This organisation started out as a non-operational oil and gas investment business, and acquired an oil & gas operational business. Over the past few years, the business has attempted to amalgamate two very different organisations with two explicit cultures.
Different perceptions existed from one subsidiary to the other, and there was a lot of ‘us vs them’ mentality that was still maintained across the organisation.
- Key goal: run an organisational ‘health check’ to assess the current operating culture with an aim of determining what is currently working, and how might the organisation build upon this into the future.
Due to differences in the way both businesses were originally run and the differing operating cultures, this organisation wanted to understand the areas where improvements needed to be made in order to create and enhance a more succinct culture across the two subsidiaries.
The challenge was to create an environment where all employees were able to share their perspectives and to provide in depth, valuable feedback whilst ensuring anonymity.
Engaging in a third party provider (People Solutions) allowed for employees of this organisation to trust the process, and remain confident in communicating their thoughts and ideas in a manner where anonymity would be maintained.
We selected to implement a culture survey as the solution, as this provides a means by which the company can review current cultural perceptions and identify areas of strength and development that the business can leverage and manage. This approach is the first step in developing a high performing organisation.
Our solution involved the following stages:
Agree the Purpose
Prior to commencing the culture survey, People Solutions spent time liaising with this organisation’s CEO and HR Manager to understand what information has been gathered to date (from current perceptions and previous surveys or initiatives), the current organisational structure, and the dynamics and demographics. This aided in ensuring the data gathered is interpreted in relation to the company’s business values, systems, processes and desired culture, but also allowed People Solutions to tailor questions to measure these aspects of culture.
Communicate the Rationale
In conjunction with Senior Leadership, People Solutions facilitated a session with employees outlining the rationale and objectives, but also to convey a commitment to maintaining confidentiality and anonymity. Communicating these messages was important to ensure that the feedback we received during the interview process was reliable and valid. It allows for employees to question the process, but also to begin thinking about their experience and perceptions of the current culture and how this can be improved. It was critical for the success of this process that all stakeholders involved had a good understanding of the purpose, the outcomes and the potential actions that will be taken.
Conduct the Survey (Individual Interviews)
The organisation requested individual interviews with People Solution’s consultants as a means of understanding the employees experience and perceptions of the current and future culture as included.
The interview followed a structured format. Our process was based upon ‘appreciative inquiry’ where the focus is to provide an affirmative, forward-thinking context for employees to think about the culture of the business.
Interviewing all employees ensured that each division of the business had their say and that everyone ‘had a voice’.
Discussions around the influence on the workplace culture and ‘what could be done better’ allowed participants to share ideas and create energy that could provide this company with valuable, creative, and targeted feedback and recommendations for improvement. All interview data was recorded by People Solutions’ Consultants and coded for analysis. All information was treated with strictest confidence.
Our report at the completion of the survey identified:
- Key strengths of this organisation’s work culture i.e., process and practices that enhance and foster leadership, teamwork and productivity.
- The alignment between organisational values and employee workplace practices.
- Areas for improvement.
- Recommendations for development and intervention.
These results were communicated in a report format and presented to the CEO and HR Manager. Senior Leadership and People Solutions then held a session with employees to discuss the findings and recommendations, with an action plan for changes communicated by the CEO.
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