Culture and Engagement: A New Conversation

It’s a new year, and with it comes new trends to consider as you lead your nonprofit into 2018. According to DDI’s Leader Pulse Blog, there are 10 hot leadership topics that are certain to shake up your workplace in the immediate future. Coming in at numbers 4 and 5 on this trends list are culture and employee engagement.

Author Stephanie Neal says, “Whether or not a culture has been intentionally designed, it can either advance or disintegrate a company’s reputation and success, based on how well employees thrive (or don’t thrive) in their environment.” Coupled with an organizational obsession with employee engagement, leaders must consider carefully how they are creating employee experiences and focusing on well-being.

As you prioritize culture and engagement goals for 2018, tune in closely to the narrative around sexual harassment that is exploding in our nation. With public (and often trusted) figures like Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and Larry Nassar emerging as perpetrators of sexual abuse, the spotlight on rich and famous predators is forcing the darkness into light. And as the #metoo and #timesup hashtags have given more women across America the courage to speak out about abuse, the conversation is far from over. In fact, in many ways it’s just begun.

  • What does this societal shift mean for you as a creator of cultural values and protector of employee well-being?
    Diversity and inclusion activist and co-founder of Awaken, Michell Kim, offers sound advice:
    Recognize that your company is not immune. The problem of sexual violence is a part of our culture as a society, and therefore affects the culture of your organization. The first step to addressing this issue in your organization is to acknowledge that it exists.
  • Empower your managers. The manager-employee relationship is one of the most important when it comes to engagement. Provide your managers the necessary skills training to ensure they know how to respond to specific incidents and bolster well-being overall.
  • Create and share a resource list. Develop policies and procedures for all employees to reference in the case of harassment. Clearly communicate the organization’s commitment to these practices.
  • Review your sexual harassment training curriculum and make it better. Compliance training is another hot topic these days. It’s important that organizations refresh their courses to be relevant, engaging, and solutions-oriented. For practical ideas and inspiration, check out TD magazine’s piece, “Compliance Training Doesn’t Have to Be Boring.”
  • Be thoughtful about hosting internal discussion spaces. Cultures of transparency and openness rely often on dialogue among employees, and at all levels. In the case of sexual harassment, more discussion isn’t always better. Instead, providing targeted and goal-oriented forums for employees to speak up is critical for culture building and morale.
  • Ask for consent. Essentially, be respectful. Use empathy. Relearn how to talk to people in a manner that is sympathetic to the triggers and trauma many employees carry around with them daily.

Brighter Strategies offers decades of experience in nonprofit culture transformation, leadership training, and organization development. We understand the issues presented in this blog post are difficult to address, and we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.