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Are you using technology to boost your business culture?

Check out our 6 technology tips for keeping your business culture alive and kicking (goals)!

The idea of building and nurturing an organisational culture is an enduring topic of discussion amongst growth-focused businesses. All the experts tell us we need to take time out of our business to work on our business, right? But who has the time?

This might be why many businesses actually haven’t been able to define “their culture”. But one thing we know (from past experience, as it happens!) is that if you don’t define your business culture, it will quickly define you…and the way your team works, interacts, communicates, socialises and deals with (or perhaps doesn’t deal with) issues.

What’s the benefit to defining your business culture?

Speak to any business coach about culture and they’ll quickly tell you defining your culture is about way more than putting up posters of eagles and references to truth, justice and the Australian way around your office. Creating culture is far more complex than any poster or vision board. It’s about codifying the behaviours you value in your organisation and describing tangible examples of what exemplary behaviour looks like in your team and in your business.

Building and nurturing a healthy, shared culture will:

  • Provide guardrails around the values and behaviours that underpin day to day operations and decision making;
  • Inspire your team to be more accountable, productive and demonstrate they can produce beneficial results;
  • Improve workplace relations, employee moral and engagement, and in turn improve collaboration and workflow;
  • Demonstrate your values and beliefs as an organisation to your clients and the community, and even help you to attract new, like-minded talent.

Once you’ve put in the hard yards, though, the real challenge is to keep your organisaitoal culture current, living and breathing!

Technology as a cultural connector

Taking time to define your organisational culture is a big job itself, but for most businesses who may or may not have a dedicated HR team to drive culture, keeping the momentum going might seem impossible! How can your managers check in with staff, manage culture initiatives and collect feedback that can be acted on in a regular and consistent way?

When we talk about organisational culture, we’re typically talking about the “soft skills” we agree on as an organisation to value and reward. But what you may not realise is how technology today can help you embed and promote your cultural values, and the soft skills they represent, into company life. One of the greatest “transformations” in the way technology has come to be used in business over the last decade is as a digital tool that connects our soft and hard skill sets.

There are some great technology tools today that offer ways to communicate in, on and around culture, automate the mechanisms for gathering and providing feedback on cultural values and initiatives, and provide insights into sentiment across your business – your cultural heartbeat!

Not sure where to start? Well here are a few more specific ways you can use technology to support culture in your business, along with some examples of how we do it at Maxsum – just to provide you with a bit of inspo to get you started!

6 technology tips for keeping your business culture alive and kicking (goals)!

Check in with the team regularly via an employee happiness platform. A what now?” I hear you say…an employee happiness or sentiment platform is a cloud-based subscription-model tool that allows you measure the “pulse” of your organisation. With the OfficeVibe platform we use at Maxsum, a short series of five survey questions is emailed to staff weekly about various aspects of their work day, life and the office culture that they can respond to anonymously. This gives real insight into employee sentiment and morale across the office and gives staff members a safe platform to voice their thoughts or concerns.  You could even start small by formulating some regular inhouse surveys yourself using Microsoft Forms or the Polly app in Teams.

Have some fun and reward your team using a peer-to-peer recognition tool. Using a tool like Bonusly,  staff members are able to award “points” to other staff members they see exemplifying any of the Maxsum culture values in their day-to-day work. Whenever points are awarded to someone, the giver has to describe which cultural value the recipient has exemplified and how. There’s a leaderboard ranking to gamify things a bit, and employees can trade in their points for vouchers, experiences and other rewards.

If you’re a Microsoft Teams user, you even have a peer-to-peer recognition app already available to you as part of your subscription. Check out how you might be able to use the Praise app to provide some recognition to your team.

Allow some social chat – just not on social media! Social media chatter is the new watercooler conversation. There’s not many businesses that want even their clean laundry aired through chat platforms, but giving your team a social-media-style outlet in-house to support and acknowledge each other is a great option. Microsoft Yammer is designed to function as an enterprise social network, or even a designated company-wide Teams channel for non-work-task-related chat could work. In any of these cases, however, make sure you set and communicate the “what’s acceptable” rules upfront and have some moderation in place!

Bring your performance discussions into the now. Online employee performance review and tracking tools like Trakstar have changed performance reviews from a once or twice a year meeting into an always-on conversation between managers and their direct reports. Employees and managers can login any time as see how team members are tracking against their goals, make notes and get a 365-degree view of goal progress throughout the year. Then all the discussion points are ready and waiting come time for performance review meetings and new goal setting.

Make sure new hires are a good “cultural fit”. By introducing personality profiling tools into your recruitment process and configuring them around your desired business culture values, you can get a more scientific view into how and if a potential candidate will fit into your team and work well with the existing personalities in your team. After all, getting the right people in the right seat and working within an organisational culture they’re well aligned to will be a win-win for all.

Let your marketing team loose! Do you produce digital content to support your brand or to attract customers? Why not allocate a bit of time and energy to capturing some content around the culture of your organisation and share it across your team? Microsoft Teams integrates with video service Microsoft Stream, so why not get some of your team on-camera talking culture and publish it to your team sites?

When and where to proceed with care!

It goes without saying that discussions around business culture and organisational values need to be handled openly, tactfully and communally – with engagement and buy-in across your whole team.

So here are a few things you’ll want to get right from the start!

As with any new technology, do the due diligence ahead of time and triple check that any tool or service you use meets the data sovereignty, storage, security, and compliance requires you need. Not all services or platforms are created equal – don’t just assume they’re secure – find out more, and if they offer an option for multifactor authentication – enable that too!

Also make sure that you have request and approval processes in place for the introduction of any new technology services or tools. The last thing you want is more well-intentioned shadow IT in your business!

Make sure you make it clear in employee contracts and onboarding processes that engaging in and using these tools and platforms is expected and ensure you have employee consent from the beginning. Also make sure you have a code of conduct or accepted practices that sit around these tools that employees agree to comply with from the beginning.

And finally, make sure that you have a feedback loop planned, documented and communicated. Remember – if you’re asking for feedback or involvement, you need to close the we asked – you said – we did communication loop!

If you’d like to find out what other great ways technology might be able to support your business in unexpected ways, contact us here or give Maxsum a call on 1300 629 786.