Regional Insurance Broker Changes Company Culture
Changing a companys culture is a process not an event. Its a process that must be a company-wide initiative involving every employee. This client wanted to enhance their culture. Although the company was doing quite well, changes in the insurance industry were challenging the culture and there was a growing concern among the employees. The work environment was affected, and the leadership team knew they needed to get every employee involved in an effort to refocus the group.
We held two planning sessions that were attended by several key staff members. In these sessions, we asked the planning group to envision the type of culture they wanted and then to identify aspects of their culture that they were concerned with and wanted to change.
We created a survey around the areas of concern and 90% of the 80 employees responded to the survey thanks to excellent follow through by the planning group. As predicted, there was strong agreement about issues and challenges with the current culture and the feedback provided a clear roadmap for the workshop design. We divided the employees into two groups so that the workshops wouldnt be too big.
In the workshop, we blended experiential team challenges with multiple brainstorming sessions on effective communications - both listening and speaking skills, giving and receiving feedback, sharing information, recovery programs for when things go wrong, and creating a blame-free work environment.
The brainstorming sessions went quickly, with a lot of intermingling between departments and levels of employees. By the end of the day, groups had created rough draft intention statements.
A follow-up session was scheduled for two weeks after the workshops. Managers and team leaders took the rough draft work to the next level. Employees generated several dozen improvement ideas during the two initial workshops.
The group in the follow-up session narrowed the focus for the improvements and created some timelines with action steps and clear accountability. Each group member took the lead for refining one of the intentions and for outlining some initial steps for one of the improvement projects.
The sub teams solicited additional help from the general employee population with the goal of keeping each employee involved in crafting the new company culture.
The Assistant Vice President of Human Resources and the Senior Vice President of Operations rolled out the final intentions by meeting with each and every team and through role playing, demonstrated how to hold people accountable for meeting the new intentions.
In addition to the new intentions guiding behaviors, improvement projects are already underway for more comprehensive and frequent company-wide information updates and cross training within departments.
Also, the IT group will post more accessible and consistent information on the companys intranet. Employees have not transformed the culture overnight, but they are making slow and steady progress. The company plans to re-survey the employee population in a few months and have another company-wide session to keep the momentum going.