You’ve Created the Right Culture: Now Keep Listening
One of our co-founders, Peter Saravis, penned a compelling piece on our commitment to what we call The Evive Way. He explained that not only do the pillars on which The Evive Way is based serve as guideposts for our culture, they also permeate what Evivers value—and what we look for in future Evivers.
But fostering the culture is just the first step. Some organizations may think once they’re happy with the culture they’ve created, they can check that off the list. However, cultures evolve just as people evolve, and it’s important to remain relevant as your business grows.
At Evive, we keep track of those evolving values through intentional listening. We believe that’s the key to knowing what your workforce cares about, and more importantly, addressing those desires in meaningful ways.
Have a plan
Engaging your workforce is not a foreign concept to HR leaders; how you approach it, and remaining faithful to it, is where you can get creative.
Employees can see through an insincere approach. Their trust can easily be lost if you don’t follow through on promises. As a leadership team, it’s important to ensure consistency in your actions and alignment with your company’s vision. When we set out to intentionally listen, we had a specific strategy for doing so.
Our plan was to deploy an engagement survey partnered with a series of listening sessions. After the survey was complete, we spent a couple of weeks analyzing the responses for key themes and patterns. Once we had a clear understanding of the employee feedback, we shared the results and our findings with the entire company.
Next, to walk our talk, we conducted the series of small listening sessions for employees to expand upon their feedback and provide greater insights in specific areas. This fulfilled our promise to learn directly from our team members about their evolving values and what they need from the workplace, as well as their suggestions for possible resolutions or action plans. Fostering such intentional communication is an important step, because it creates ongoing dialogue between all levels of the company.
Once the listening sessions were completed, we analyzed the feedback from each conversation, and, once again, identified key themes and takeaways. The insights gained from the survey and listening sessions were all important revelations—and all things we might have missed if we hadn’t taken this approach. Simply carving out the time to listen made all the difference.
Take meaningful action
The findings from our listening sessions informed several new benefits and initiatives: ones we could confidently get behind because we knew people valued them. As our CEO and other co-founder, Prashant Srivastava, has pointed out, catering benefits to the values of your workforce helps create the workforce you want—that is, a workforce that serves the organization’s values and whose values the organization serves right back.
A formalized program for learning and development is one initiative we’re rolling out as a result of the listening sessions. For our next season of growth, we’re putting emphasis on this concept, along with the following:
- Development reimbursement policy
- Individual development plans
- Learning management system with readily available content
Other new benefits came directly out of changes within the workforce. A heavily millennial workforce, for example, led us to the launch of a parental-leave policy: a decision that was only reinforced by the dialogue from the listening sessions.
To make sure the action we took was truly meaningful, we only focused on a few select items at a time because that ensured the right amount of resources could be devoted—and a greater level of success could follow. This demonstrates how prioritization is a piece of intentional listening. What will have the greatest impact? What support and momentum is currently taking place within the organization? If you try to take action on every single piece of feedback, you risk nothing substantial being done, and culture could backtrack from the appearance of inactivity.
More changes are to come, all of which have the intention of catering to our workforce as it evolves. Every time we roll out something new, we need to ask ourselves:
- What does it mean for us now?
- What will it mean for us later?
- Does it align with our values/culture?
We wholeheartedly believe the critical piece of this process is intentional listening. By listening, we can pinpoint what’s meaningful to people and come up with not just any solution, but the right solution. Throughout this process, we knew it was critical to be receptive to results and feedback. There is nothing wrong with being clear about why a culture is in its current state; however, leadership must be willing to make changes to support that culture’s evolution.
Finally, we’re transparent about the fact that these solutions aren’t necessarily leadership’s ideas; they’re simply leadership’s response to employees’ ideas. Staying faithful to our promises and maintaining a willingness to be future-focused? That’s what keeps us evolving—and evolving successfully.