How to Help People Managers Lead Culture Change

In a previous article regarding the importance of people managers, we looked at why people managers are so critical to culture change. Yet according to a recent survey from research firm Gartner, 68 per cent of people managers globally are overwhelmed. With the seemingly endless pressures on their time and energy, how can you make it quicker and easier for them to engage in, and drive, culture change? 

Make Learning Light Touch

Understand and respect that your people managers are always short on time. Ensure that any learning and development interventions on culture balance having enough information to make a real impact, while being able to be incorporated into a managers’ day-to-day work. You can do this by offering self-directed learning, so people can do it at their own pace, and breaking down courses or content so they are bitesize and therefore more easily digestible, and potentially even fun. This makes it more likely that your managers will consume the content, and do what you want them to as a result.

Vary the Format

Have a blended approach for the different types of learning outcomes you’re looking to achieve. For example, online is great for delivering knowledge, information, case studies, etc. But offline, facilitated live learning and coaching offers the possibility to ask questions, share experiences, learn from each other, and have conversations about what the culture change means for the team and the manager. What do we need to differently? How are we going to do this? This type of interactive, experiential, smaller, team-based learning allows for deeper reflection and helps to embed the digital material.

Build a Community

In any culture change, we always look to create a group of champions who can influence the culture change and nudge it forward. Typically, many of these are people managers and this helps them to be able to relate to each other, as they face the same challenges. Having a community like this accelerates the change because people managers can learn from peers, share stories of success and failure, signpost to support resources, and hold each other accountable.

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