Tips for building DEI surveys image featuring Michael Ogunsanya

4 steps to transform your culture in 24 hours

At MindStand, we're using AI to measure company culture. Whether your company uses a Slack, Microsoft Teams, email, or more, MindStand is focused on giving you the chance to use our new and improved culture scale. We're excited to be able to onboard our first set of customers and have some amazing insights that we love to share with you today. Here are the 4 steps you can take to transform your culture in 24 hours.

1. Creating Feedback Loops

When you build a business and you're scaling up for venture, it's so important to make sure that every member of the company feels bought in. Every member the company feels like they have an opportunity to speak up and be heard and feedback loops are very common step we see business owners take. Anonymous feedback specifically is key.

If you have a conversation or a sensitive topic you'd like to address to your manager, set up ways for you to be able to anonymously let the company know here's what's going on and here's how I think you should take the first step. That's been a key role in our recent development, specifically of our MindStand Bot where within Slack, Discord, Microsoft Teams, and more, you can use MindStand to anonymously share feedback and get some results immediately on what the company and leadership thinks of your community.

Overall, the idea of chain of command is a common term within a company. Either you're building a company that's very horizontally built, which a lot of young startups do, where anyone can speak up and be heard or once hierarchical structures come into place, you want to make sure that there's a way for everyone whether you're a new entry programmer down to an establishment manager to be able to speak up and be heard.

Overall, creating an intentional effort for communications will result in a feeling of ease, a feeling of transparency and belonging for all members of your company. For example, let's say Tim is the CEO of a 20-member company. He's done an amazing job over the past two years hiring and retaining an amazing talent and has brought on a chief of staff, Marissa. Marissa's job is to ensure that for the work Tim does. Every employee within the company feels bought in. Every employee there can directly understand how their work impacts the larger picture and if there is any discrepancies, by using feedback loops, an employee can speak with Marissa and Marissa, as a member of the leadership role can inform Tim on how he can change and be more inclusive of the people in this company.

Feedback loops is an excellent first step in ensuring that you can transform your culture.

2. Planning and Strategic Messaging

When you're creating a way to transform your culture, think about 3 month and 6 month review processes. It's so important to ensure that every employee gets a feeling of buy-in. Every employee feels, as though from day one, they can hit the ground running in an organization.

Now more than ever, especially in 2022 and the focus on ESG, employees want to feel like their work is making an impact in the workplace and it's up to the leadership that they know this. Through any member or any facet of the business, you always want to make sure that people have a chance after 3 months to speak up. Create a report that they can use not only personally for their career, but as the company as well to show here's what I've been able to do and here's how I'm benefiting your organization.

After 6 months, usually you see an employee fully matriculated within the company. They understand what they can do on a day-to-day basis and they have a good recognition of what's happening to 3 months afterwards, but you still want to create that intentional opportunity for them to be a star. It's so oftenly said, especially in sports and other competitive arenas that you want to people to be a star in their role and when you embrace that and give people the place to shine be a 3 and 6 month reviews, you're allowing that opportunity for people to excel.

For example, asking things like "What do you love about company X? What do you believe our company can do better at? What do you love to do and what would you love to do more here?" Getting a chance to see from a past perspective, how they feel about the company. From a current perspective, what do you think they can do and then present, to improve and then in the future, how can they continue to be a star in their role.

These processes are very key in ensuring that people feel comfortable and have that buy-in and it's a very much more structured opportunity within your organization.

3. Ask these 3 Questions

This third step is directly related towards leadership. Those in the leadership roles, you cannot afford to have miscommunication at a granular level, as well as at a top-down level and this step will help you improve your culture today.

In every leadership meeting, whether it's a quarterly, weekly, or monthly meeting, ask 3 questions:

"On a scale 1 to 10, what's your work life balance?

"What's your mental health at?"

"How is your personal health currently faring?"

When you're able to ask these questions and have people assign a number to it, you're opening them up to understand how they feel creating a moment of mindfulness and empathy.

Often as business owners, co-founders, and managers, tasks and objective can really blind our eyes towards the people doing them. When you establish questions like this, on a scale of one-to-ten and having them write out the number on a whiteboard, piece of paper, or share it verbally, as well as giving them the time to explain why they feel this way, you're now building an amazing connection between the three, four, five leadership members that can then be affected and brought into business today.

