November 4, 2021 – In the wake of COVID-19, broad and lasting changes to the workplace have advanced a more integrated approach to talent management built around culture. Organizations that once synchronized their talent to corporate vision, core values and strategic objectives are now aligning people around purpose. And for good reason: Building sustainable cultures in the long run will attract, engage, and retain talent – and give organizations with strong cultures a key competitive edge. To examine how companies are leveraging culture, Hunt Scanlon Media is convening 500 corporate culture leaders, business transformation experts, DE&I leaders, chief talent officers, heads of HR and executive recruiters at The Plaza Hotel of New York on March 16, 2022 to explore the link between culture, value and growth.
Carolyn Taylor, founder and executive chair at Walking the Talk, a pioneer in the field, will open the conference making the business case for culture, and how it can unlock performance improvement. She has been involved in over 200 culture change journeys as an advisor to senior executives and culture transformation leaders. Her firm’s methodology has created powerful corporate culture transformations that have left organizations with lasting leadership and culture management capabilities. Ms. Taylor will share her knowledge on how to structure culture change initiatives in ways that produce results faster. More importantly, she will reveal how executives can overcome concerns that culture is too intangible to merit the investment it requires.
Walking the Talk was recently acquired by ZRG. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the firm specializes in enhancing performance results by aligning culture with strategy. Since the company was established 11 years ago, culture has landed firmly on the agenda of most executive teams and boards of directors. As pioneers in this field, understanding the impact culture has on growth, performance and reputation, Walking the Talk has grown to become one of the largest consulting firms solely focused on the culture agenda. The firm operates globally and has supported clients on dozens of engagements, which can last anywhere from a few months to a few years.
“We see tremendous opportunity to continue to expand our service offerings globally as part of ZRG,” said Ms. Taylor at the time of the acquisition of her firm several months ago. “We intend to use our expertise in the field of culture, behavior, and mindset to enhance ZRG’s ability to select the best candidates for clients and evaluating their contribution to the client’s culture goals. Now, as a key component of the ZRG team we will be in a better position to meet emerging client needs,” she said. “It will be exciting to see our advisory work extend into hiring, in a measured way. With ZRG’s data-driven tool kit we are confident that we can keep making an impact for our clients, while broadening the scope of how that impact translates to business performance.”
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“It used to be that organizations synchronized their leadership to corporate vision, mission, core values, and strategic objectives,” said Scott A. Scanlon, CEO of Greenwich, Conn-based Hunt Scanlon Ventures, which facilitated the transaction between ZRG and Walking the Talk in July. “But in the wake of COVID-19, permanent, systemic changes to the workplace have forced a more holistic approach built around culture. This acquisition is a big bet on the coming realignment.”
Transforming Company Culture
Transforming company culture to enable business growth is emerging as a top priority for companies. Sue Lam, global head of people insights, strategy, and culture at the Coca-Cola Co., has been leading her company’s efforts on a culture change journey. It is one of the most important global transformations the company has considered in its 135-year history. The transition will allow Coca-Cola to emerge stronger after massive organizational change – but according to Dr. Lam it requires a significant culture change that focuses on psychological safety, collaboration, digital literacy, a growth mindset, and results orientation.
At the conference, Dr. Lam will offer a case study of sorts, revealing how the organization is adapting and transforming its culture to prioritize the right business challenges and work collaboratively across regions to scale great solutions. She will show how Coca-Cola is leveraging data and evidence from its analytics projects to change and build its people strategy to help guide its culture change journey.
“We are leveraging perception and behavior data to better understand areas of strength and opportunities for improvement,” said Dr. Lam. “With an increasingly complicated, ever-changing business environment, employees will look to their company purpose and culture to guide their work.”
“Hybrid is here to stay, which means our work will continue to permeate our lives,” Dr. Lam said. “Employees will want to align their personal values to the company values and culture. Some of our analyses shed light on blind spots for us to address and we’re partnering with our HR colleagues to make updates to policies and procedures based on the outcomes.”
Central to understanding and improving culture, of course, is examining the impact of diversity, equity and inclusion. “Oftentimes, companies put a premium on articulating the value of what they do and/or offer to their customers,” said Cynara Charles-Pierre, senior vice president for culture and communications at The New York Times. “However, many of those same companies don’t recognize the value and importance of what it feels like to work for them, and how that can differ depending on your identity.”
Hunt Scanlon Media today announces that Karen S. Lynch, President and CEO of CVS Health, has been named the 2022 recipient of Hunt Scanlon’s ‘Excellence in Culture’ Award. The award honors companies that have developed a creative and collaborative workplace culture that enhances performance and champions diversity. “Forward-thinking leaders understand that culture is a company’s greatest asset and drives value, growth and performance,” remarked Christopher W. Hunt, President of Greenwich, Conn-based Hunt Scanlon Media.
In selecting Ms. Lynch, Mr. Hunt said that CVS Health has developed a reputation of leading with purpose and building a culture of more than 300,000 employees who personify that purpose every day. “CVS Health is the embodiment of culture in action,” he added. “Great culture starts at the top and, thanks to Karen’s leadership, CVS Health employees are passionate about bringing the company’s purpose to life,” said Mr. Hunt.
