Aligning Organizational Strategy and Culture
There is little debate on the impacts of workforce engagement on organizational viability and effectiveness. The question that remains is, How can organizations create cultures that drive engagement? According to The Leader’s Guide to Corporate Culture published in the Harvard Business Review , leadership, culture, and strategy are inextricably linked, and businesses with leaders that work to align strategy and culture achieve organizational viability and effectiveness.
The authors’ argument is that since culture involves both conscious and unconscious assumptions that drive actions, strategies give clarity and focus for collective actions and decision making. They go on to say that culture development typically requires frequent strategy adaptations and a combination of levers to dole out both concrete rewards and consequences.
With such impacts, employers should be asking their workforce vendors how their offerings support leaders in their efforts to better align strategy and culture. Because wellbeing is a culture and human development initiative, these programs hold potential for driving big organizational impacts when they are examined through a leadership development lens. The biggest questions are
- Can wellbeing vendors clarify how their expertise and technology, not just automates programming, but guides and develops leadership responsibility?
- How does the program adapt with the dynamics of cultural change?
Answers that businesses should be listening for include a comprehensive and vetted approach to wellness as well as flexible technology that uses insights to automate and personalize leadership visibility, accountability and effectiveness.
A comprehensive wellbeing program takes a holistic workforce view by incorporating controls within organizational leadership, culture, environment, health management, engagement, measurement and evaluation.
- Are there clear wellbeing mission, vision, and value messages that are regularly and visually communicated throughout the organization?
- Are there facilitated dialogues to create and disseminate clear messages and incentives that promote and recognize leadership transparency, authenticity, vulnerability, participation, and accountability? Does the wellbeing technology track and report leadership participation?
- Are there templated messages and surveys as well as instant messaging and email automations to personalize and disseminate promotions, invitations, encouragements, and stories that gain wellbeing traction?
- Is there an assessment of policies, procedures, and the physical environment to eliminate contradictions and misalignments to the organization’s wellbeing mission, vision, and values?
- Does the program promote credible, relevant, and meaningful health content that builds trust, aligns perceptions with goals, and increases skills?
- How does the program increase the personalization and autonomy of participants in setting their own goals, connecting new learnings to their own experiences, increasing their skills, and determining their pace?
- Does the technology deliver feedback real time insights to individuals and leaders in order to capture engagement opportunities as they arise?
- Do account managers work as strategic sounding boards and resources for leaders to continuously adapt strategies and communications?
Visual, transparent, and authentic leadership participation is the organizational strategy that encourages workforce wellbeing engagement and accelerates cultures. Leadership is the modeling of both the conscious and subconscious cues of culture; effectively aligning strategy, and inspiring the workforce in achieving organizational goals.
When leaders demonstrate their wellbeing values and are seen making choices that promote health, employees will follow. Businesses who demand that their wellbeing vendors provide the expertise and controls to better support visible leadership begin to move beyond static, table stakes programming to accelerate their workforce health and culture.
 The Leader’s Guide to Corporate Culture. Harvard Business Review. January-February 2018. By Boris Groysberg, Jeremiah Lee, Lesse Price, and J. Yo-Jud Cheng.