Drink Like a Lady Podcast

6 Keys to Building a Post-COVID Company Culture with Amy Kelly

January 31, 2022 Joya Dass/Amy Kelly
Drink Like a Lady Podcast
6 Keys to Building a Post-COVID Company Culture with Amy Kelly
Show Notes Transcript

Global human resources and talent development executive Amy P. Kelly presents six tips for building a corporate culture post-COVID-19.  Given that we can’t return entirely to the old ways of working, it’s a great idea to step back and use this moment as an opportunity to rethink how we do business whilst protecting and developing our teams.

Amy Kelly:

You want to reach out, please feel free to reach out to me too. Um, and even we can share back through this group. So everyone benefits, um, just to get all your answers.

Joya Dass:

Yeah. All right. We'll give it a few more minutes. Um, covet the, she was saying, Amy was saying that she's got two twins that are 18. And then you said, I think a 13 year old and a 15 year old,

Amy Kelly:

12, 13, 18 and 18.

Joya Dass:

That's a lot of hormones..

Amy Kelly:

Yeah. It's it has, it seems, it's amazing to think of all the, you know, I love seeing everyone being able to cook dinner and, you know, do the bathsand do all the different things and still be able to engage and collaborate. So I, I live that too.

Joya Dass:

And introduced to, uh, Melanie Curtis is a pro skydiver. She is a coach and an author. And so she's joining us from New Jersey today.

Melanie Curtis:

Actually in Virginia. Nice to meet you, Amy. I'm on the road today for work.

Amy Kelly:

Oh, great. Yeah. Great to meet you. I'm in Virginia too. Oh yeah. Um, today I'm in the Northern neck area. Are you familiar with that area at all?

Melanie Curtis:

I'm in orange where I have, I'm not really sure.

Amy Kelly:

I'm about almost three hours south of DC near the mouth of the Potomac river. Nice. Great to meet you. It's great to meet you too.

Joya Dass:

Well, it is six o'clock. So we're going to go ahead and get started. Ladies. Welcome. Thank you for being on time. Um, I learned about John Gordon a little while ago, and he is somebody who speaks to a lot of high performers, Melanie. I know you use that word a lot, um, CEOs, but he speaks on the topics of leadership, culture, sales, and teamwork. And I've been on the front lines with you every single week, listening to you and the peer mentoring calls talk about culture. What do I do given that my team's not back half my team's back. We're postponing the teams coming back. What's happening to my promotion. So I really went in search of a speaker that can not only. Speak to culture building post COVID, but also to be able to take your questions live, because that's where I think the real gap is when it comes to bringing in speakers of this caliber. Um, Amy is a global human resources and talent development executive, and she's known for building exceptional talent and cultures. And she is part of John Gordon's team. She also has a book coming up, but I want to talk about that and save that until the end. Amy. Welcome.

Amy Kelly:

Thank you. I'm happy to be here. It's great to meet you all and connect.

Joya Dass:

So I'm going to dive right into the six sort of tips that we establish that are part of establishing culture in this particular era, which is very different than, than any other era I believe that we've talked about. So the first one is adaptability. How do you make sure you're hiring people that are resilient and how do you make sure you're hiring people that are adaptable?

Amy Kelly:

Sure. Well, I've got to talk about, a sustained change methodology that I created, and I spoke about it earlier this year at ATD and it is all founded on hopes, H O P E S. It stands for each piece of the methodology and I'll, I'll share just what that looks like. I'll send it through this team, but I'm mentioning that because there's sustained change as a reality. We know that that is something that's always happening. Just acknowledgement of sustained change is a big piece and it starts in teams and organizations by hiring. You kind of dropped the hint in the invite, um, looking during the hiring process and asking people, what, what is their opinion about change? I mean, it really does reveal so much and making sure that your organization talks about. Organizations won't exist unless they embrace the reality of change. So the people that don't express a connection between the success of the relevance of an organization and the ability to adapt and change, that would not be someone that would fit the hiring criteria for most of the companies that I work with and work for. So during that hiring process, there are different ways you can set your questions to be consistent and compliant in order to have those discussions and make those assessments. And look at the backgrounds of the individuals. Now, you were talking about also inside the organization, prioritizing adaptability, and once people are, you're talking about change all the time. And when I say all the time, I mean, change has been integrated into every company I've worked with for their strategic planning process inside whatever the objective presentation is on an annual and quarterly basis, there's a separate component that's just about the change management planning related. And objective, if you have an objective, it's looking to go from point A to point B. So inside that hopes kind of methodology that I was talking about, the planning that P is for your processes and plans always need to reflect the importance of change. You, you know, if that ISO and things like process improvement is all about change, and, and looking at those opportunities to increase excellence in performance. So your process management in your strategic planning, they're always pointing back to the role of change so that it is part of your cultural DNA. That goes back to adaptability.

