Assessment-driven Culture Change

A technology company was deep into a years’ long transformational change in the business model that required a cultural shift as well. The change involved a pivot from a technical, engineering focus to a focus on content and entertainment.

As part of a larger organization development and change management initiative, the top six levels of management completed the suite of Hogan personality assessments. Additionally, employee and culture surveys were administered annually. We were retained to provide Hogan feedback and to perform data analytics to determine if there was a link between manager personality and culture change.

The first wave of analyses determined that there was a strong correlation between manager personality and their employees’ perceptions of the culture. Interestingly, there was also a “ripple” effect where the personality of the manager’s manager had an incremental influence on how employees viewed culture.

The next wave of analyses modelled year-to-year change in culture over a three-year span. Overall, there was improvement, but some business units and teams showed more change than others and some even showed digression. These changes were also significantly correlated with manager personality and profiles of “culture builder” and “culture killer” personalities were constructed based on the Hogan scales that best predicted culture improvement and digression, respectively.

Next a “heat map” was constructed for each business unit with deeper shades of red indicating the degree to which a manager’s personality fit the “culture killer” profile and his or her employees’ culture survey results were digressing. Deeper shades of green indicated the degree of fit with the “culture builder” profile and that culture results were moving in the desired direction.

The heat maps were used by the leadership team and HR leadership to identify managers who were helping and hindering the transformation, with appropriate follow-up diligence, direct conversations, and considerations for restructuring management. Videos and other media were created with a spotlight on exemplary culture builders to reinforce and role model the desired changes. Results were monitored each year, and the culture shift accelerated. The success of the radically new business model remains to be seen but early indications have been promising.