maintained and fostered in line with new ideas and approaches, ensuring behaviours evolve and align with our strategic objectives.
People tend to assume that anything to do with culture is within the HR team’s remit. In reality, it starts with the leadership team and requires widespread buy-in and alignment across multiple departments and teams.
Internal cultural and behavioural change can take a long time to take effect because it requires changing the way people think and feel – it needs to be gradual and at a sustainable pace that allows people to adjust in order for them to change how they behave and interact on a daily basis.
Technology has a key role to play in facilitating these changes.
Maintaining a healthy culture takes commitment from everyone involved:
- Management needs to lead by example – it needs to provide an aspirational vision and convincing case for change.
- Employees must be willing and motivated to engage with this journey.
The role of technology in facilitating and reinforcing a healthy culture
The first step in creating a healthy culture is awareness and understanding of your current culture.
- What are you doing well?
- What do you need to stop, start or continue doing?
- How can you measure behavioural change?
These questions are important because they help you avoid the ‘sunk cost fallacy’ which occurs when people continue investing resources into something that has already become uneconomical or ineffective.
Technology can be helpful to create an understanding of the current state through analysis of performance management data, employee engagement surveys and feedback, and employee motivation and recognition initiatives. Mining this data to gain insights through technology is a lot easier than more manual methods, especially for larger companies.
It also drives new ways of communicating and collaborating across an organisation – integral to developing a healthy culture. From Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack, to more advanced employee engagement apps or project management tools, technology has brought new ways of working, interacting and meeting with colleagues. All of which have a high impact on how you develop and evolve your organisational culture.
Likewise, technology also supports and facilitates the implementation of new processes and procedures for an organisation. For example, ERP transformation could lead to a complete reengineering of business processes, resulting in changes to how people interact internally and externally, and how the business is performing.
Clearly, technology has a big role to play in how your company culture evolves and changes. However, it is important for companies to think about what they want their culture and behaviours to look like in order to achieve their strategic goals. Leaders need to clearly define their vision and actively drive the culture and behaviours they want to foster or technology will shape and drive it for them.
Key considerations to ensure success
- Have a clear vision of the culture you want to create and foster.
- Have a clear case for change to answer the ‘why’.
- Ensure you have leadership cohesion and a high level of engagement.
- Clear and consistent communication to give transparency.
- Never lose sight of the future – you’re setting the new basis for the whole organisation!
- Embrace the challenges, there will be bumps along the way.
- Set high but achievable standards and hold yourself and the leadership team accountable.
- Motivation builds momentum, momentum boosts productivity – keep everyone on board with the journey.
- Celebrate the successes and draw attention to what can be improved.
- Learn and plan for future adaptations or further phases of change.
Adoption of technology and enabling cultural and behavioural change
Do not fall into the trap of thinking that selecting and acquiring technology is the most important part.
Yes, the right tools need to be implemented, but it is the rate of adoption and level of engagement with technology that will determine whether technology’s role as an enabler of cultural and behavioural change has had a positive impact.
The solution to every business challenge starts with a human conversation.