Skip to main content
Go back

Gain inspiration from a retro TV programme by focusing on ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’ this year and you might just achieve a much-needed requirement for many UK businesses in 2023 – cultural change.

Your Next Top Models should not be found too far away.  They are employees – those employees that demonstrate the right mindset and behaviours that need to be fostered, in order to create cultural change.

Finding these ‘models’ is key.  As McKinsey says, “Fostering a healthy culture can be the ultimate competitive advantage in a world where business models are easily replicated.”

But to truly achieve cultural change, we need to namecheck another talent show – ‘The Voice’.  Companies need to not only find their top models but also provide these individuals with a meaningful voice, if cultural change is to occur.  The reason?  Behaviours. 

Changing behaviours in the workplace

Culture is largely an unseen phenomenon, submerged for the greater part.  What is visible to us is merely a combination of artifacts and symbols of what lies beneath – the beliefs and assumptions that shape the behaviours of the workforce.

Finding our ‘Next Top Model’ is rooted in management strategy, as we can see, if we reference the Lewin-Schein model. This suggests that, to implement cultural change – highly desirable for most if a company wishes to be adaptive and innovative – we need to firstly unfreeze beliefs, then set crucial new beliefs and behaviours through ‘role modelling’.  After that, we can refreeze.

The role-modelling element to this is often considered to rest on the shoulders of the management team.  They should be the change they want to see in their corporate world.   By consistently demonstrating new, desired behaviours, leaders can set an example.  If they back their actions with effective communications strategies, a strong message should be sent, and a new set of behaviours should be established within the workplace. 

To help with this process, some companies have published ‘cultural manifestos’, setting out what the desirable new behaviours and beliefs.  

Why employees need a voice within cultural change

Here at Space2BE, however, we do not believe that behavioural change can be a solely top-down process.  The employee voice is crucial to the success of any programme of cultural change, particularly in a world within which communities, mental health and wellbeing are valued more than ever before and where diversity, equality and inclusion are watchwords that every organisation should embrace.

Whilst leaders can set their True North when it becomes to behaviour and help guide their workers towards it, individuals within the workforce are more likely to align themselves with a sherpa, rather than the expedition leader.  It’s very much a desire to adopt the behaviours of ‘people like us’.

On that basis, leaders seeking to change behaviours need to remember not to be the loudest voice in the room.  The Next Top Models are those individuals – change champions, who grasp the vision, what it can do for them and how it can create corporate success, and who can help guide their fellow workers, team members and direct reports towards the desired ways of acting within the workplace – the new behaviours that the strategy requires.

‘Next Top Models’ can be identified and trained to a degree, but communication and incentivisation is hugely important.  Communication can motivate employees to grasp the vision and act on it; incentivisation will reward them for their behaviours and show their co-workers what they themselves need to do, to achieve similar success.

Empowering and enabling cultural change

To get to this stage, companies must allow frontline employees to make more decisions and be empowered to act on their instincts.  The framework for a broader outlook needs to be created within the corporate structure and even the physical landscape of the workplace.   Employees also need the technology or tools to help them change their behaviours and require the right routes to expression.

All of this is more vital than ever, following the pandemic, high levels of social unrest and economic crisis.  No organisation can ignore new social orders and changes in what society expects of employers and businesses. No company should believe that it does not require some element of healing after what has occurred since 2020.  To not understand the need for a better-framed dialogue between employer and employee is to not appreciate the determinants of corporate success in today’s business world.

Getting help with workplace behavioural change

People’s behaviours shape the workplace and dictate how work tasks are carried out. It is vital that companies learn how to remodel behaviours, to bring about the cultural change required, in order to achieve 2023’s corporate strategies.  The best way to do that is to give the right influencers their ‘runway’ – the platform that will allow them to stand out in the workplace and be heard.  Do this and you will enable them to help shape procedures, systems and attitudes and inadvertently recruit followers who then replicate and implement their ‘style’.

If you need help with discovering and shaping those individuals who can help change the prevailing behaviours in your workplace, or wish to know how to build the environment within which new behaviours can be successfully adopted and rewarded, we are here to help.  
Our work on cultural change will meet you where you are, according to situations prevailing in your individual workplace, and lead to us designing a bespoke approach that is tailored to your individual needs and the personality of your company and workforce.  There is no ‘one’ answer or approach to cultural change, just a process that requires skill, the ability to engage and strong analytical abilities when it comes to understanding people and processes.  Contact us on 0208 720 6991 to access all of this.