Culture Shocks

Sometimes firms pursue value add activities which require the associates to think not in line with the core culture of the organization. These changes though are geared to generate revenues end up confusing associates on their agenda and the culture they live in. Is it the executive political agenda? What is it that we are trying get to? Why should I even think about that? are some of the questions which surface among associates with such culture shocks.

Here we discuss a framework that can aid in a better Culture Nudge the firm plans to instill in it’s associates instead of giving them “Culture Shocks”. There are 6 major components of this framework 1) Direction 2) Rationale 3) Expectations 4) Immersion  5) Review and underlying all these is 6) Communication

Culture Shock

Direction – The foremost step an organization pursuing such a cultural nudge should take is to ensure that the direction of the nudge is in line with the organization’s vision. In case the direction that the nudge may lead to is not in line with the vision it will end up confusing associates. Thus, a careful thought must be given to set the direction. This is the strategic direction of the nudge, how it ties with the overall vision and the associated metrics to help gauge the direction.

Rationale – Organization should share the rationale behind such a nudge when they initiate such a program. Any abrupt communication post initiation only falls through the cracks and doesn’t do the necessary connection establishment with the associates as it should. A clear rationale i.e. logical reason with supporting ethos and pathos is necessary to build the momentum for the upcoming program.

Expectations – Set the expectations clearly on what areas does the program 1) needs help from associates 2) can help associates and 3) end goal metrics from the program.

Immersion – A 360 degree immersion of associates on the nudge attributes (i.e. the defined thought process / culture attributes for the associates to showcase post program) via both visual and hearing channels is quintessential for the programs success. The upstream and downstream hierarchical communications have to be in line with the nudge attributes. Any cracks found need to be filled asap.

Review – Firm should conduct frequent reviews on the direction established and the expectations set to see if the nudge program is 1) moving forward as intended 2) has started delivering value-add as expected and 3) did not generate any risk pools or abnormal behaviors.

Communication – Communication between all stakeholders from C suite to local agents should be in sync and channeled appropriately via 1:1, focus groups, or broadcast. There need to be feedback mechanisms from the local agents within each layer of organization hierarchy sharing how well the program is working at their level. In case of lack of motivation these agents need to be empowered to allow handling of local constraints which hinder the overall mission.

All of the above components need to be considered thoroughly for a firm to ensure that the Cultural Nudge doesn’t become a Culture Shock for the associates. Otherwise, the investments slowly and steadily continue to seep down the cracks further creating mass chaos and frustration resulting sometimes even in attrition.

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