Employee development has already been integrated into company strategy, business goals, and the leadership pipeline. And now more and more organizations are realizing that strong company cultures can not only be bolstered by training but actually built into training and development. It’s not always easy—distilling company culture into training initiatives that employees can easily access and that drive their performance; however, companies are doing it and doing it well.
For example one of our clients, Micron Technology, is doing amazing things with training their employees in several facets of development, from self-awareness using Emergenetics Profiles to change management to innovation. It’s all serving a larger function of reframing the mission of their manufacturing facility to become an even higher-quality, world-class leader in memory technology. The training is beneficial and extremely well received by their employees in many ways because it reinforces the larger purpose of what the company is doing and how they’re growing.
The other big challenge that Micron needed to overcome was one faced by countless organizations—how to train digitally and serve a broad employee base. The digital age has opened up new worlds in training. Microlearning, which is small bite-sized training often delivered via mobile device was not possible until just recently. eLearning has gone from clunky programs to fully immersive virtual landscapes and includes video, avatars and interactive elements to engage employees. Mobile apps provide ways for employees to take their development with them.
However, for all the good of digital technology, it also presents distinct challenges to realizing company culture. Here’s two of the biggest challenges organizations are facing when bridging company culture with the digital age…and how to overcome it.
Challenge 1: Engaging employees virtually – How do employees who work remotely maintain a pulse on what the company is doing? What leaders are focusing on? How their other team members are working?
Solution: Tactically, there are a few easy ways to go about this. In our office, we held a discussion with all employees in our US office (spread throughout Denver, New York City and Washington DC area) and came away with a few tactical winners:
- Use video. Use video. Use video. This is so important because seeing the faces of co-workers helps employees understand context, read the room and feel connected.
- Allow for hand-raising for all virtual employees. Company culture is built on the input of employees…all employees. That means asking all virtual workers for input.
- Send out meeting agendas and meeting notes. Providing recaps to virtual employees helps them stay extremely connected.
Challenge 2: Making culture part of the everyday experience – Studies have shown that employees want purpose over everything else. Defining that purpose in a mission statement is easy. Inculcating into everyday activities, especially virtually is extremely tough.
Solution: Think about the hallmarks of your corporate culture and think about how that translates into digital realms. Let’s say your company is like Zappos, which values customer service above all. What does that mean in training?
- Create training virtually that mirrors the customer’s experience. In our work with Western Union, another company that is built on amazing customer service, we worked with them to develop an eLearning program that thousands of their remote workers could access at any time. Even better, the training not only utilized Emergenetics insights around how to deal with different types of people but also included the core values of Western Union. It reinforced the company’s culture while at the same time putting it into everyday situations.