The next time you meet with a co-founder, a business partner, or even an advisor, take the time to ask these questions. What you'll find out is something you've never known before and you'll continue building this culture of transparency and accountability between one another.

"And I would be amiss if I didn't tell you guys that I did copy that specific practice from an amazing mentor. Alan Hirsch, he is a radio host, a business mediator, and overall, amazing connector in the baltimore area, initially created this event and created this exercise." Michael Ogunsanya explains, "I remember being at a CEO roundtable. I walked in a few minutes late and I saw people writing numbers on the board and I'm thinking 'Oh I must be in the financial or the accounting meeting', but, little did I know, they were taking the steps for each CEO there to share that level of vulnerability and I can tell you it definitely helped once we began talking a bit more about how we can be helpful."

So how you're able to use the advice that MindStand is implemented, Alan Hirsch is recommended to improve your culture and communication between leadership is going to help you in the long run.

4. Data Driven Insights

We live in a world where everything is happening via computer or sometimes in person. How we exchange information, how we build and how we collaborate with one another is often documented in some processes and we know, especially with tax season, you always want to have your accounts and resources accounted for, but how might you think about the employee experience, the human-to-human aspect and try and use data to try and understand it.

We at MindStand are excited to say that we're going to be rolling out our e-learning module on how to improve and measure culture within your organization very soon! There will be some amazing videos that will earn you unique discounts and features for you to purchase MindStand today and this all leads towards data driven insights. Using surveys, using pulse checks, and using MindStand are 3 excellent ways for you to start gathering data on how to improve your organization.

A common thing is that business owners often use HubSpot for marketing and quickbooks for financials, but when it comes to the human aspects, it's always a test. There's never any quantitative measurement and often employees are looking for that exact level of intentionality.

Michael Ogunsanya says, "The thing I love saying is within DEI technology, for short that means diversity, equity, and inclusion technology, by purchasing licenses to these tools, you're creating this intentionally that employees and potential candidates are looking for. So when you, as a business owner, are thinking of hiring and retaining great talent, the talent is looking for you to do just as much to make sure they feel comfortable there and data driven insights are excellent in doing so."

As mentioned, MindStand's goal is to eliminate surveys, but we recognize how important it can be in building an initial culture within your company.

Ultimately, how you're able to measure and create the scale time over time is something MindStand is really excelled at. Whether you're starting today, a month from now, or you want to look at data from years, but in the past, MindStand's goal is to give you that flexibility and clarity so that you can know where your company stands and how you can improve day by day.

Ultimately, data driven insights will establish the opportunity for you to be measured and intentional. When you practice for a pitch meeting, when you get ready to present something to a group of people, you always want to be prepared so why not carry that same level of preparation into your people and employee experience.

Michael Ogunsanya says, "The thing I love doing is to think about some unique things that outdrives businesses. The common saying of pathos, logos, and ethos. Those are three very fundamental skills when you think of the human psychology and I want to empower you when you transform your company to think through each of those."

Logos is logic. How can you present data, tell stories in a way where it logically resonates with people. Data driven insights is an excellent way to attach that logos part towards why your company is improving or has steps to improve all with data driven insights.

Ethos really relies on step three, establishing those 3 questions, ethos is an emotional connection. How can you tell a story or present an idea that makes people feel emotionally attached of affected with it. By having these opportunities for transparency and accountability, you're showing that numbers and business objectives aren't the only things that matter. It's who you are and how you feel on a day-to-day basis.

Last is Pathos. How are you able to show people why what you do matters. Being able to step up to the plate and explain why your work does is exemplary and by showing and combining these tools together, you're establishing a way for pathos to set a standard amongst how you measure and look at culture within a company.

Conclusion

It's so important, as an early stage company, to create values. Make them external and internal and then stick to them. We at MindStand have recently launched a set of values around integrity, respect, and transfer and trust. Those 3 values ar something that we are looking to express internally, whether it's within employee handbooks, all-hands meetings, as well as externally.

There's a common saying from mentor and CEO of Fearless, Delali Dzirasa, which he says, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". Creating values establishes a way for you to think about culture, to think about your business, and grow it in a way where everyone knows what you ascribe to and believe in. So create those values, make them external and internal so you can be held accountable and stick to them year over year.

Fostering healthy online communications,
one post at a time.

4. Data Driven Insights