Culture Change at HKS: Resilient and Responsive

This is an excerpt from our Constructive Culture blog post, "Change Agents and their Role in Transforming Culture," by Kalani Iwiula. Click here to read the full post.

Challenge

US Bank Stadium_HKSDallas, Texas-based architectural firm HKS Architects creates places that enhance the human experience, like the US Bank Stadium, home of the 2018 Super Bowl. After collecting employee satisfaction data for 10 consecutive years, leadership sought to better understand the currentculture and the roadblocks that were inhibiting employees from taking the most successful actions.

Solution

A culture survey was initiated firm-wide using the Organizational Culture Inventory® (OCI®) from Human Synergistics.1 Well-coordinated company-wide discussions, covering 20 offices across the globe, were conducted to review cultural attributes and the climates and prevailing behaviors of the various offices. Office leadership engaged staff in goal setting and planning. A new performance development system, ELEVATE, was implemented; not linked to compensation, the system involves managers meeting with team members three times each year. Change agent Cheryl Kitchner led ongoing discussions to facilitate participation and learning; vocal support from senior leadership is visible.

Outcomes

HKS reassessed its culture in 2016 using the OCI and added an assessment of the work climate with the complementary Organizational Effectiveness Inventory®(OEI).2 The retest, showing an impressive increase in survey participation, confirmed remarkable reductions in Passive/Defensive and Aggressive/Defensive styles and vital improvements along the Constructive styles. Key changes included stronger commitment to and focus on personal and professional development.

A second phase of improvement is ongoing and includes:

  • Definition of a clear “FROM-TO” shift to consistently support the company-wide strategic priority, “Responsible Design.”
  • Implementation of a creative and engaging leadership development program, Root Compass. “Responsible Leadership Workshop” was customized based on culture assessment results and launched for use with all managers. Goal: 100 people trained by end of 2018.
  • Enhancement of the ELEVATE platform is further enhanced to include peer reviews for project teams and benchmarking by role.
  • Roll-out of personal assessments to identify individual styles and strengths. Goal: 600 people trained by end of 2018.

Summary PDF

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