Culture is as culture does

Written by Dennis Budinich on 15 November 2019 in Features
Features

Dennis Budinich on how to shift company culture by accessing new ways to educate employees.

Reading time: 3 minutes

Culture is what people experience over and over. In order to create, shift or enhance a company’s culture, employees need to feel supported, educated and confident.

When I was brought in by Investors Bank to consult on the company’s current employee culture, one of the first things I examined was whether employee development was education-based or activity-based.

An activity-based culture focuses on the ‘how-to’ of an employee’s daily tasks and job description. An education-based culture focuses on providing the resources to support personal and professional development through self-education, trainings and group studies.

Shifting the focus of Investors Bank’s culture from activity-based to education-based was my first order of business.

When looking at the best strategy to enhance the company’s already employee-focused culture, the first priority became self-education and equipping employees with the resources and programmes to facilitate confidence in their professional and personal development.

Passion grows from self-education and confidence comes from being educated and knowing what you are saying.

With that in mind, I sought out resources, like compressed knowledge library getAbstract, to gain access to thousands of abstracts of books, reports and Ted Talks focused on everything from time management, leadership development, politics, money management and more.

By introducing this resource, the company was able to establish a foundation for evolving the education-based culture.

The value of reading to employees

Additionally, professional development programmes around these abstracts set the goal of getting employees to read more books.

These abstracts have been integrated into multiple facets of the organisation, providing multiple touchpoints to support the effort of self-education.

Daily education is imperative to an employee’s personal success

Team leaders are encouraged to utilise the abstracts as agendas for meetings, identifying an abstract for a book that supports a topic they are looking to discuss with their team.

This could be anything from time management to work-life balance.

From there, team members discuss the abstracts through pre-determined discussion questions, yielding ‘mini lessons” for teams, focused on improving workplace culture and employee satisfaction.

The goal is to encourage employees to continue to strive for self-improvement, and learning is the crux to continued confidence and happy employees.

Both an online and physical library have been built in the facility for employees to use.

Often, employees will read an abstract in a meeting, professional development training or on their own and will come to the physical library to access the full book.

Each employee receives two free books a year and, as hoped, employee reading is on the rise.

Good start to the day

Daily education is imperative to an employee’s personal success. By creating a programme called The Morning Juice, employees are in the right mindset – a winning mindset.

Every morning at 8:01 am, Monday to Saturday, employees receive a motivational story; new thoughts every day that drive the winning attitude – including abstract suggestions.

A day has not been missed in over five years and that is something I am very proud of.

 


The sky’s the limit when it comes to the practices and programmes available to put in place to continue to support and develop this education-based culture. From book clubs to team mantras, there has been a cultural shift.

I often hear from leadership teams that they are looking for certain behavioral changes to improve office efficiency, and they are looking for it to happen in 30, 60 or 90 days.

However, change does not go by a watch or timeframe. It happens on its own and it happens when a constant initiative is made.

A company’s culture must be established and fed regularly to be sustained and successful and we believe this starts with self-education.

 

About the author

Dennis Budinich is chief culture officer at Investors Bank

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