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March 6, 2021

Setting Company Culture Goals for Work

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Ally
company that set cultural goals for work by writing motivating statements at the office

A strong company culture comes with innumerable benefits and can be your ticket to long-term organizational success. One study from CFO found that organizations with a strong company culture enjoy an increase in revenue growth of up to 400%.  When strategically leveraged, a positive company culture can boost productivity, and improve employee engagement and retention. But how do you get there? It’s part branding, part ideology, and part workplace dynamic. Your company culture communicates who you are as a business to all potential shareholders including investors, collaborators, customers and talent

And like any other aspect of business infrastructure, company culture is something which can be cultivated through actionable planning. Far from being something that “just happens,” it is well within the grasp of enterprise leadership to influence the cultural dynamic within their organization. 

What are cultural goals?

Company objectives which relate to ideology, interpersonal dynamic, behavior, community support, or workplace representation can be thought of as cultural goals. Broadly, some examples of these goals might include:

  • Improved DEI
  • Improved retention of employees from underrepresented demographics
  • Greater enthusiasm for innovation and technological improvements
  • Greater investment in personal education and upskilling
  • Better collaboration and teamwork
  • Increased involvement in local community

These goals can be tricky to set and track because they are not necessarily quantifiable in the same way that other aspects of business are, such as finance or marketing strategy. Culture is expressed through social behavior and shared ideologies and mindsets, and may prove difficult to measure. 

A strong company culture, however, often provides quantifiable results, such as increased retention, a higher bottom line, and better innovation both in a specific department and more broadly across the entire enterprise. Once your culture strategy is in place, make sure you are keeping track of these metrics in addition to any employee feedback you might already be gathering. 

Culture initiatives are often implemented through HR, but any cultural shifts which want to happen must involve a top-down strategy. It is important that leadership, including the C-suite, engage with culture goals in order for palpable change to be affected. 

In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at different methods you can employ to plan cultural changes within your company.

Using Popular Goal-Setting Methods to Plan Cultural Objectives

Here are three strategies which provide uniquely useful techniques for setting goals at any level within a company. We’ll talk briefly about what they are, and then provide you with an example of how they can be leveraged to support cultural objectives. 

Management By Objectives

The MBO strategy is a straightforward goal-setting method which is best used in helping employees or direct reports understand the responsibilities and expectations specific to their role within a given project, or day-to-day operations. MBOs can be implemented in departmental or enterprise level goal setting, but should be used in tandem with other, more comprehensive strategies as MBOs only help you understand what should be achieved, and not the steps you will need to take in order to get there. 

In setting culture goals, MBOs will provide clear statements describing ideal end-results of unspecified cultural initiatives. 

Here are a few examples of cultural goals set using the MBO method. 

Personal

  • Cultivate a better understanding of how to be supportive of colleagues with different backgrounds than my own.
  • Present argument for inclusive language in marketing materials to supervisor.
  • Participate in departmental gatherings.

Departmental

  • Cultivate transparency in departmental decision making.
  • Ensure all projects are a collaborative effort with employees autonomy at the forefront.

Organizational

  • Create a company culture dedicated to learning and improvement.
  • Create cultural workplace initiatives which support the wellbeing of the wider community.

SMART Goals

The SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. This objective strategy was designed to help goal-setters get as clear as possible on what it is they are aiming for, and how they are going to get there. They can be easily leveraged for personal, team, departmental or enterprise objectives. 

Here is an example of an enterprise culture goal set using the SMART method. 

Specific – Create a broad company dynamic which is encouraging of cross-level collaboration, employee autonomy and transparent decision making processes. 

Measurable – Attainment of objectives will be measured by change in rates of participation, retention levels, and through candid employee feedback. 

Attainable – Our company holds cross-level collaboration as a fundamental value. Leadership will be trained in facilitating collaboration and soliciting ideas and input from direct-reports. 

Relevant – Collaborative work environments are demonstrated to have a positive effect on employee engagement, retention and performance. 

Time-based – Leadership training will be completed within 1 year. Engagement and retention metrics will be reviewed and assessed every 3 months to measure progress. 

[Read More: SMART Goals]

Objectives and Key Results

The OKR strategy is a versatile goal-setting method that allows you to clearly understand your objective, as well as the steps (“key results”) you will need to take in order to complete said objective. These key results can include dynamic shifts, training requirements, hiring decisions, structural changes, and any other relevant article or element which is necessitated in reaching your ultimate goal. 

One particular benefit to using OKRs is that they can be implemented in tandem with other goal-setting strategies. For example, you can define your objective using the SMART method, and your key results using MBOs. But even without, OKRs have the greatest application potential and are the only strategies which lay out a roadmap to your objective in their design. 

Here is an example of a cultural objective set using the OKR method.

Objective: Create a company culture which is supportive of a healthy work-life balance for all employees.

Key result 1: Streamlined day-to-day operations in all departments.

Key result 2: Better mental health service access for all employees. 

Key result 3: Flexible work hours, option to work remotely. 

Culture Goals and OKRs

Facilitating cultural changes at your organization rarely has an obvious solution. And that’s where OKRs come in. Using an Objectives and Key Results strategy to implement culture shifts within your company will allow you to set an ultimate goal and create flexible but comprehensive targets that track and measure cultural change as it happens.

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