In times of challenge, does your team convey a cooperative “all hands on deck” spirit around the office or an every-person-for-themselves response? Are patients treated as a blessing or a burden? Do folks contribute the bare minimum during the workweek or proudly go the extra mile?
The difference can make or break your business, and that makes company culture an important part of your practice’s success. If you haven’t already, it’s time to develop a cultural plan. Get started with these tips explaining what a cultural plan is, why it matters, how to create it, and who should lead the effort.
What Is a Cultural Plan?
A cultural plan is a strategy — much like an operational strategy, but specific to people. The strategy, aimed to support your practice’s operational objectives through the strength of your team, outlines a core sense of ethics, values, and principles that help reinforce solidarity, consistency, and shared goals.
- Transparency vs. secrecy
- Cooperation vs. obstruction
- Innovation vs. stagnation
- Support vs. discouragement
- Thoroughness vs. incompleteness
- Efficiency vs. idleness
- Competence vs. ineptitude
- Compassion vs. cruelty
- Diligence vs. carelessness
- Resolution vs. confusion
Why Does It Matter?
The success of your business depends on it. In a time of industry challenges including ever-increasing consolidation, big-box retailing, third-party payers, and more, reaching your goals requires an engaged and empowered team fully aligned with your practice. A cultural plan helps accomplish just that.
Having a cultural plan in place can contribute to:
- Employee recruitment, retention, and decreased turnover
- Improved customer service and patient satisfaction
- Increased ability of the team to work independently
- A more joyful, motivational work environment
- Employees’ ability to reach their full potential
- More open communication and reduced back-channel gossip
In the end, creating a cultural plan helps codify your nonnegotiables, letting the team and everyone else who walks through your doors know what you and the business stand for.
How Do You Create a Cultural Plan?
The first step is to review your operations plan — which the cultural plan is meant to support and reinforce — and determine the values, norms, and principles that are critical to carrying out those operations.
How? Ask yourself questions that peel back the layers until you’re able to list the specific attributes that matter. If you envision, for example, that successful operations means a functional team and satisfied patients, then for the cultural plan:
- Think about the qualities of a functional team, such as the ability to work together, focus on solutions rather than dwell on problems, and have fun
- Consider the specific characteristics that could support those respective qualities, such as flexibility, a sense of humor, inquisitiveness, a self-starting demeanor, and more
- Ponder the type of environment that would support these qualities, such as teambuilding activities, recognition for innovations, and empowering opportunities such as captainships
- Write it all down, including the core steps to implement what you’ve envisioned
Who Should Lead the Way?
Speaking of “implementation”: When it comes to building and launching an effective cultural plan, the person who manages the team is the one to lead the charge. That might be the owner, office manager, or human resources manager working to ensure the plan’s success.
Keep things simple by committing to taking small steps and sticking to the plan. For starters:
- Collaborate to identify each person’s goals — personal, professional, and financial — and find ways to align them with the practice’s goals
- Institute regular team and one-on-one meetings to check in on individual and group progress, give and get feedback, celebrate triumphs, and identify opportunities for improvement or support
You can also count on Audigy, whose business experts such as operations, human resources, and professional development managers not only can create your practice’s cultural plan but help you put it into action and measure its success.
This includes access to Audigy’s:
- Proven approach to helping teams set personal, professional, and financial goals and align them with the goals of the business
- Training in communication to maximize employee potential and facilitate collaboration across the business
- Assistance in developing and coordinating critical components such as team meetings, one-on-one sessions, team-build agendas, employee handbooks, job descriptions, and annual reviews
- Ability to host team retreats, which can help enhance productivity, strengthen bonds, reinforce collaboration, refocus staff members, and yield other potential benefits
- CEO, an exclusive online platform for training, expert advice, and the exchange of evidence-based practices and ideas among independent hearing care businesses across North America