How to Make Your Culture Actionable

Marketing Works Culture CatalystAs the number of Millennials that join our B2B strategic communications company continue to increase, we’re learning more and more about this generation in the workplace. They want growth and opportunity and they want it in an instant. And money doesn’t matter as much as intangibles like personal growth and skill development. We recently lost an A player—not because of money, values or people—but because we couldn’t keep up with her need to grow.

At Marketing Works, culture drives the ship. It steers the way we build our team, communicate, identify ideal clients, brainstorm and develop strategy. And it’s manifested in our mission: To be a conduit of success for everyone we touch and four simple but very impactful core values: We get it. We do what it takes. We do the right thing. We care.

Our strong culture attracts all generations, especially Millennials. They not only embrace our culture; they hold us accountable to it. But it doesn’t necessarily keep them. To help with retention, we hired a coach, a young woman who embraces our culture, speaks their language and understands the goals for the organization. She is a different kind of coach—we call her a Culture Catalyst—who helps align each individual’s goals for growth with our culture and business goals while delivering metrics-based results around employee satisfaction, productivity, growth, retention and communication.

She meets with each team member bi-weekly and establishes a personal growth plan with them. She is available by phone and email as needed. Monthly, she surveys the entire team and reports to leadership with a dashboard of metrics for each goal along with useful insights, trends and recommendations. Semi-annually, she facilitates an all-team roundtable where conversation is open, honest and productive. Following the meeting, action items and responsibilities are assigned that help us continuously improve.

The Outcome

We have experienced results at all levels and across generations. We’ve seen month-over-month improvement in satisfaction, communication and relationships. We’ve gained valuable insights to what our team needs from leadership to remain loyal to the company. And we’ve used the data we’ve compiled to make strategic cultural shifts and implement appropriate tactical measures to meet the evolving needs of our employees.

Our Culture Catalyst pushes the team to take risks, helps them understand what goes on behind the scenes, provides a safe place for open and transparent communication, and encourages them to grow as a team by keeping each other accountable and asking challenging questions.

The most compelling proof for this initiative is that the staff ranks coaching as the #1 benefit they receive because it improves their skill sets, self-sufficiency and ability to achieve goals based on where they want to go and, ultimately, how they define success. The leadership team ranks it as the best investment we’ve made based on the culture dashboard and employee feedback.

One of our team members describes it as a “hybrid of professional business coaching from a work standpoint, but also life coaching from a personal standpoint.” She has learned how to take on a new perspective, both in her personal and professional life, so she can see how the two worlds connect and move toward a healthy blend of work-life integration.

5 Steps to Implement an Internal Coaching and Support Program

  1. Tee it up with a strong foundation. Success with a Culture Catalyst depends on first having defined your vision and values as well as goals, strategy and plan to get there. We used the Entrepreneur’s Operating System (EOS) as described in the book, Traction by Gino Wickman. This helps to inform your team about where you want to take them as a company, and what personal drive or passion (yours) is leading the charge toward achieving that vision.
  2. Whether it’s an external or internal resource, find someone you can trust—ideally a trained coach who can relate to Millennials and is business savvy. Our coach conducts meetings on Tuesdays, rotating the entire staff on a bi-weekly basis.
  3. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused and Time-driven) goals for the program. Tie each individual’s growth plan with the company’s goals. Then measure progress and report results as well as insights every month so that leadership can make informed decisions and changes.
  4. Respect confidentiality and allow team members to work out conflicts with each other, facilitated by the coach if necessary.
  5. The Culture Catalyst is not a substitute for your relationship with your team as their leader. Communicate one-to-one and as a group often, celebrating and encouraging milestones.

To request our Internal Coaching and Culture Support plan and dashboard, please contact Sandy Fekete at

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