Culture Bites - 014 How Culture Works Pt3 - HR Systems

Published on 24 Jul 2018
How Culture Works Jigsaw PT 3

We talk about HR Systems like selection, training, appraisals and how they shape your organisation’s culture. This episode is hosted by David Byrum (a.k.a. ‘DB’) and Dominic Gourley.

This is part 3 of a 5 part series on How Culture Works. Make sure you check out the whole series to get an holistic view of how all the factors work together to shape culture: Pt1: Overview, Pt2: Mission, Philosophy, Structures.

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Below are the key takeaways from this episode. Make sure to listen in to the full episode to get all the surrounding commentary and examples.

Microphone Key Takeaways and Ideas

How Culture Works and HR Systems:

There are 31 Cultural Causal Factors that we measure across Mission and Philosophy, Structures, Systems, Technology, and Skills/Qualities. This is podcast we look at the 11 factors that sit under the organisation’s systems.

How Culture Works - HR Systems

Human Resource Management Systems:

Selection and Placement

We look at what the written and unwritten processes, procedures, and policies are for matching people with the job and the needs we have in the organisation. We are interested in whether they are based on clear objective measures or are they subjective and political? In essence: why do people get the jobs they get? If the organisation espouses values of cooperation and collaboration, but then someone who does none of those things gets promoted, the message everyone hears is that collaboration doesn’t matter for getting ahead in this organisation.

Training and Development

Lots of organisations have great systems for onboarding new employees, but are existing employees also being developed and grown so they can move into new positions? When we see people struggling – do we go about supporting them or do we let them flounder? Being Constructive means we do have the conversation with someone when they are underperforming with the goal of helping them to improve. If we were stepping in to punish that person we’re likely driving an aggressive culture. If we ignore the performance, we could be enabling a Passive culture.

Respect for Members

To what degree are people treated fairly and justly? Essentially: Whatever the diversity metric – people are all treated with respect. Low respect is going to drive people into Security needs. People are going to either be motivated to fit in with the ‘in-crowd’ (Passive) or could be motivated to standout (Aggressive). If there is high respect for members then people will be motivated to being curious, creative, share opinions and thoughts – because it’s ok to be different and have different views.

Appraisals and Reinforcement Systems

Fairness of Appraisals

When we review performance – is it balanced and based on objective criteria rather than a subjective opinion? Forced ranking type approaches often promotes internal competition within the team – withholding information, power plays, etc. If people clear in how they will be appraised, how they can succeed, and it’s based on objective measures, then it will drive an Achievement culture.

Use of Rewards and Punishment

Does high performance get recognised – and how likely is it that mistakes will be punished rather than used as a learning opportunity?

Rewards: If it makes no difference whether I perform averagely or outstandingly then I’m not going to be particularly motivated to put forth my best effort and might go into Passive mode.  Recognition of a job well done drives the belief that ‘my effort makes a difference’ and therefore Achievement values. It doesn’t need to be money either – it can simply be noticing and telling someone that they did something great.

Punishment: Use of punishment is about not helping, criticising, not giving opportunities. If I’m worried about being punished for trying things then it’s going to drive me towards security – often Avoidance OR fight like anything to take control. People see use of rewards and punishment. Below is the clip of the Capuchin Monkeys experiment done on reward and punishment:

Goal Setting

Goal Clarity: How measurable and how clear are the goals? If people aren’t clear then they are going to gravitate towards keeping themselves safe instead of striving.

Goal Challenge: Are goals too easy, too hard, or fairly challenging? From a motivation point of view, if the goal is too hard, too much of a stretch, and with no clear road of getting there… then I’m going to be demotivated to achieve it and instead look to protect myself. If goals are too easy, then I’m not challenged there is no drive to reach the goal – which will lead to a Passive Culture. Fairly challenging goals will stretch people’s capability but there is a clear path to achieving it – this is inherently motivating and builds up the Achievement style. 

Participative Goal Setting: Does the leader set the goals? Does the employee set the goals? Or do we set them together? Leaders setting them all can drive a command and control type of culture. Leaders not being involved in any goal setting can create a Passive environment. Setting them together is a good way of making sure they are the right challenge level and aligned with where the organisation needs to go.

Goal Acceptance: Are the goals accepted, marginally accepted, or rejected? The more people are on board with the goals the more excited they’ll be about making a difference, the more they will be curious about how they can do it differently, the more they will be excited about working with others to achieve the goals.

Learn More:

Organizational culture is influenced by a variety of factors, not least the behavior of the organization's leaders. To help organizations effectively measure their culture, Human Synergistics International CEO and distinguished academic Robert A. Cooke, Ph.D. developed the How Culture Works model in 1997. This identifies a total of 31 causal factors (organized into five categories) that are responsible for shaping culture and helping an organization move from its Current Culture to its preferred or Ideal Culture.

Next Episode:
In the next episode in this series, we look at Job Design: What messages do we send through the way jobs are designed? Are people encouraged to strive to achieve, innovate, and collaborate… or are they encouraged to play it safe? 

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The “How Culture Works” model and other materials presented in this podcast are from the Organizational Culture Inventory®/Organizational Effectiveness Inventory™ Feedback Report by Robert A. Cooke, Janet L. Szumal, and Jessica D. Cooke, Copyright © 2003 and 2016 by Human Synergistics International. All Rights Reserved.

Culture Bites Podcast is Copyrighted © by Human Synergistics Australia 2018. All Rights Reserved.