This is a photo of a metal bar for a steel wire fence on a bridge above train tracks. On the bar the word 'Influence' is written.

As the face of your organization, employees, customers, volunteers, and Board members are your organizational culture influencers. Training these key stakeholders to reflect the culture accurately and positively can lead to the success of your mission.

Identify critical stakeholders

Before you create a training plan, identify the stakeholders whose support you need to successfully enact culture change. Define personas for the groups and determine how delivery of training activities will be customized for each one. Learn more about audience analysis—and the process of instructional design—here. If you don’t have an internal learning function, hire a trainer or facilitator to manage your culture training journey.

Create culture content

Culture adoption starts at the top, so use a “leaders as teachers” approach to training. Enlist the help of your organization’s leaders to choose the content and then teach it to your key stakeholder groups. We at Brighter Strategies recommend your culture training content cover the following themes:

  • State the problem and set the context: Why did you decide to prioritize and improve organizational culture?
  • Explain where you are: What key themes emerged when you uncovered your organization’s culture DNA? [Link to prior blog article.] Include a summary of data from surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
  • Describe where you want to go: What are the objectives of your organization’s culture change process?
  • Outline how you would like stakeholders to be involved: Show training participants what you expect them to know, believe, and do because of culture training.

Choose materials and methods

Learning takes place everywhere in your organization. Effective training will include a blended approach, with formal and informal delivery modalities and resources available for stakeholders to refer to anytime and anywhere. Below are some examples of methods and materials for training your stakeholders to be organizational culture influencers.

  • Culture workshops. These formal training sessions can be scaled in duration and intensity, from a half-day to a three-day offering. Employees are the best stakeholder group for this time-intensive method, which can take place during work hours.
  • Self-paced online learning. Using a digital platform, post articles, visuals, video, and audio to convey your culture information. Delivery options range from a private Facebook page to a sophisticated learning management system (LMS) depending on your organization’s capabilities.
  • Performance support. Create job aids and tools that can serve as ongoing references for stakeholders, even months after training is completed. Store these support materials in a shared online or physical location and send ongoing reminders that they are available.
  • Ensure your culture priorities are seen, too. Hang objects and other physical signs in your workplace and community with phrases and images that reinforce your culture training.

Don’t stop communicating

Communication is the most important step in successfully training culture influencers. You create transparency in your organization by sharing information freely.

It is impossible to overcommunicate when it comes to culture. Use a variety of channels such as email, newsletters, social media, and direct mail to continuously reach stakeholders. Culture is always a work in progress, so keep talking about it.

Your culture is your organization’s personality, and your people are the number one reflection of that personality. Training key stakeholders to positively represent your organization is one of the most important parts of culture change.