Culture check
10 key questions

Across the community sector services are becoming increasing tailored to individual customers and the catch cry of ‘culture isn’t one thing – its everything’ has never been more applicable.  

Whether you work in aged care, mental health or disability services this requires stronger governance, contemporary systems and staffing excellence. Combined these elements might be called quality services. Beneath the frameworks and strategies and paper outlining the legislation and rules of this more person-centred world, the engine room is culture. 

Organisations are developing brand personalities that provide a modus operandi for staff based on their mission and values with some seeking to nurture and grow their staff at a personal and professional level. Others are documenting directives for staff conversations and actions in an effort to ensure their people walk the talk. Whether people are engaging or directing staff behaviour, both of these culture change strategies have communication at their heart. 

Thought leaders in this space are not focused on internal communication strategies limited to e-newsletters and intranets but rather talking about a deliberate and sustained effort to inform, educate, support and empower their staff. The so-called touch points of a customer pathway and all the things that create the customer experience come into play.  

Mission needs to be pursued through organisational structure, job design, recruitment practice, internal communities of excellence as well as all things intended for the customer. It is only once organisations have their house in order that customers will come close to having the intended service experience and get the outcomes they want.

Culture cannot be manufactured. It must be lived. Here are some key questions to determine if your culture is a help or a hindrance to continuous improvement and quality services.

  1. How many cultures are there in your organisation? 
  2. Do customers, staff and the board have the similar experiences of culture?
  3.  How does the staff culture impact on the customer experience?
  4.  What role do or could your customers play in creating and nurturing your culture? 
  5. Do staff and management need to be motivated to perform or are your values and vision internalised and part of business as usual?
  6. Is your culture affecting your ability to recruit or retain staff?
  7. Who are your cultural ambassadors?
  8. Does your culture match your values?
  9. How does your culture influence the way staff and customers think, feel and act?
  10. How does culture impact on your ability to deliver you mission and sustain your business?