Joya Dass:

We had a speaker last week that was talking about how to build a seven figure business, and one of the key things that we got from her talk is that culture and who you hire on your team is a integral component to building a seven figure business. So that tees up the next thing, which is also how those team members communicate. Why is transparency both into your operations and communications, so, so important to this post COVID culture.

Amy Kelly:

Well, one of the things that John Gordon, the author of this book and my co-author for, um, we wrote a book together called 'The Energy Best Field Guide". He often says this, it didn't come from me, but it's so true is "where there's a void in communication, negativity tends to fill it." And so. Having a plan, as I know all the communication strategists are saying, aye aye Amy, I already knew this. It is the fundamentals of having a multimodal approach to maintaining consistent communication. I say, avoid the void. You don't want to have that void start to fill and people to make up meaning around things. And so having strategic communication planning, talking about the fact that that's why you're bringing the transparency, the vulnerability, the empathy, the consistency into your communication plans, because it's about making sure everyone feels like they're involved.

Joya Dass:

Aixa Robinson talks about this a lot. She's at Merrill Lynch, but how do you continue to put both remote as well as your onsite employees first? How do you do that?

Amy Kelly:

You know, it's. One of the things with culture that the two questions that we always ask about cultures, what do you stand for? And what do you want to be known for? And the first thing is you want to stand for all of your employees. And so there, there needs to be a hybrid approach to everything that you do, just like those process and those planning elements. When you roll anything out, it does need to be elements of it is how will we do this in the reality? Of the fact that we have employees that are potentially back to office and, uh, the remote workforce and that, that will never change. One thing that I train executives on is looking at, um, their beliefs around remote work and really doing a belief inventory there to make sure that their beliefs about people's effectiveness are open to the effectiveness in both roles so that those aren't potentially clouding their judgment about how they bring both types of workers in all situations into business conversations and into the processes. And right now, most of the development has been around how to lead effectively or more effectively with your hybrid workforce, with your remote workforce. And a lot of the training and in the work has been around how do you create a greater appreciation for what I call the tiles of talent that you see? It's a mosaic, you know, everyone's that, I'm so tired of the zooms. I've, your belief? Is contagious and you're bringing your belief in and it's already affecting the outcomes of everything. So starting with those belief inventories, having the conversation, making sure your, what you stand for, what you want to be known for, that you talk about it, that it's reflected and it's consistently taking those actions that demonstrate. That you believe that either way to contribute in your role as effective, unless, you know, HR has documented that certain roles might need to be performed in the office and over time, people will believe with you otherwise they won't believe that you think both are important aspects of the workforce.

Joya Dass:

This next point is really important, which is how to role model. Culture is especially given the fact that not everybody is necessarily in front of you all the time. How do you create guidelines? How do you do regular check-ins?

Amy Kelly:

One of the, the kind of the tips that I give to leaders as we talk about this topic is that regularly ask in meetings, you know, not maybe every time, but make it a consistent practice as you're discussing decisions that need to be made or things that, uh, projects that you're working on does what we're doing align with our culture? And, and really out of the blue kind of asking those questions, whether it be in one-on-ones or whether it be in group meetings, you can be in the middle of looking at your financial statements and a decision about, you know, a new product that's being made and say, you know, if we were to do that, how do you see that aligning with what we stand for and what our values are as a corporation? Now, people sometimes do that, but leaders who do that regularly are showing that those are important aspects of decision-making so that everything we're doing is reflelecting our culture and that really that alone, we could talk about things for hours. And that one is the hallmark of all of the great leaders and the CEO's that I've seen in, in vibrant cultures is that they regularly ask people to go on that cognitive journey of is what we're doing in alignment with who we say we are. And just the process of thinking about it reveals whether or not, you know, that is at the core of, of your day to day operations. I've lost track of how many times I've been asked this, but how do you organize quarterly team events in person and how do you spend time bonding over non-work-related topics and activities again? Well, this one is on everyone's priority list right now. And I think that just like I consider, you know, business people we're artists, we've got all of our tools and resources and get to be artists. There's not one formula to this. What I will say is that I found that organizations who have made the decision, and I know it's not possible for everyone to invest in someone who is actually responsible and accountable for these things to drive it, to keep it front and center, they have not regretted that investment. They've even said to the organization. We may pull back or we're allocating 75% of this one FTE to really look at and engage in regular communication about how we have virtual events, live events, how we're aligning, what we're doing to celebrate reward, recognize and communicate with the, the nature of the new work environment and we're spending that time having these discussions anyway. So it's actually, we're looking at how is this driving efficiencies to have one or to have two or a team, um, responsible and accountable for regular examination and leadership around that type of, um, kind of strategic initiative.

