CultureTech: Using Technology to Support a Winning Culture

by Doug Claffey

And in today’s world, the best workplace culture wins

Clued-in organizational leaders know business strategy alone isn’t enough to succeed in today’s world. They know that if their workplace culture isn’t strong — and if their people aren’t aligned and engaged — even the most brilliant plan is dead on arrival.

Culture change is hard. Smart leaders already know this. And chances are, you’ve experienced leadership trying to turn a company around, only to face resistance as the organization digs its heels. But CultureTech and culture technology is about to change everything.

First things first, what is culture technology?

Culture technology is a multidisciplinary, science-based approach to improving organizational culture — both at scale and speed. It’s distinct from other approaches such as collaboration tools, market research technology, or HR technology. It’s not about translating an old paper-process into the digital age. Instead, it’s a new field that seeks to help both senior leaders and individual employees collaborate in building an intentional and purposeful culture.

Much of the technology stack deployed in organizations today seeks to support new ways of working (remote employees, collaboration across teams, project and task management).

But such technology has had little impact on the true fabric of an organization: the cultural bonds that bring teams together and the common purpose that keeps them aligned and focused.

Today there is a new confluence of disciplines which, supported by technology, has the potential to substantially improve the four key relationships that make up our work experience: From an individual’s relationship with their work and their manager to colleagues and the organization itself.

See a demo to learn how our CultureTech platform can change your workplace culture.

Three key practices for employee engagement

In our own ‘top workplaces’ research at Energage (based on a study of more than 47,000 organizations and feedback from 16 million employees), we have identified three key practices that achieve high levels of employee engagement:

  1. Leaders at top workplaces must place employees at the center of their thinking. During the ’80s and ’90s, there was a mantra of customer-centricity. But pretty soon it became obvious that to only way to operationalize the Service-Profit Chain (Heskett et al.) was to put your employees — especially front-line employees — at the center of your strategy. Today, leaders seek to understand what motivates and engages the workforce through feedback channels like surveys.
  2. Leaders must connect with all employees in a way that builds trust. By default, employees tend to look at senior leaders with a degree of distrust and cynicism. Employees are inclined to assume the worst and rarely speak up. Establishing psychological safety in the workplace should be a foundation for any healthy company culture. This requires going beyond traditional internal communications efforts such as town halls, executive videocasts, or IM-jams. Rather, it involves setting up communication channels through which employees can collaborate, build community, recognize one-another and provide candid feedback without fear of repercussion or exposure.
  3. Managers must adopt a coaching mindset. Team members now don’t want to be “managed.” Rather, they want their managers to help them to learn, grow, and realize their full potential.

Historically, these changes required enormous investments in senior leadership time, consultants, and in manager training.

Culture technology supports a winning culture

Technology platforms have emerged to tap into these disciplines. Leaders rely on these powerful tools to gain a deeper understanding of their organization’s culture and work dynamics. They also provide a way to get ahead of issues that could handicap their success.

As technology leaders, we need to look beyond the transactional capabilities and the automation of existing processes. Let’s consider how today’s technology stack can support transformative shifts in an organization’s workplace culture. How work is organized, how teams are built, and how people interact go a long way to forging the best possible culture.

And in today’s world of work, the best culture wins.

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