5 reasons why corporate culture & engagement programs won't work

change companies corporate culture engagement how to assess what is working people profit programs success sustainability wellbeing Oct 26, 2022

5 reasons why corporate culture & engagement programs won't work

...And how to make sure you get the impact and the results you really want

Corporate culture, wellbeing, development and personal training and performance programs are a multi-billion dollar industry.

With an overwhelming number of leadership training programs, staff engagement platforms, mental health awareness available and an industry booming.

When I read about more burn out, extraordinary workplace toxicity and more and more top tier organisations losing great people to the effects of stress and overwhelm - it makes me wonder where is all this money going and why isn't it working. So much so I actually wrote a book and designed a full course about how to regain your focus and calm in the information overload world we are in.

More AI and push platform validation is not going to help.

Change is an inside job. 

Even in 2019, pre the pandemic and now what has been coined as  "the great resignation" with the wave of people leaving their jobs in 2022 - one in five Americans have left a job in the past five years due to bad company culture. The cost of that turnover is an estimated $223 billion, according to a 2019 SHRM report on workplace culture. 

As my entire business and work is centred around empowering self leadership from within - no matter what the job, age or title - it seems crucial to talk about what will and won't work when you invest in staff training with the intent to actually create support, a positive impact and long lasting results. 

With over 2 decades in corporate and health and wellbeing/mindset,- as an employee, then someone who is designs and runs global leadership and performance programs -I have seen first hand the importance of a few basic pillars to actually get it right.

Reviewing and refining on what works and how to deliver with impact and excellence matters. This means agility is so crucial and how an organisation sets themselves up with you for success when programs are deployed is equally crucial. 

Here are 5 reasons why a corporate culture and engagement program WON'T WORK and 5 very important pillars that need to be in place for them to actually succeed.

1. No Executive or leadership buy-in and actions by example:

- If you want change then an element of 'choice' to show up from leadership actually needs to be removed..sounds harsh but once the agreed mandate of positive behaviours and actions have been benchmarked, buy-in and actions from managers are part of leading by example.

 - There will always be some on board and others that will 'wait and see' or can't be bothered in other cases. The fact is - once a company or division head declares that this positive people and performance culture change is king - then most of the change needs to start and actually be displayed from the top down. 

If you are running this program - observe who steps up around you. Ultimately a positive more productive and happier workforce is an asset not a liability. So if leadership isn't engaged in creating that evolution it begs the question of why wouldn't you want that? 

2. Complicated information and adding of extra platforms and processes not really required:

- Asking staff for feedback then providing more information than necessary, not relevant info or adding extra work, platforms and complicated program resources means already overloaded staff. Most programs run off their designed modules and roll out 'as planned' rather than as required.

Make sure you are not deploying a program, content and training that is too much too fast and rushes your staff through a 'system' without time for each step to actually cement.

3. Under utilising current resources, communication platforms and shared central communication tools:

- My biggest advice is what have you already got in place we can amplify - not recreate. Many organisations deploy training and programs that add on rather than compliment. Especially when it comes to time management, health and wellbeing, mental health etc.

- One of the key ways programs fail is if they do not utilise, remind and refer to the assets, training, resources and assistance already in play. 

4. Lack of follow through:

- Binge starts and removal of the small investment for momentum. Don't kick off a program then not keep the fire burning with a facilitation and momentum plan. Change does not occur overnight and in most cases you need to have the core elements, communications and benchmarks in flow for at least 6 months before things start to take real impact and demonstrate the shifts you want to see. 

Choose a budget you can do for momentum with your program provider and stop creating BINGE moments where it's highly inspirational and then there is no way for people to apply and learn in the required time it takes to cement new habits. 

5. Lack of consistency and visibility - fancy up front and lacking foundation beneath the surface:

- This is my biggest concern when we roll out programs is it falls by the way side, yet the whole reason we start it - is to actually shift culture, performance and engagement as real priorities in any business.

- Weave your program into communications.