Joya Dass:

Before I leave that top and go to our last topic and then go to questions. What kind of KPIs would you put around a team building activity and be like, oh, that worked because of X.

Amy Kelly:

Well, I am definitely, you probably saw if you've read my bio. I know not everyone reads bios, but I work with ATD as a facilitator and I love learning and development as maybe many of you do. I always use Kirkpatrick. I look at level one, level two, level three and level four, and look Kirkpatrick up. If you don't know who it is, because it's a great kind of entree into the general metrics of measuring training and development dollars. The first thing I do is I ask people, you know, how was that experience? What do you think we need to ask them? What, right afterward, you're saying, did you like it? What did you like about it? What would you like to see more of the start? Stop and continue. Then the best way to get great metrics to is to have a conversation with the CFO about investment, because they will kind of sometimes fight with you. I like it. It's a, it's a healthy kind of conversation about you can't say that we increased sales because we had an offsite event. Well, maybe we can, maybe there is a way to look at some of these examples of success stories. And what would you feel comfortable with when we talk about these metrics? So I ask people what they think. I talk to my other leaders in the organization, particularly the CFO and or their team about metrics that would matter. And I always have my own that I might suggest based on the situation and the type of investment. And then I'm looking at the managers. And if we have an action that we're looking to see happen, a behavior change, or then I'm going to follow up with the managers and the employees, did anything change because of this. And then also look at the processes that might be impacted by the change and said, have we had compliance, have we had, you know, greater customer success and it really is, again, I love it because it's an art form. You have to architect your proposed metrics and then get alignment through collaboration on what's going to matter over the course of your measurement of the investment. And create your own dashboards within each organization to proactively put in front of everyone when they may be distracted by what they consider to be the more important financial measures. Um, you can say, you know, this is what we did last quarter. This is the trend I'm seeing of what happens after we have these different, our EAP use has gone down. There's a general wellness in the organization. I, you know, I'm making this connection. What do you think about that connection in our investment? So, you are really creative and architecting those connections, working with the leaders on what measurements matter to them. And then always listening, listening, listening through whatever methodologies, make sense, and you have enough time to invest in to get feedback.

Joya Dass:

I was reading one of the KPIs that the VP of digital assets at Nike uses. And she said, you know, revenue is always the barometer of whether or not a company is doing well, but some of the other KPIs are satisfaction and happiness. And how often do we actually stop to measure either of those? All right, the final point that you shared here is how do you transition a culture that's no longer serving what we stand for and is no longer serving the people?

Amy Kelly:

Well, if that is really where you're going to have to ask that question again. It's if what we're doing, isn't what we want to stand for, then what do we stand for? And just redefine. And then that is a lot of re-imagining of cultures happens when there isn't consistent discussion on the questions that I asked earlier, you don't want to be in a reactive mode where you feel like, wow, this is hitting us, that our culture needs to be adjusted because we're, there's such a gap, a chasm or a gap between what we intend and what's actually happening. If the consistency in communication, without that void being created is happening. Generally, it's less likely that you'll have to completely rebrand, you know, and, and, and do a reset that may be a strategic decision at different times, but it's the importance of that consistent communication. It's the importance of integrating culture discussion and measurement into your strategic planning process and your measurement process. It's the importance of, you know, I even when we're talking about who's in the succession pipeline, asking them to come and present on change management and on a culture management and really making that whole kind of business leadership motion, a priority in the development and promotion of people inside organizations so that everyone knows culture is the top, the top of the top. Um, what, because when we talk about culture in John's work and in our work, we're always saying culture is not one thing. It's everything. It's everything that we think, everything we say, everything we do and culture isn't static, it's dynamic. So each day you're creating the culture. So when you're speaking about that, and if there's a big disconnect, you've probably not been working in the best practices, but you go back to that exact same formula of what is it that we do want to stand for and be known for. And then how do we incorporate that across the different business objectives, the processes, the performance management.

Joya Dass:

I know there's some solopreneurs that are here on the call here today, but I think culture starts with even that first hire that you make.