Using Culture to Guide Your Organisation Through Change

As organisations around the world start to contemplate what work will look like in 2022, many leaders and HR teams are wondering how best to steer employees through yet another year of change as they settle more fully into hybrid work.

In one of our recent HSM Advisory webinars, Jolene Chen, Chief HR Officer at Prudential, shared how working with our team has helped them put effective strategies in place during a time of significant structural change.

Jolene’s challenge in recent years has been to guide Prudential’s employees through a significant reshaping, not just of how they work, but of their organisation’s structure and geographical footprint. Company culture has emerged as a key anchor that has helped them stay unified as they transform, by providing much needed context that helps people understand what is and isn’t changing. Jolene and her team created a new set of values, using the body as a metaphor to make it easier for people to understand. Their culture is depicted with an ambitious head, curious eyes that see change as it arises and the values of empathy, courage and nimbleness in the heart, gut and feet.

With these values in place, and with 200 leaders from around the business engaged to help them communicate with employees, they set about defining acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. Acceptable behaviours are those which intentionally demonstrate the company values, while unacceptable behaviours contradict them.

To help maintain these values and ensure they were lived consistently throughout the business, the Prudential leadership team was keen to create a culture of empowerment and accountability. They wanted employees to feel able to contribute ideas and call out unacceptable behaviours. This was a challenge, as there is often an innate fear of speaking up in some Asian cultures.

Jolene and her team invited people to draw on Prudential’s core value of courage by participating in a real-time, online conversation with thousands of their colleagues, powered by HSM Advisory’s Collaboration Jam tool. This two-way dialogue was crucial, because organisations with a culture of transparency and empowerment will find it easier to make people part of the change. A shared purpose and values allow leaders to co-create a future grounded in reality with employees. Contemplating change collaboratively on the Jam provided valuable support for colleagues who are experiencing change fatigue and anxiety, as it allowed them to connect with others and renew their sense of purpose.

The result was an ambitious vision for change grounded in how Prudential’s employees wanted to live their values and made it easier for them to translate these values into positive everyday action.

Are you interested in how culture can help your business successfully embed change? Contact Oliver to learn more about our approach and find out how HSM Advisory’s Collaboration Jams could help.