Making Culture Measurable

Karin Volo didn’t become the CEO and Chief Joy Bringer at Evoloshen, a personal and organizational development expert, an international best-selling author, and an inspirational speaker by normal circumstances.

Her success was born from a nightmare.

In 2006, Karin’s life suddenly came to a crashing halt when she was arrested for fraud and was forced to sit in prison for 1,352 days. For almost four years, Karin was determined to stay positive, and when she was released, she understood that her purpose in life was to teach others how to do the same.

Karin explains how her work combines what she learned and her experience working in the corporate world. Once her name was cleared, Karin began to dig into research around what makes people hate their jobs so she could define the strategies needed to create workplaces people love and can therefore thrive in. Check out the five culture keys Karin has identified and outlined in her book, Engage!. Along the way, you’ll learn how to define, scale, and measure culture.

Truth You Can Act On

1. Cultivate Collaboration

Collaboration is all about taking teamwork to the next level. It’s also having people feel like they belong and making it so they feel like they are working for the greater good of everybody. When that happens, there’s a high level of trust there.

2. Drive Creativity

Virgin Railways took over a route from British Railways and the employees had been there 20, 30 years. In first six months, the leaders just went in and talked to everybody and said, ‘Look, this is a new business area for us, what would you do differently?’ And it was the first time that anybody had come and asked them and talked to. And then after that six months, then they started to implement some of the great ideas that these people had. And it ignited a little fire inside of them, a passion, because they were doing what they had told them that needed to be done for the first time ever. And so they felt valued, appreciated, and seen and it made a huge difference.

3. Practice Connection

In terms of connection, leaders need to be authentic. They need to be real, and they need to genuinely care about people. And this is something that can be challenging because that’s not what’s been taught in the normal management training systems. It’s always been all about the numbers and that’s it. But now, certain leaders have discovered that when they truly, genuinely care about their people, the company does really well. It goes hand in hand. They’ve cracked the nut and now all of us who are working in the space, it’s our job to get this out there to inspire other leaders to realize, ‘Hey, this is how we can do this.

4. Celebrate Meaningfully

If you’re very driven and ambitious and goal-oriented then your teams are working towards goals. But they finally get there, and they’re like, ‘Okay, on to the next thing.’ They don’t take the time to celebrate all the hundreds of little baby steps that it took to get there. Getting into a habit of gratitude and appreciation for what you have accomplished on a daily basis helps you, because as human beings, we want to make progress. If we’re making progress, we’re happier, we feel more productive. So I think it’s really important to just learn or figure out ways to celebrate those small wins along the way.

5. Make Contributions

Something shifted and people really want to work with companies that they feel are making a positive difference. If we look back, say 20 years ago, people who were doing contribution, it was like you didn’t put that out into the world. You did it on the side, you did it subtly if you did it. But things changed about 10 years ago or so, where people wanted to know what good are you doing in the world? And when you have companies incorporating contributions into their business plan it increases engagement, retention, and it makes it easier to attract talent to your company.

6. Measure Consistently

Find out what the KPIs are that you know are making the biggest impact, and then consistently measure them. But also think about what action you can take to increase engagement inside of the organization? I actually have developed a certification training where I teach people all of this and how you actually get people engaged. It’s important to know how to work with the neuroscience of how people react and interact, but then also to be able to break it down into how do you want people to feel? How are we going to make that happen? And then you can start to do specific deliberate engagement activities that start to shift the culture that way.

Book Recommendation:

Listen to the full episode: Episode 190: Making Culture Measurable with Karin Volo

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