November 24, 2020

Driving Cultural Change through Organisational Insights

Kerry Jarred, Managing Director and Cofounder, Ignium, discusses how businesses can manage digital transformation effectively.

According to Gartner, digital transformation is one of the top priorities for most organisations. However, the full benefits of a digital transformation cannot exist without people.

One of the keys to unlocking people talent and knowledge within an organisation is through an understanding of data and analytics. If an organisation struggles with digital transformation, perhaps stakeholders haven’t given enough thought to data and the potential for valuable insights across the workforce.

Over recent years there has been a great deal of talk about data-driven organisations, but what are they exactly?  What does data-driven mean?

It means that (mostly larger) organisations now collect data from across their operations; process that data into data lakes, hubs or warehouses and use business intelligence (BI) tools and analytics applications to understand what the data is telling them.   But are these organisations interpreting and transforming the signals they get from the data into actionable insights? And are these actions producing tangible business outcomes?

Gaining actionable insights is the next level of maturity for businesses and is critical in achieving the culture change companies are aiming for, or the growth targets they are focussed on. Culture can, and should, be an intrinsic part of any organisational strategy.  It isn’t the business’ corporate wallpaper and it isn’t just represented by the words framed behind the reception desk!

Culture should be seen in how the people in the organisation behave … across the whole of the business, in real time (not just when the light is shining on them).

As is often quoted culture is ‘what people do when no one is looking!’  There aren’t many organisations who don’t want to be more collaborative, more aligned, communicate better and improve trust, levels of employee engagement and accountability.  And business leaders don’t have to have an MBA to understand how all of those things – when executed well, and truly embedded in the culture – can lead to greater financial returns.

A recent Glassdoor survey found that companies with a highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable than those with poor engagement and companies with great experiences outperform the Standard and Poor’s 500 by 122%.

To create a high performing organisation, businesses need a highly engaged workforce.  To understand the level of engagement of employees, they need insights.  Insights into what people really think, feel, and believe.

Employee engagement surveys have long been seen as the primary tool to measure organisational culture.  Yet engagement surveys only show part of the picture.  Ignium has recently partnered with Temporall, a provider of organisational insights through their digital Culture Workbench platform.

Temporall believe that organisational health and a high-performance culture is unique to each company and that in order to measure these things accurately, it needs to be continuous and able to capture true insights into the sentiments of an organisation’s workforce.

Open and transparent (there is no Big Brother going on here!), the Culture Workbench helps organisations join the dots and enables leaders to take strategic action, based on insight-led decisions.

Thomas Davies, Temporall’s CEO states,

“By collecting real-time data signals, we create a continuous insight feedback loop which supports both C-suite decision making and engages everyone throughout organisations through a true digital experience”. 

Using such a sophisticated tool helps companies move away from a one-size-fits-all approach and enables them to focus on each driver as needed for each group or department within a business.  This insight will enable change to happen as the management team will know which levers to pull and how best to bring their people on the journey.

Accenture compiled a huge data set (1 million change journeys taken from 150 organisations in 50 industries and 25 countries) in order to try to predict what will happen during a change programme. It shows that high-performing organisations go through 30% to 50% more change than low-performing organisations and they go through change at a faster pace. It also shows, unsurprisingly, that the role of business unit leaders are fundamental.

This doesn’t just mean top-down change; in highly successful businesses, the business unit managers lead from the front, they take their people on that journey, and as such they focus on performance sooner and being successful in it.

Leaders can only achieve that if they truly understand their people; what they think, what motivates them, and what they believe.

Gartner predict that by 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency required of their people.