Create the right culture and mindset to drive change
By Richard Collins
In the March Insider edition ( No. 118) we informed you about CSR Accreditation and why firms should adopt corporate social responsibility. Richard Collins, Founder and Managing Director of CSR-A, spoke at the GGI European Regional Conference in Limassol, Cyprus, about the benefits of implementing CSR in companies. Corporate Social Responsibility resounds throughout the land, but how can you concretely drive the necessary cultural changes in your company? You will be amazed at what you are already doing, so it’s worth finding out how your business performs and see if your company already qualifies for a CSR Accreditation mark.
Let’s take a look at some success factors. Below are some key approaches to drive cultural change:
Clearly define the new socially responsible culture
Define the new culture clearly, fully explaining your goals and the values and attributes of the culture, as well as the acceptable behaviour in the new culture. You should make sure that the values created are written down and reflect the true ethos of the organisation. You want employees to be able to understand and identify with these values or they will not be authentic, which can be worse than not having them at all. Addressing the CSR-A Four pillars of environment, workplace, community and philanthropy provide the perfect framework to set out your commitments.
Make the business case for cultural change strong and avoid focusing on “we’re doing this because it is the law”. The motivation should be strong ethical cultures are good for businesses and there is growing evidence of this. This is a powerful driver for employee engagement, retention and will attract new talent.
A strong sense of collective purpose within your company will drive employee satisfaction. Both customers and employees value purpose and specifically seek businesses that aim to make a difference.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Through teaching and training, communicate your vision of the new culture and the required changes in values and goals. Communicate repeatedly – however many times you speak about the new culture, some team member will be hearing and understanding it for the first time.
Be a shining example
It’s important to remember that organisations don’t change; people do. Company leaders especially have the ability to drive impact, so starting with behavioural change within the leadership can be the quickest way to shift culture. As a leader, embody the new culture in your actions, words, and behaviours. Anything less will be perceived as hypocrisy and a lack of commitment to the expected cultural change.
Responsible leadership creates value for all stakeholders, positively impacting society, and inspiring innovation. This provides employees with a sense of meaning and fulfilment, generating financial return for shareholders, contributing to a sustainable world and reducing negative impacts on the environment.
Continue with relentless and ongoing follow-up, support and encouragement. Start every meeting discussing progress towards the new culture. When managing by walking around your organisation, clarify and confirm with employees their understanding of the new cultural mindset.
You don’t have to do it alone
Everything you do should be done in a consultative way. Nothing effective is ever developed in isolation at big organisations. Collaboration with other leaders, teams, and departments can be your secret weapon to success. Spend time consulting and talking with managers and employees in drafting any code of ethics and selecting values – be sure to involve your team in a meaningful way. The more people you involve in building values, the more they feel they own it which means they will naturally promote it. By creating inclusive enablement throughout the company you build capacity to deliver measured and validated impact.
It’s essential to remember that you can’t change culture simply by doing more training. You have to get the senior management team to promote and adopt new values and culture on an ongoing basis. Change the offce environment to reflect and allow for acceptance of the new values and culture. If environmental initiatives are the aim, start first in your own offce by taking initiatives to engage in activities like separating waste, becoming paperless, saving electricity and water, and commuting to work on public transit or by bike. Likewise, align staff incentives to match the culture.
Share good and bad examples
Share success stories about individuals or teams that have fully embraced the new culture. Demonstrate the positive impact this has on team spirit, on each individual, and on the company as a whole.
Share failures and missteps as well – describe the times when you or others did not live up to the new values and goals.
Involve the individual
Involve your employees, encouraging their new ideas, and then put them into practice. When appropriate, have individual employees teach and/or evaluate each other. Any involvement of the individual employee gives them a stake in realising the desired cultural change.
Change people’s mindsets by determining their true motivations and values – again, authentic values that are right for your company.
Patience and persistence
Changing your corporate culture involves changing the mindset and instincts of each person in the company. This does not happen overnight. Patience and persistence are necessary in working towards this goal, and one to three years is usually required.
Remember “Social Responsibility allows you to enrich the quality of lives for all by investing in social value as an essential part of an organisations culture. This provides purpose and impact and will ensure a sustainable and profitable business. It will help to build a better world for future generations by improving the environment and ensuring a cohesive community to live and work in”.
GGI is proud to be the first global partner of CSR-A in the fields of accountancy and legal services. It is a superb opportunity to review our firm’s culture and values, and to redefine and shape them. We are highly motivated to strive to be ever better.
The CSR Accreditation provides independent validation and recognition of an organisations socially responsible activities. It is a powerful way to communicate these positive actions to all stakeholders and can be used to deliver the information required for ESG reporting and Identify the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which you may wish to support.
Published: GGI Insider, No. 119, May 2022 l Photo: Gorodenkoff - stock.adobe.com