In a COVID-19 working world, marked by remote workers and disparate teams, a shared Purpose and Culture are key to bringing people together as one united team serving one shared client. But where do you even begin?
How to workshop Purpose and build Culture online
Meaning. Purpose. Culture.
Even before COVID-19 forced us to question our values and add more meaning to our lives, smart organisations understood the value of creating a shared culture and purpose on which to build a successful business.
In a COVID-19 world of volatility and isolation, purpose matters more than ever to individuals, communities and organisations. In fact, creating a shared Purpose and Culture for your company, is probably the most important foundation you can create to help your new remote working force feel part of a greater team and bigger picture.
Suddenly the question is not why, but when and how will you identify the Purpose and Culture that will drive your brand and engage your employees in a post COVID-19 world? The answer lies in conducting a series of facilitated workshops online. And that’s no small or easy task. You will need added expertise and support.
Here are some criteria to consider when evaluating an external agency or facilitator to assist you with this business-critical task.
Top tips to creating engaging online workshops around culture
Online workshops are not simply a remote version of an offline workshop. They are a powerful tool that, if used correctly, can enable robust dialogue and ensure group participation and engagement around Purpose and Culture.
Here are icandi CQ’s insider tips on how to enable engagement and ensure Purpose and Culture stay top of the agenda when conducting online workshops:
- Break it up: Online workshops require a lot more energy and concentration than their offline counterparts. Instead of offering a full-day workshop, it is more effective to break the workshop up into shorter sessions over a few days. This not only ensures participants remain engaged but also allows time for the information to sink in and take root between workshop sessions. At icandi CQ we usually split our workshops into 4 sessions of 2.5-hours each. Not only does this allow participants to remain actively engaged on the day, but it also gives them time to reflect on the day’s discussion and bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the discussion the following day.
- Make sure the right participants are in the room. The C-suite are the ones who really drive purpose in any organisation, so it’s a good idea to start at the top and then, once defined, cascade down through senior to middle management. Whatever you do don’t leave middle managers off the list as they are key influencers, acting as engagement drivers (or detractors when ineffective), and critical to communication flow within bigger organisations.
- Choose the right platform: MS Teams is a good platform to conduct online workshops but should not be used at the expense of a company’s preferred platform. The platform should never be a barrier to entry for participants, especially when excessive time might be wasted getting comfortable with using the chosen platform effectively.
- Get people in the right mindset: Getting people in the right mindset is critical to conducting effective cultural workshops. Sending pre-workshop prep and a daily agenda are two ways to make sure that everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them on the day.
- Keep it interactive and engaging: Culture workshops need to be interactive and engaging. Strong facilitation is key to ensuring lots of robust conversation and participation from all parties. The facilitator should instinctively know how to keep people engaged and when to use the right tools, like text chat and whiteboard tools, video on and other key online tools. Addressing things like ‘how we are going to engage in this online session’ upfront by creating an engagement framework is a good way to ensure everyone feels comfortable in how they participate.
- Record and share: At the end of the workshop, be sure to create a summary of input and outcomes and allow time for participants to comment and give their final input. It is also helpful to tell participants upfront that you will be doing this at the end so that they can relax and focus on being present and engaged instead of worrying about taking notes and keep on top of every detail.
In addition, a typical workshop process should include:
- Determining the organisation’s drivers and barriers to engagement.
- Identifying key programmes to help build a purpose-led, values-driven organisation.
- Improving middle manager communication skills to ensure the message and brand story grows alongside the company culture.
Some outcomes you want to achieve include:
- A clearly articulated, co-created purpose statement and evolved values.
- A set of goals and a roadmap to take you from your purpose and value statement right up to action and implementation through the design of a culture and values programme that will be embedded across the organisation.
- A “business needs” scorecard identifying any gaps in the capabilities needed to realise your purpose.
- A clear sense of the values and behaviours that will support this.
- A picture of the big strategic opportunities your purpose can unlock.
- Identifying key programmes to execute.
Partner with a specialist
Conducting online workshops around purpose and culture is not easy but it is something you need to get right, first time. So just make sure you evaluate your chosen external agency to ensure they have the right skills and toolset to unpack your brand and engage your people to be part of this essential meaning making process
As more and more companies embark on blended workplaces where remote workers become a permanent reality and where organisations with national and global footprints have a need to engage and connect employees without physically bringing them together, online Purpose and Culture workshops can be a valuable, cost and time efficient tool.
icandi CQ has a wealth of experience in facilitating online Purpose and Culture workshops with large multi-nationals and local companies, helping co-create Purpose and shape culture – building future-fit purpose-led organisations from the inside out. Chat to us if you need help embarking on your Purpose journey.