How important is feedback technology in changing a company’s culture?

Getting your company culture right is a big part of creating a high performing organisation that’s able to retain key talent, harvest employee insight and achieve long term success. And most experts agree that culture change is at the heart of successful business transformation. But how important is technology in changing a company’s culture? Isn’t culture change more a product of ‘soft skills’ than tech? 

Technology can actually have a big impact – look at how the web and social media are already driving cultural change; they have revolutionised how we interact with each other as well as with businesses and government. And, of course, digital technology and channels mean new ideas and attitudes can spread faster than ever, impacting tastes and fashion.

Used in the right way, employee feedback technology can therefore have a positive effect on company culture, by creating a two-way dialogue between management and employees, and allowing teams to interact, collaborate and share ideas. It can play an important role in realising cultural change within an organisation, supporting the creation of a high performance culture. It is helpful in three important areas:

1. Tracking cultural alignment

If you are planning cultural change you need to understand and measure the important aspects of your company culture now. A programme of continuous employee surveys and quick polls using feedback technology can help build an up-to-date picture of how aligned employees are to your existing cultural model and track if your culture change initiatives are working. Findings can be displayed in real-time through dashboards to help you make evidence-based decisions and identify aspects you need to change or devote more resources to.

2. Giving staff a voice

Online employee communities play an important role in supporting cultural change. They allow you to listen in to the employee voice, providing you with insights into what staff are thinking. You can create conversations around topics such as new initiatives, company policies or strategic decisions in order to learn the employee perspective. By providing a channel for dialogue between management and employees and between employees in different departments and teams, they help create a transparent open culture.

Communities such as these are particularly relevant for large, geographically dispersed organisations or those with a more flexible workforce, such as mobile or shift-based employees. They are also important if your organisation is tapping into the flexible, temporary or part time talent pool that makes up the gig economy. By letting workers log on and participate from wherever and whenever is convenient – you maximise involvement and capture the views of the widest cross-section.

Remember that if employees aren’t given a voice, they’ll probably just continue the conversation elsewhere, on social media and other forums where you won’t always be listening.

3. Sharing best practice

Driving cultural change in an organisation is about embedding new behaviours, attitudes and values within the workforce so that they become the norm. Feedback technology can help spread the message and establish those new ways of doing things as well as tracking where tension and difficulties exist.

You can support managers during the culture change process by incorporating training materials within the action planning part of real-time dashboards, giving them access to information that will help them spread the word.

And by creating closed communities for managers you can help them support each other through the change process by sharing their experiences and best practice examples as they begin to drive the adoption of new behaviours. 

Creating any sort of cultural shift is always going to be an ongoing, long term commitment. And today technology is as important for cultural change within business and work environments as it is in people’s personal lives. Start by being clear, open and transparent about what is expected of people and what they should be aiming for in their specific role or function. And then use feedback technology to support managers roll out new behaviours and attitudes as well as to listen to the employee voice in order identify areas of concern as change works through the organisation.

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