Written By Chris Ihrig

Published on March 28, 2023

A healthy organizational culture doesn’t happen by accident.

It takes planning, commitment, and steady guidance from leadership.

It also requires ongoing nurturing. Culture is never static; it evolves and changes every day, and it will do the same within your organization. But for the leaders and organizations that get intentional and take this work seriously, the outcomes are significant. 

If your organization is just starting to focus on building a healthy culture, or you’re looking to improve upon the one you’ve already built, here are 5 steps you can take to set yourself up for success.

Build your Vision

Every journey needs a destination.

When starting out on building a healthy organizational culture, your first step needs to be identifying what you want your company’s culture to be. 

That means asking questions like, what does our culture look like? How do we want our team members to feel about where they work? What outcomes do we want from our organizational culture?

The answer to these questions will inform the roadmap your organization takes as it crafts and implements culture-driving initiatives, so make sure to write them down and refer to them regularly.

Communicate Your Vision Regularly

Once you’ve identified what your organizational culture should be, you need to share it with your team members.

Doing this means more than simply posting culture guidelines and calling it a day. You want to let your employees know your plan, what you want — and expect — the culture to look like, and provide a detailed process for how you’re going to get there.

At this stage, buy-in and support from executives is especially critical as they will be the ones expected to lead by example.

Manage Change

With expectations set and team members onboard, your next focus should be on identifying the key drivers within your company that need to be improved upon or changed in order to meet your culture goals.

Here again, executives and managers need to take the lead. Some hard decisions may need to be made, but there is definite upside in taking on the challenge to bring about transformational change. 

Keep in mind that any changes you feel you need to make to improve your culture don’t have to happen overnight. In fact, you should always be deliberate about any changes — big or small — that you will be asking your team as a whole to make. You also want to have in place benchmarks that show your team the progress they are collectively making.

Identify Culture-centric KPIs

As with any part of your business, you want measurable results as you work to improve your organizational culture. That means identifying KPIs that are connected to your vision.

Examples of these KPIs include:

  • Team member retention rate
  • Team member turnover rate
  • Average compensation
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Engagement scores from culture surveys

With these KPIs in place, you’ll be in a better position to keep your team members engaged with the culture-building process. You’ll also have the opportunity to share progress throughout your organization and elicit feedback from your teams.

A Marathon, Not a Sprint

A healthy organizational culture is something that requires constant attention, particularly during times of organizational change. It’s not a one-time job.

But by doing the heavy lifting, and then continuing to nurture and adapt your culture as needed, you’re able to place your company in the best possible position for finding and keeping talented individuals.

In the hyper-competitive business environment we find ourselves in today, where the talent pool for employers is often shallow, having a healthy organizational culture that encourages people to feel invested in your company counts as a big competitive advantage.