Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard of Innovisor discusses how his team of organizational diagnostics specialists partnered with Lizzie Harbin of the Texas-based PCCA to support their journey to sustain their culture while growing organically and through acquisitions
In 1981, a network of American pharmacists founded PCCA (formerly Professional Compounding Centers of America). Today, PCCA has become the independent compounding pharmacist’s complete resource for everything from fine chemicals to business and pharmacy consulting. Its membership includes more than 4,000 independent community pharmacists across the globe.
Over the last 10 years, PCCA has expanded to become a company with more than 300 employees located across four countries – providing an interesting challenge in joining up all aspects of the organization under one corporate culture.
To help emphasize PCCA’s corporate culture, senior leaders created a Culture Team to lead the process to develop the core values and embed them into the daily lives of all employees across all locations. In early 2015, Innovisor was brought in to ensure that the culture program would be built upon a bottom-up, inclusive approach.
The power of informal networks and influencers
Over the last 10 years, the workplace has gone through a dramatic transformation. There’s been a five-fold increase of employees engaged in cross-collaboration, which is rarely reflected in formal organizational charts. This cross-collaboration generates what I’ve called ‘information networks’. Research shows that 90% of all decisions take place within these informal networks and that you need to engage 30% of employees quickly in order to achieve any sustainable change/transformation.
Our objective was to identify and understand these networks and leverage the few highly influential individuals within them to drive the corporate culture globally.
We launched a “Values & Culture Survey” based on an organizational diagnostics approach, which attracted feedback from an impressive 93.6% of employees.
The survey explored employees’ perception of PCCA’s values and culture and identified who their representatives should be in the process. This also provided an extensive understanding of the connectivity across the organization.
How the few right people connect you to the entire organization
Lizzie Harbin: “The survey helped us identify the people who were most trusted across the organization – people outside the formal leadership structure who are sought out for advice because their peers consider them to be both sympathetic and competent. We’ve called this group the “Voice of the People” – the critical 30% of employees who we knew we had to engage with for the corporate culture to be truly embedded”.
Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard adds: “In the case of PCCA, we identified that three percent of the employees (the red dots in the visualization below) gave access to 90 percent of the organization.”
Developing the Core Values
Following the survey, the Culture Team led by Lizzie Harbin invited the 50 leaders and employees identified as the “Voice of the People” to an interactive offsite workshop. Attendees were asked to provide feedback on the keywords that had come out of the survey to articulate the culture.
The workshop helped to consolidate the survey output into six statements, which aimed to define the core values of the company.
By involving the “Voice of the People” as well as key leaders, we were certain the core values were a true reflection of the culture as felt by employees every day. A dialogue with the “Voice of the People” provided instrumental feedback and ensured the Core Values were tailored in a way that could not have been achieved without doing so.
The Core Values were shared globally in September 2015, and the buy-in has been incredible. Employees actively participated in a naming contest for the new monthly culture-driven newsletter, as well as an art contest to graphically represent the culture logo and each of the values. Simultaneously, roles and responsibilities have been more clearly formulated in the leadership team, making culture development a priority.
To build on the momentum and ensure all of the great work done to this point is not lost, PCCA has now launched initiatives to develop the key infrastructure for sustaining the values in the long-term, including:
- Recruitment: Reviewing the process (including interview questions) to determine whether candidates align with the Core Values.
- Onboarding: Developing and implementing a structured two-day program for new hires that introduces them to the Core Values and surrounds them with the culture from day one.
- Health & Wellness: Creating processes and programs that reinforce the importance of health and wellness in building and maintaining a strong culture.
The cultural journey has also engaged the entire organization in articulating the culture as “Culture Ambassadors.” Doing this has significantly paid off in terms of motivation and buy-in – two key drivers of effective change management.
Lizzie Harbin of PCCA: “We have managed to establish key facts, allowing the Culture Team to validate the business case for a demonstrative culture, and to align the leadership team around the need for doing so.
The “Voice of the People” continues to demonstrate value to PCCA as they carry on sharing and promoting various culture initiatives throughout the company, as well as providing valuable feedback.”
Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard is the CEO of the global leader in organizational network diagnostics Innovisor and has working experience in 20 different countries on three continents. He holds a master of business administration degree from Henley Business School in the UK and a certificate in the strategic decision and risk management from Stanford School of Professional Development in the US.
Lizzie Harbin is the Chief Culture Office of PCCA. She has been a prominent presence in the compounding world for the past 15 years, and a member of the PCCA team for nine years. She is a graduate of Tulane University with a BA in communication.