Published: April 01, 2019 | Comments
How healthy is your contact center’s work culture?
If you’re like most leaders, you’ve never been asked to manage the quality of your culture proactively. It’s not part of your job description.
The reality is that your work culture drives everything that happens in
your organization - for better or worse. Ignoring the quality of your work
culture is likely costing you time, trust, respect, retention,
productivity, and more.
When faced with the demand for proactive culture management, most leaders
don’t know what to do to build a purposeful, positive, productive work
This article presents five steps which are the foundation of my proven
culture refinement process. They’ve helped organizations around the globe
and in hundreds of industries boost engagement (by 40%), service (by 40%),
and results and profits (35%), all within 18 months of engaging in this
These five steps are not complicated - but they do demand leaders’ time,
attention, modeling, coaching, and measurement to gain traction on your
desired contact center culture.
The five steps include:
1. Assess It
You can’t formulate a plan to improve the health of your work culture until
you stop and assess what’s working - and what’s not. Once the gaps are
apparent, you can then map an approach to close those gaps over time.
The key: you must have a model to compare your work culture to. Casual
discussion or observation will not lead to actionable insights.
Here are three models that can help you assess the quality of your work
culture today. They’re presented in order of simple to more complex models.
The first is my Purposeful Culture Assessment. It is a quick 12-item survey
- scored online within seconds - that will provide a snapshot of how
healthy your work culture is. To get started, head to my web site (
) and click on the “get your free starter kit + assessment” button on the
The second is my Culture Effectiveness Assessment, a 50-item survey built
into my book, The Culture Engine. The CEA provides a more
involved evaluation of your team or center work culture.
The third is a much more extensive assessment: Human Synergistics’
Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI).
Organizational Culture Inventory - Measure organizational culture
The OCI standard assessment describes the current operating culture in
terms of behavioral norms. The OCI-Ideal version describes the behaviors
that members believe will maximize the organization’s effectiveness. In
addition, the Organizational Effectiveness Inventory can be added. The OEI
examines the impact of causal factors including mission and philosophy,
structures, systems, and skills.
The OCI, OCI-Ideal, and OEI are much more involved assessments to undertake, but they provide actionable insights on your organization’s culture and
2. Define It
The define stage is where leaders must formalize their desired team or
center culture in the form of an organizational constitution. Your
constitution specifies your organization’s servant purpose (it’s
service-oriented “reason for being” besides making money), your values and
behaviors, and strategies and goals.
Once defined, these elements help everyone in the organization understand
what a great team citizen looks like, acts like, and sounds like: how to
treat others with respect in every interaction.
3. Align It
Defining your organizational constitution doesn’t mean everyone in your
organization will embrace it! Leaders must align all plans, decisions, and
actions to your desired culture - your organizational constitution - every
Leaders must build credibility for this process by holding themselves
accountable for modeling your values and behaviors - then coaching others
by praising aligned behavior and re-directing mis-aligned behavior. They
can no longer tolerate disrespectful, self-serving, bullying approaches.
4. Measure It
To ensure that the alignment process is taking hold, leaders must create a
means to measure agents and team members’ perceptions of their leaders. The
best way to measure values alignment is to conduct a regular values survey
- at least twice a year.
In this survey, agents and team members rate their bosses on the degree to
which those bosses model the valued behaviors defined in your
organizational constitution. By rating bosses on these behaviors, you can provide leaders with undeniable truth about how employees see them
behaving in the workplace each day.
For example, if one of your values is integrity and one of that value’s
behaviors is “I do what I say I will do,” agent and team members get to
rate their direct boss on how well they model that valued behavior in daily
Leaders are then presented with a profile of agents’ and team members’
ratings. These are shared without attributing scores by individual
employees but in a group format.
This approach will help you and all leaders understand exactly how their
demonstration of your valued behaviors is perceived. Leaders who are seen
as values-aligned will have team members’ ratings to prove it. And -
leaders who are seen as not demonstrating your desired valued behaviors
will have team members’ ratings to prove that.
A values survey will help you hold leaders accountable for both results AND
respect. You will celebrate values-aligned leaders and re-direct
5. Refine It
Every year, you will refine your organizational constitution by updating
strategies and goals. Every two years, you will refine your valued
behaviors, as needed.
You will rarely need to revise your organization’s servant purpose, values,
By embracing these five steps, you can shift your team or contact center’s
work culture to purposeful, positive, and productive.