Creating a Culture Committee - The Lean Way (Part 2)

This is the second installation of a three-part series about getting a Culture Committee or Program off the ground in your office using the Lean approach.

If you’re not familiar with the Lean approach, check out Part One of this series: A Lean Crash Course

Part Two: Data Gathering & Approval

Step 1: Initial approval

At this point, all you need is the blessing to begin exploring what your program/committee could look like. This may come from HR, marketing, leadership or a combination of all three. Here’s some good ammunition to make your case:

  • Silos: Departmental, office or cross-company silos are expensive because they impede knowledge sharing, create animosity and often have conflicting agendas.

  • Recruitment: In the age of social media, your culture is no secret, and companies that have a strong company culture attract better talent. This is especially true for younger talent. Millennials desire a strong company culture more than anything else when deciding where to work.

  • Retention:  Not only is replacing a valuable employee a massive expense, it results in re-training, knowledge loss and a hit to morale. When people feel like they’re part of a community, they’re far more likely to stick around. Studies have indicated measurable increases in turnover for companies with poor or nonexistent culture.

  • Revenue:  Your culture impacts your brand identity and employee happiness. Happy, engaged employees mean better customer service and higher customer retention (especially if you’re a client service company).   

  • Milestones: Most companies start thinking about culture at major milestones. If your company has been through any of these, there’s even more reason to start a program:

    • Merger / acquisition

    • Growth spurt

    • Move, even if it’s just to multiple floors

    • Trauma i.e. financial hit, losing a lot of people at once, etc.


Step 2: Bring in help if you need it

Hand pick a few (like three) other people to help you get this off the ground. They should be:

  • High achievers

  • Show some excitement for improving the culture in the office or getting people together

  • Diverse both in demographics and department. In other words, get out of your social circle.

If you can’t find two to three that meet these criteria, ask managers to recommend someone from their team.


Step 3: Learn what you don’t know

This is where things can go off the rails and into the weeds so it’s important to understand what you can and can’t change on your own. Although you may want to in the future, don’t start trying to define company-wide values. That’s for management to handle when they’re ready, and your work can inform that process later.

Since your goal is to give employees a voice and build a community, your initial job is to get a few baseline measurements and discover:

  •  Do people feel their voice is heard when it comes to culture?

  • How connected do people feel to their coworkers across the office or company? (Not just the people in their department)

  • What types of activities do people want to see more / less of:

    • Company-wide events (summer picnic, holiday party, volunteer day, etc)

    • Small interest-based activities (wine-tasting, family museum trip, dog park meet-up, etc)

    • Games / competitions

    • Suggestions?

  • Do people want activities during work hours, after work or on weekends?

  • What would they be interested in (select all that apply):

    • Athletics

    • Art

    • Food/drinks

    • Family

    • Education

    • Games

  • Who may be interested in doing more to help your program grow?

This can be captured through a short survey or informal focus group, or both.


Step 4: Formal approval

With your survey results, you have a basic understanding of what’s working and what’s not.

So carve out some time to put together a formal proposal and budget. If you don’t have a template from your company, you can use this:

  • ·Why now: Why is it important to tackle this now? Internal or external circumstances.

  • Problem: What major business problem are you solving (see Step 1). Include stats!

  • Your vision? What does success look like?

  • Why is a your program / committee uniquely positioned to help address this problem? Use your survey results. 

  • Your plan: Demonstrate how the program /committee helps you reach your vision of success including a proposed calendar.

  • Ask: This includes a budget and other support like apparent management buy-in. Include what tools you’ll need and exactly how you want management to express their support.

 PART THREE: Implementation and Reporting

Rumblesum is a mobile platform that builds community and sparks connections in your office through mobile competitions including trivia, sustainability, photo sharing, philanthropy and wellness.

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