Driving culture change through behaviour transformation

Learn how to make effective changes to the culture of an organisation as a leader through behaviour transformation.

Driving culture change through behaviour transformation, featured image, Clarasys

Driving culture change through behaviour transformation

Learn how to make effective changes to the culture of an organisation as a leader through behaviour transformation.

Driving culture change through behaviour transformation, featured image, Clarasys

Meet the author

Klara Nenadlova

Managing Consultant

What is culture and why is it important?

Company culture is a by-product of a set of individuals coming together, sharing their values, attitudes, and behaviours, and incorporating a set of standards and systems.  It, in turn, shapes the employee experience, which directly affects the customer and, ultimately, overall financial performance.

It is no surprise that a good culture results in happier employees, improved engagement levels, and higher retention rates. When so much rides on creating a strong, positive culture, however, it’s easy to get drowned by the plethora of possible avenues to go down or initiatives to create.

The most important first step is to recognise that behaviour transformation means altering habits and behaviours throughout the organisation for the long term while protecting what works. This means everyone needs to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in – leaders aren’t above change and must be at the forefront of the change they want to see. We’ve written in the past about how everyone in a business must be involved in creating a positive culture – and it can’t be fixed with a few wall stickers with motivational words on them.

At Clarasys, our workplace culture has received a few prestigious awards over the years[1], but that doesn’t mean we can sit back and bask in those glories. As we scale, we’re conscious that our culture could be diluted, so we set up what is known internally as The Clarasys Way, which continually assesses how we can retain our culture.

So you’re a leader in your organisation wanting to make effective changes – what does behaviour transformation actually look like?

Behaviour transformation – channel your inner King Arthur

Behaviour transformation requires every person in an organisation to play their part in shifting the business’s culture towards the desired state. As a leader, you are absolutely instrumental in making this a success.

This doesn’t just mean seeking feedback from your people about what’s going wrong as well as right. It’s about creating an environment of psychological safety where people feel they can openly suggest improvements without fear of reprisal, and it’s about having a clear plan of action once people are heard. Roundtable discussions will help to identify areas that need attention but there needs to be a framework or support structure in place to create buy-in at every level: clearly state what “good” looks like, what it means for the individual and most importantly clearly define the “why” and “why now”. As a leader, you are in a unique situation to help guide your teams on how to incorporate new ways of working or thinking into their day-to-day. Your focus must be on creating clarity and lowering “the noise”, particularly where lots of change may be happening in a short timeframe. 

Once you are at the forefront of change, you can set a precedent which others can follow. However, employees also need to feel empowered to try things out. For this to be successful, a leader must be comfortable with things not being fully defined or perfect at the outset. A culture of trial and error will empower people to build a  continuous improvement mindset and become more innovative by design, making any future transformation initiatives much easier.

Remember that change cannot be rushed. There may never be a “best time” and what’s more important is ensuring change is done in the right way and at the right pace. This means minimising change fatigue and ensuring that you’re actually making positive changes, rather than just “moving the deckchairs around”, as the saying goes.

Practical tips

Be purposeful and ask yourself why you are making changes at that moment in time and understand what you’re trying to achieve. Set a goal, use this as your north star, and prioritise accordingly. Regularly remind people about your direction of travel and the reasons behind the change. Don’t be afraid to step back and assess whether something is still the right thing to do. Communication and transparency are your secret weapon, but leading by example is the most important attribute.

Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that behaviour change doesn’t happen overnight, people will react differently, and you may make mistakes along the way. As a leader, it’s important to recognise that change is a journey rather than a static goal. Learn on the go and listen to feedback from those around you. By making small, incremental changes and having a culture of continuous improvement, the path to behaviour transformation will start to materialise.

If you need help with transforming behaviour in your organisation or managing large-scale change, get in touch today.

[1] Clarasys was named a Kudos Culture Leader in 2022, 5th Best Mid-Sized Company to Work For in the UK by Best Companies in 2021,  and was listed as one of the Best Places to Work in 2023 by The Sunday Times.

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