What is a Culture Council

A Culture Council is an empowered group of committed team members from across the organization that advises leadership with curated recommendations to improve workplace culture.

Who should be on your Culture Council

To get your culture committee off the ground, first, select the person from the leadership team who is most respected by the team.  This person then invites influencers from different departments who care about the organization, the team and exemplify the values.  Include a diverse group of perspectives by including team members of different ages, gender, race, tenure, level of authority etc. Include no more than 8 participants.

Note, participation on the Culture Council is voluntary. 

How to make your Culture Council a Success

First, leadership must be an active proponent of the creation of a Culture Council.  

Second, the Culture Council must have a clear charge to provide curated recommendations to leadership to improve the workplace culture.

Third, prior to making a recommendation, the Culture Council needs to be thoughtful about the resources it’s going to take (time, energy and money) to implement said recommendation.  A Culture Council strives to be intentional and focused in only making those recommendations they see that would truly be impactful.

Fourth, leadership needs to consider recommendations in a timely fashion and then act – either by coordinating implementation or putting it in the parking lot.  Note, the leadership team must communicate to the Culture Council both the decision and the thinking behind that decision.

Operating within the Culture Council

1) Intentionally nurture the culture by “sparking” camaraderie.  Sparks are small simple thoughtful actions easily implementable by anyone at any time.  Sparking can look like:

  • Witness a co-worker’s personal or professional struggle
  • Acknowledge a teammate’s contribution, dedication or thoughtfulness 
  • Share a “groan worthy” bad clean joke

For more sparking ideas go here…

2) As the “voice” of the culture and advocate for the culture, the Culture Council’s second key responsibility is to get a temperature check on how the team is feeling about working for the organization, garner meaningful actionable feedback and highlight morale patterns.  Here’s some simple questions to gather actionable input:

  • On a scale of 1-10, how do you feel about coming to work here?  What would make that a plus one?
  • What do you most appreciate about our culture?
  • What is your best suggestion for improving our culture?

3) As advocates and protectors of the company culture, the Culture Council is also responsible for encouraging direct, kind, candid and constructive communication whenever concerns about another teammate are brought to them.  It’s their responsibility to redirect triangulation and gossip when they arise.

4) Last but not least, the Culture Council is responsible for continuous learning and refreshing of ideas to nourish and improve the culture. 

7 Common Pitfalls of a Culture Council

Many organizations have the best of intentions when they put together a culture committee.  Yet often the enthusiasm that brought this committed group of employees together tends to wane and they feel like they are wasting their time due to one or more of the following:

  1. Leadership has an expectation that creating a Culture Council will alone fix the culture challenges.  
  2. The Culture Council becomes a dumping ground for addressing any morale challenges within the organization.
  3. There is no clear direction and thus meetings become nebulous, lackluster chatting with no outcomes.
  4. The council becomes the party planning committee – also known as the “forced fun” committee and their impact is significantly diminished and value undermined.
  5. The Culture Council’s recommendations are not taken seriously and/or are not handled in a timely fashion.
  6. The direction of the Culture Council is dominated by the personal agenda of one person rather than guided by what’s best for the whole team.
  7. The Culture Council has little to no experience navigating culture challenges – for example gossip, silos, apathy, entitlement and drama.

Culture Councils are made up of some of your best people.  Honor their time and their commitment by supporting them in being successful.  

If you’re thinking of starting a Culture Council or you’ve recently been asked to participate in one and aren’t sure where to start, purchase Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace

This culture reference guide is an extraordinary resource chock full of culture transforming actionable insights and tangible tools that you’ll never want to leave your desk!

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