When faced with competing priorities and challenges, it’s often hard to step back and see the bigger picture. This is when it can be beneficial to seek an outside perspective. Here are some of the challenges companies have brought to us:

Our culture is deeply rooted and I think it works against us. Can we change it?

Part of our experience of organization culture is how it feels. If it feels out of kilter, it probably is. The good news? Culture change is possible. The key is to get past the feelings and get some hard data. Start with your business’s strategic goals, then determine the right culture to support those goals. This allows you to maintain the effective elements of your company’s culture and focus on the ones that need to change. Our experience can guide you to achieve the right balance.

What is the best way to understand our organization’s culture and determine if it supports our business strategy?

Understanding culture is tough when attempted up-close. It’s hard to keep bias from creeping in. Taking a holistic look at your culture is best done using a technique that gives you a helicopter view, breaks through the inherent subjectivity and uncovers your real culture. Our web-based technology, Culture EngineTM, profiles both your current and desired culture by identifying the factors that will make your business strategy execution most effective. Culture Engine highlights the cultural shifts needed to ensure that your culture supports the strategy and it suggests how to make these shifts happen.

Our new acquisition has a different culture from ours; how do we integrate them into our culture?

A merger or acquisition is a critical time for looking at the culture, both yours and that of the entity being integrated. Lack of cultural integration can quickly negate the exciting potential of new products, new talent and new customers. The key is to focus as much attention to finding the synergies between the two cultures as you do to identifying the synergies between the two business operations. We can help you identify and leverage both cultural similarities and differences to drive combined the company to peak performance.

Who are our best people and how do we retain them?

Your best people are those who perform well and who can grow professionally. Identifying them hinges on being able to objectively assess both performance and potential. For this you need robust succession management; skill, interest and competency assessment; and effective performance management – not to mention managers who see the value and are willing to invest their time in making these programs work. Once you’ve identified the best and brightest, retaining them requires taking a diversified approach to talent management. You need to make them feel special by differentiating the development opportunities and compensation you provide to them. If you treat them like everyone else, they may be become demotivated and could leave the organization if the opportunity arises. Differentiating talent management practices is a Talent Strategy Partners specialty.

Our senior management needs to be more representative of the diversity of the company’s general employee population.

What’s the best way to do this?

Diversifying the leadership team starts by looking at the entire pool of people available for grooming and growth, not just the obvious choices. Frequently, there is good talent that is invisible. Careful, thoughtful talent planning and succession management, with objective consideration of all employees’ performance and potential, may reveal a group of qualified candidates. Our experience provides the perspective and tools to identify and develop your hidden leadership potential.

How do I best inventory the strengths of our current and emerging leaders?

It starts with identifying the leadership competencies – behavioral skills – needed to create or reinforce the right culture to support your business strategy. Assessing current and emerging leaders against those competencies allows you to identify strengths and gaps individually and collectively. Armed with these data, you can make plans for ensuring you have the right leaders in the right roles and that you have a robust leadership pipeline. In uncovering your culture, we will help you define your leadership competencies, develop an objective assessment process and manage leadership succession.

How do I make sure HR is aligned with what our business needs?

You should begin by listening. By engaging your leaders, you can create a picture of the human resources needs of the organization. Ask them to describe their function's key short-term and long-term goals and the support they will need from HR to be successful in executing against these goals. Leaders may not think of all the ways HR can help them, so bring the HR team together to discuss additional ideas for supporting the functions' goals then have follow-up discussions with the function leaders.

Another approach is to use the stop/start/continue model. Ask what HR is doing currently that is inhibiting business performance – what HR should stop doing. Ask what HR is not doing that it should start doing to help the business. Ask what HR is doing currently that is helping the business – what HR should continue doing. Once you understand the organization's needs, bring the HR team together to make a plan for addressing them.

If concerns like this are keeping you up at night, we can help.

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