Organizations, she said, use the term culture often, but confuse values and mission for culture. “Reading a manifesto is not the same as feeling a lived and authentic sense of purpose. That’s where the real magic lies . . . in your employees feeling like what you stand for is also what you live by and how you operate,” she noted. Ms. Charles-Pierre will join a panel of culture specialists, including KeyAnna Schmiedl, global head of DE&I and culture and values at Wayfair; Stuart Kaplan, director of culture transformation at Google Cloud; Christopher Yates, chief talent officer at the Ford Motor Company; and Donna Hicks-Mitchell, vice president for employee engagement and culture, global diversity and inclusion at Citi. Val Lopez, a partner with Hanold Associates HR & Diversity Executive Search and Advisory. will serve as the panel host and lead a discussion on how DE&I is impacting corporate culture.
Register today Linking Culture to Value and Growth Conference New York 2022
“More times than not, organizations mistakenly put all their focus on the ‘diversity’ part of diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I), solely focusing on recruitment and numbers,” said Ms. Lopez. “Building a more diverse workforce is critical, but it’s even more critical to, in parallel, focus on cultivating an inclusive culture where individual needs are met and embraced resulting in employees doing their best work.”
Related: How to Create a Culture of Retention
The Rise of The Chief Culture Officer
It is no coincidence that the chief culture officer role is growing in importance as more organizations place culture at the center of their talent management programs. Nancy Harrington Jones, chief culture and conduct officer for the Americas at Societe Generale, will examine why the chief culture officer role is now a central C-suite position, often reporting directly to the CEO. She will outline how she works closely with senior leaders to build an environment where all stakeholders are valued, and employees can find purpose and build meaningful, long-term careers.
Related: Why Your Culture Is Your Brand
As companies navigate the many ongoing changes to work and office life, leaders are honing their culture-shaping efforts in unique ways to help their organizations thrive in a very different world. Rose Gailey, managing partner at Heidrick & Struggles, a culture specialist well-known in the field, knows full well how organizations can build on their purpose and values to align strategy and culture for enduring impact and success. With over 20 years of experience as a hybrid work and organizational culture expert, Ms. Gailey will offer insights into what companies with thriving cultures do differently and how leaders can navigate through the constantly changing work environment, while strengthening their corporate culture to accelerate impact and enhance the overall health and competitiveness of their companies.
Building New Cultures
Of course, executive search consultants know better than anyone that the success of any recruitment strategy starts with a deep understanding of a client company’s culture, and how people fit in and represent it.
“Today, more than ever organizations must recognize that to attract and retain talent, people are looking for three major things,” said Louis Montgomery, a partner and human resources and diversity officers practice leader at JM Search. “Meaning – they want to feel that what they do is valued and connects to something larger than themselves. Flexibility – the pandemic has proven that many people can be effective and productive while working remotely; organizations that provide flexibility in when, where and how work gets done are emerging as winners in the war for talent. Culture – people want a work culture that values them for who they are and for the unique contributions they can make.”
Mr. Montgomery will moderate a panel of prominent recruiting leaders to discuss how they are helping their clients’ strategic hiring plans advance their corporate cultures. Among the participants: Steve Potter, U.S. CEO at Odgers Berndtson; Andrew Towne, CEO and founding partner at Hobbs & Towne; John Wallace, CEO of Caldwell; Sasha Jensen, CEO and founder of Jensen Partners; Aileen Alexander, vice chair at Diversified Search Group; and Mike Myatt, founder & board member at N2Growth.
Leveraging the Power of Culture, From the Top Down
Organizations around the world are rethinking how work and workforces are being designed and deployed. This includes new talent models that engage employees and create meaningful careers across an extended ecosystem. Yves Van Durme, a global organization transformation leader at Deloitte, has a unique global perspective on why organizations need to look at culture more holistically than they have in the past. At the conference, he will discuss how organizations can leverage culture to increase collaboration, innovation, compliance, and ultimately customer satisfaction.
Senior leadership clearly sets the tone for company culture. And no senior leader is more responsible for driving and implementing culture than its CEO, who understands that consistent words and actions, aligned with the corporate story and strategy, are consistently on display. CEOs who fully embrace culture are driven by a unique set of values centered on clear goals. Culture-minded CEOs, according to the experts, understand that fostering growth and opportunity and embracing diversity and inclusion create an organization that denotes the message that we are all this this together.
Karen S. Lynch, CEO of CVS Health, will close the conference discussing how great company culture starts at the top. In her keynote presentation, Ms. Lynch – the CEO of one of the largest U.S. companies – will discuss how she works tirelessly on building a purpose-driven organization through a culture that creates passion, excitement, and togetherness among its employee workforce of 300,000.
Ms. Lynch earlier this week was named the 2022 recipient of the Hunt Scanlon ‘Excellence in Culture’ award bestowed annually to a company that has developed a creative and collaborative workplace culture that enhances performance and champions diversity. “Forward-thinking leaders understand that culture is a company’s greatest asset and drives value, growth and performance,” remarked Christopher W. Hunt, president of Hunt Scanlon Media.
“CVS Health is the embodiment of culture in action,” he added. “Great culture starts from the top and permeates down. Thanks to Karen’s leadership, CVS Health employees are passionate about bringing the company’s purpose to life,” he said.
To attend the event, register here!
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media