Don't start something and expect people to keep it top of mind and top on their personal development plan each week if you're not backing it up as a company. Limit grand gestures and go for consistency and visibility. 

What should you ensure: 

5 very important pillars that need to be in place for them to actually succeed.

1. Listen to the staff feedback and focus on the immediate core areas for focus and improvement - i.e keep it simple and build traction with what you can immediately deploy, provide and empower. Revert on this and set clear measurable benchmarks where everyone has a moment to review and then score as the program rolls out. 

2. Acknowledge the process and that change is not overnight - create a game plan with your course provider/facilitator and look for the short, mid and long term milestones. Keep it simple. It really works and means reports, surveys and goal setting are easy to access and can be agile. 

3. Commit to seeing the program through for at least 6 to 9 months - people need patterns not promises. Binge change isn't real.  Provide regular feedback and touch points, keep things top of mind.  You can't measure results from one kick off phase. Put plans in place and look at regularity over just the WOW factor. 

4. Champion the change - celebrate and reward those who adopt and apply

- Avoid trying to "convince and convert" those who don't show up, complain and avoid any effort.  Let the work speak for itself.

- Keep your focus on the program pillars at hand and take on board constructive comments yes,  but avoid being 'distracted' by those who actually don't want to do the work and are just complaining by default.

- Put your focus onto the champions of the change you want to see and those who are picking up the elements and applying them. Reward what you want to see rather than trouble shooting 'negative Nancy's' who are not actually putting any effort in themselves. 

5. Celebrate the wins and grins along the way when any of the positive benchmarks are met or displayed - no matter what their title inside the organisation. 

True culture requires a solid foundation and to build trust and amplification of the positive behaviours kit must run deeper than a few buzz words and motivation messages.

How we converse, how we collaborate and how we connect internally are actual KPIS that can be added to role profiles as they directly relate to engagement, culture, significance and a healthy workplace that balances people and profit.

What has this meant for me as an agent of change and positive performance and culture? 

Over the past 5 years especially and with over a decade designing, creating and delivering corporate programs on performance, leadership mojo, self belief, mindset and health & wellbeing I knew I wanted to do things differently.

  • That means a fully integrated bespoke approach for the organisations we work with. 
  • Simple and a slow build.
  • With regular checkpoints.
  • Highly experienced information feedback to identify roadblocks and 'impact influencers' and provide a toolkit for the leaders who champion the change to see through the diversion tactics of those who don't want the change and feel threatened when it actually starts to occur.
  • One to one support for any level of employee who wants to reach out
  • Agile online modules and programs that can be tailored and top and tailed with messaging and benchmark surveys
  • Sticking to the basics - one solid pillar at a time
  • Be agile, regular reviews enable adjustments as required to keep on task 

In today's society people are conditioned to complain or not to trust. We can turn this around and we do - as organisations who want longevity, sustainable success and happy productive employees we have a responsibility to slow things down a bit and really make sure those you provide training to and for are engaged and show up.

It takes two to tango. 

As an employee if you are reading this - my advice is to reach out with both hands and grab any opportunity you can with your company who are providing you the tips and tools to succeed at work and at home. As a leader remember you lead the way. 

I can personally say all the programs I run integrate health, wealth and mindset - they encourage and empower winning weeks© and a balanced work/life blend, self leadership and a chance to focus on YOU as part of the bigger picture. Mastering your own mojo ensures you succeed in and out of the workplace. If you want the help and it's suddenly provided - ask yourself - am I willing to lean in?

Don't be too quick to judge and project but actually see the value in what is being presented to you.

Corporate training is global - but to me it's personal. Companies are our new community and not one size fits all.  As per Top Gun - it's not the plane it's the pilot. How are you showing up and are you following through with conviction, consistency and clarity each step of the way.

Please reach out if you would like to know more about creating corporate programs that work, how to get the best ROI and maximise your investment in critical ways that really make a difference.

Yours in mojo for we are all leaders in life, 


For more information on tailored coaching and corporate mojo, radical self belief and leadership training and retreats contact us.





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