March 6, 2018

Changing minds: Four steps to create a culture shift at your company

For International Women’s Day, Ceridian’s Chief Marketing Officer Kristina Cleary, and Chief People and Culture Officer Lisa Sterling, share actions to #PressforProgress starting now.

Amongst the hashtags, movements, headlines, initiatives, reports and awards, here’s what we have learned about progress: it’s the result of a fundamental culture shift.

We’re working towards creating a culture at Ceridian where there’s mutual respect for every individual – something all leading organizations should be aiming for. We want to get to a point where we are not calling out diversity, equality and inclusion as separate entities or programs, but instead are naturally pressing for progress through how we act and behave. And we’re making progress – recently being named a 2018 Great Place to Work for Women is a milestone in this journey.

Fundamentally, to create this culture and to see progress, leaders need to get their hands dirty – following a hashtag doesn’t mean you’re driving change. You need a go-forward strategy and philosophy, and you need to actually do something.

Shifting culture is a team sport. Your collective leadership team must be on the same page – you can’t move forward unless you’re all in agreement on your end goal, and what success looks like.

Then, use your data to guide your actions. What does your data tell you about what you need to focus on? Build programs to tackle your goals accordingly. Your measurements of success are going to be vastly different depending on your organization and what you’re trying to solve for.

From our own experience at Ceridian, we’ve identified four key ingredients to press for progress, in honor of International Women’s Day. This year, we’re focusing on taking action to create the culture. Here’s how leaders can get on track to take action and drive progress in their own organizations.

Get the data: Make the case

There are two key points to highlight about how valuable your HCM data is. The first is that data helps you make a clear case for change – without emotion –  within your organization.

Above, we talked about the importance of alignment from your collective leadership team. We are fortunate that our leadership team agrees about the type of organization we want to be, and is supportive of our programs.  For example, every senior leader participated in #GoSponsorHer, and made our EDGE Certification a central focus.

However, a question we often receive from individuals at all levels of various organizations is how to get buy-in from their leadership teams. This is where the data comes in – wage disparities by gender, gender disparities within teams or at various organizational levels, or lack of diversity in hiring are just a few examples. Conversations about diversity and inclusion are highly emotional – either leaders don’t want to be perceived as unsupportive of women, or you’re the person in the room passionately making the case for change, or both.

Data takes the emotion out of the conversation, while elevating the case for change. It shifts the conversation from theories and hypotheses about organizational inconsistencies to eye-opening proof points. 

Use the data: Set measurable goals and actions

The second point about data is that it provides direction for your strategy. Whether you start with leadership buy-in or not, your strategy requires a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, and what actions should come out of what you’ve learned about your organization and your workforce.

For example, if there’s a lack of diversity in the selection process, or you don’t have enough women in leadership positions, this could affect your talent acquisition strategy. If there’s a statistically valid difference in compensation between genders, this might require you to build new pay structures.

Insights gleaned from data help identify opportunities for your organization to improve, determine what is achievable within a given time frame, and establish metrics to measure your progress.

Provide education, awareness and exposure

Our approach at Ceridian is to support our data-driven goals with programs and initiatives that permeate into the fabric of our culture.

This could include, for example, education, training or informal conversations on removing bias or how to have the same conversation with an employee regardless of gender. It also includes establishing employee resource groups, a women’s network like our own CWN, or participating in a movement like #MovetheDial. These initiatives keep the conversation top of mind and promote awareness and exposure for every individual in the organization.

Additionally, communicating about existing policies and programs at your organization is key. Do you support workplace flexibility, or have you updated your parental leave policy, or intend to? Reinforcing how your workplace is evolving with tangible examples is an important part of creating change.  

Create the culture

When it comes to impacting culture, leadership buy-in is a no-brainer. But truly instilling a culture shift is so much bigger than that. Behaviors throughout the organization are what drive the outcomes you’re looking to achieve.

That’s where educational opportunities and data-driven goals we discussed earlier come into play. The more the conversation is top of mind, the more opportunities employees have to understand each other. Plus, the more transparent leaders are with their data and their intentions to drive change, the more the philosophy of inclusion and equity will become a true cultural element of the organization.


What actions will you take to #PressforProgress this year? Tell us on @Twitter!

Kristina Cleary

Kristina Cleary leads global marketing at Ceridian. An avid runner, when KC isn’t chasing her two children, she’s running from conferences to client sites, and talking about the latest and greatest in HCM trends.


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Lisa Sterling

As Chief People and Culture Officer, Lisa is responsible for executing Ceridian's global people strategy combined with leading the vision on the Dayforce Talent Management offering.

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