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Key takeaways:

  • Cultural embedding across touchpoints: HR and EX leaders emphasized the importance of integrating cultural values in HR processes like onboarding or performance management and across the entire organization, fostering a shared understanding and consistency in messaging.
  • HR’s unique role in cultural consistency: HR business partners’ position enables them to prevent the emergence of conflicting or fragmented cultures within an organization, ensuring alignment of new initiatives with the existing culture to enhance employee experience.
  • Culture as the foundation of employee experience: Highlighting culture as the encompassing wrapper for employee experiences, leaders stressed the significance of core principles guiding every initiative, ensuring they align with and strengthen the established organizational culture.

In a recent Employee Experience Board panel discussion on standing up an employee experience program in collaboration with HR, senior EX leaders highlighted the pivotal role HR business partners play in shaping and reinforcing workplace culture.

Our members shed light on the ways HR practices can support EX teams in modeling and embedding desired cultural behaviors and values within the organization.

Embedding Cultural Behaviors Across the Organization in Partnership with HR Teams

Nicole Sloane, HR Director of Global Employee Experience at Kimberly-Clark, emphasized that while defining cultural behaviors is foundational, the real challenge lies in embedding them throughout the organization, which HR teams are well positioned to do.

She highlighted various touchpoints where cultural aspects could manifest, ranging from onboarding experiences to performance management, learning and development programs, leadership initiatives, and even rewards programs.

Nicole also stressed the significance of a cross-functional approach with HR teams, emphasizing that these initiatives aren’t solely the responsibility of a single team but shared across the organization.

She added that consistency in communication is a critical factor in building understanding and familiarity with cultural behaviors and values.

“It’s also really helpful to use the same terminology and branding that ties back to your culture. So if you’re being consistent in your communications and building an understanding and familiarity with the cultural behaviors and the values, I think that’s really important.”

Nicole Sloane, Kimberly-Clark

This, she suggested, fosters the right expectations and development across all business lines.

Preventing Fragmented Cultures for Alignment in Employee Experience

Kate Zimberg, Senior Vice President of Human Resources F5, discussed HR’s unique position in preventing the emergence of disparate cultures within an organization.

She stressed the importance of aligning new initiatives with the already defined culture, preventing confusion and fragmentation that could adversely impact employee experience.

“I think when we’re thinking about employee experience, and we’re thinking about culture, it’s important for us to keep our arms around that and to be able to say we already have a culture we’ve defined. How does what you’re trying to do fit into that?”

Kate Zimberg, F5

She noted that any complex or disparate company cultures are not good for your EX strategy because it makes it more difficult to embed your core values into the varied employee touchpoints.

Culture as the “Wrapper” for Employee Experience

Nicole highlighted that culture serves as an encompassing container for the experiences within an organization. She explained that your culture is like a “wrapper” for the overall employee experience, shaping how all interactions occur within the workplace environment.

While there might be confusion between culture, employee experience, and engagement, she clarified that culture is the overarching context within which employee experiences unfold.

Engagement, in turn, emerges as the outcome of these experiences within that cultural framework, influencing how employees feel and participate based on their interactions within that culture.

Christopher Hawkins, Director of HRIS, Payroll, Data Governance, and Reporting at Grainger, added that core principles act as a guiding compass, ensuring that every initiative and experience aligns with and furthers the established culture.

He underscored the significance of maintaining focus on culture as the foundation for all employee experience endeavors.

“Because then we look back on those core principles, and we look at if this is actually focused on the different principles that we have. Is this helping carry that forward and furthering our culture across the company?”

Christopher Hawkins, Grainger

Gain More Peer Insights on How to Effectively Partner with HR to Enhance Your Workplace Culture

Embedding your company’s core values across the entire enterprise is not an easy task. It requires consistent communication and cross-collaboration amongst all business partners, notably your HR teams.

And if you’re looking for strategic insights on how to further your employee experience initiatives, you don’t have to do it alone. Employee Experience Board members have a confidential, vendor-free space to dig into their top priorities and meet weekly to benchmark their initiatives.

Learn how a membership can help you advance your EX strategy and create the desired culture your organization values.

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