How to Find the Right Culture Change Consultants for Your Company

Dec 29

By Jason Richmond, Founder, Ideal Outcomes, Inc.

Businesses that build and sustain a company culture defined by meaningful work, authentic employee engagement, and strong leadership outperform their competition and are more successful in attracting the best skills. Consider these recent figures:

  • Organizational culture is an important factor for 46% of job seekers.

  • 94% of entrepreneurs and 88% of job seekers say that healthy workplace culture is vital for success.

  • A culture that attracts high-caliber employees leads to a 33% revenue increase.


While the benefits of building a strong business culture are widely accepted, attaining this goal takes time and effort. Often, the expertise required isn’t natively present within the organization.

That’s where culture change consultants play an invaluable role.

What Culture Change Consultants Do

Culture change consultants work with you to define, refine, communicate, and grow a winning organizational culture. Here are some of the key areas that culture change consultants will address as part of their engagement:

Culture Definition

There isn’t a single right way to build a strong corporate culture. There’s no “rule book.” To be authentic and lasting, a company’s culture needs to express and reflect the ideals, behaviors, and values that its people and leadership team hold dear.

Your culture change consultant’s first item of business will be to sit down with you and your teams (often through a series of workshops or focus groups) to understand what “great” looks like from your perspective and precisely define your desired company culture.

Communication

Once you’ve defined and agreed on what your ideal organizational culture looks like, your consultant will work with you to develop and roll out a comprehensive internal communication plan. Here, the objective is to explain to employees the specific attitudes, norms, and behaviors you want to encourage as part of your corporate culture. Importantly, you should outline how adherence to these principles will be measured and rewarded. Your consultant will also ensure that employees have an opportunity to provide input and feedback during this stage of the process.

Once you’ve completed your initial internal communications drive, the next step is to promote your values and beliefs externally through targeted marketing and PR efforts to your clients, partners, suppliers, and the media.

Transparent and Effective Leadership

Leaders – a company’s most influential people – can make or break an organization’s culture. Businesses with strong company cultures are more likely to have effective and dynamic yet fair and approachable leaders. Unless your senior leadership is on board, your best efforts to build a strong company culture will falter. So, an important role of a culture change consultant is to work with and coach these individuals. They’ll ensure that senior stakeholders in the business understand how their behaviors, leadership style, and manner of communication impact the rest of the organization.

Optimizing the Physical Work Environment

Office-based and remote workers generally spend a significant portion of their days in their workspaces. Your culture change consultant will work with you to review your current workspace setups to ensure that they’re healthy, safe, and comfortable. They’ll consider things like adherence to any social distancing protocols, ventilation, and ergonomic chairs. Softer issues such as the availability of quiet areas for employees to make the odd private phone call or informal settings where people can catch up with colleagues over coffee will also be in scope.

Digital Enablement

The digital revolution has created enormous opportunities to use technology to boost your company culture and employee value proposition. Some of the tools that your culture change consultant will suggest and explore with you may include:

  • Recruitment marketing platforms

  • Onboarding solutions

  • Workflow approval automation software

  • Payroll and benefits management tools

  • Time and attendance software

  • Learning management systems

Corporate Social Responsibility

Today, employees place a premium on knowing that the organization they work for has a purpose beyond profit. It’s important that the company cares about its impact on the environment and invests time and money in supporting the communities in which it operates. Your culture change consultant will review your environmental footprint and any reports you’ve issued and look for ways to reduce your carbon footprint. They’ll also suggest you make use of tools that allow you to measure your organization’s social impact and environmental footprint, such as social and environmental accounting and audits.

Bespoke Projects

There will be times when significant company events require the intervention of a culture change consultant for a bespoke project. Events that could trigger this requirement include merger or acquisition situations, a change in leadership or restructuring, or a public relations crisis.

Why Should a Company Hire Culture Change Consultants?

Here are some of the benefits you can look forward to from creating a winning company culture with the help of a seasoned culture change consultant:

Greater Productivity

Happy employees are hardworking employees. When people feel they’re working for an organization that embraces the same values as they do, they’ll be more inclined to give their best, go the extra mile, and build more positive interpersonal relationships with their colleagues and managers.

Employee Retention

Businesses that value their people and invest in developing and sustaining a strong organizational culture experience less staff turnover. That’s because when employees think favorably of their employer, they’re more likely to remain loyal to the organization. This has financial benefits in terms of lower human resources costs as less hiring and training will be required.

Brand Image and Reputation

Companies with strong cultures build a positive reputation in the eyes of their clients and the public at large. Some consumers will even choose to do business with a brand they trust over a competitor, even if the latter’s products and services are cheaper. Expertise in Your Industry

What Culture Changes Might Be Necessary?

Often, businesses are motivated to engage a culture change consultant when they observe worrying behaviors or internal dynamics within the organization. Here are some red flags to look out for:

  • Conflict and office gossip

  • Unhealthy employee competition

  • Employees come in late or are often absent

  • People don't take lunch breaks and regularly work overtime

  • High staff turnover and difficulty recruiting new candidates

  • Negative public reputation and reviews in job boards

Steps to Ensure You Hire the Best Culture Change Consultants for Your Organization

Here are some things to think about and questions to ask when evaluating potential culture change partners:

Expertise in Your Industry

Does the provider have demonstrable experience working in your particular vertical and with organizations of similar size to yours?

Track Record and References

Ask prospective partners to share case studies that detail successful previous engagements and details of contactable references.

Balance of Theoretical Knowledge and Execution Ability

The culture change consultants that work with you should be personally accredited in the latest, relevant certifications. However, academic knowledge alone isn’t enough; they should also be able to translate theory into execution and operationalize their insights.

Flexibility

Likewise, beware of culture change consultants that simply try to “shoe-horn” you into a tried-and-tested solution. Look for ones that are willing and able to take time to understand your business’s unique requirements.

Next Steps

If you’re seeking support and guidance in taking your workplace team culture to new heights, Ideal Outcomes stands ready to help.

Please get in touch to learn more about our approach and services.