Cultural change comes from the outside, in

The culture of an organisation is more than it feeling like a ‘nice place to work’. The culture effects people’s decisions, their behaviour and ultimately, the success of a company. If teams don’t respect other teams, aren’t inspired by the company vision or feel uncomfortable in the workplace, standards will slip, output will decrease and failure will follow.

The ISA (Infrastructure Strategic Alliance), an organisation formed in a joint venture by Morgan Sindall and Arup to provide essential infrastructure assets to decommission the Sellafield site wanted to focus on their organisation’s culture. The three companies had their own established specialities, cultures and working practices and these needed uniting to form a future-focused culture that would ensure the ISA achieved success.

ThinkOTB partnered with the ISA to drive alignment through a Cultural and Behavioural Change Programme. We worked closely with the ISA management team to fully assess the situation over six months by benchmarking behaviour, observing cultural norms and identifying best practice across all projects and areas to set out a schedule of work to initially target change in hot spots.

Communicating the need for change

We also became integrated into the ISA ‘identity’ workstream and developed a communications strategy that would educate every ISA employee on the Cultural and Behavioural Change Programme. We focused on driving awareness so that when it was time to start embedding behavioural change, the workforce were onboard.

Our strategy started with a Credo – a statement that established the ISA’s purpose – that would provide common-ground for all colleagues to work towards. From here we devised a proposition that would guide the Cultural and Behavioural Change Programme of ‘Together we will…’. This was finished by galvanising statements such as ‘make excellence a standard’, ‘make things happen’ and ‘be the best infrastructure delivery team’ and this campaign was rolled out across the Sellafield site on posters, lanyard cards, banner stands, presentation templates, the Credo launch film, and the site induction film.

Changing a person’s attitudes and behaviour is not an easy or quick task. To achieve this over a large workforce of people we needed to devise something that could be effective on a personal level and would be long-lasting. We created the ‘Change Champions’. This core of specially selected colleagues from across the ISA were enlisted to encourage best practice within their team and stop behaviours that were detrimental to the ISA’s vision and values.

We have seen some excellent results to date particularly in safety, teamwork, honesty and respect. The workplace already has a clear mission that connects employees’ daily work to a broader social purpose and positive change. What’s more, ThinkOTB team members are now part of the ISA’s delivery team, leading innovation and identity workstreams, and being Change Champions ourselves.

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