Sarah McVanel helps leaders leverage the exponential power of recognition to retain top talent and sustain healthy bottom lines. She speaks nationally on the topic, leads workshops, coaches leaders, and conducts organizational recognition program reviews.
Sarah is a Certified Senior Organizational Development Professional (CSODP), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL), and the 2019 President of the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS).
Sarah has over 17 years experience including at a senior leadership level and now owns boutique firm Greatness Magnified. She is an author of peer-reviewed journals, industry articles, a membership portal “The FROG Portal: Strategies and Tools to Retain Your Best Staff and Clients”, and three books: “Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness: Solution Focused Strategies for Satisfied Staff, High Performing Teams and Healthy Bottom Lines” (2015), “The FROG Effect: Tools and Strategies to Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness” (2016), and “#GreatnessBizHacks: 100+ Tips to Grow a Profitable Service-Based Business You Love!”.
Additional Helpful Resources:
- Sarah’s Speaker demos here
- List of testimonials here
- Resources available for participants at no charge here
- Examples of products Sarah can send to you sample here
What does organizational culture mean to you?
Organizational culture is, “the way things are around here,” that endures over time. This is in contrast to an organizational climate which is the current state. Culture is made up of many long-standing dimensions – traditions, norms, processes, leadership approach, etc. – that may not even be noticeable to those deeply immersed in the culture. It impacts everything the organization does operationally – from how it interacts with clients and employees to what policies get reinforced to how issues are emerging and handled – as well as strategically – impacting the mission, vision and values, business development and corporate strategies (communication, people, etc.)
What are the major determinants of organizational culture?
Organizational culture is sometimes spoken of in broad terms but ultimately people create and reinforce the culture. The business owners, shareholders, and executives have a big role given their decision-making power, however, culture can also evolve, “bottom-up,” from employees and middle management. Ultimately, those who have the most influence and what they most value (profits, growth, people, customer relationships) impacts everything the organization stands for and how it conducts its day-to-day business. For example, if delighting customers is a key value, frontline employees may have high decision-making power to make any customer complaint right on the spot, even if it costs money. This is why companies in the same industry can be experienced very differently by the leaders, employees, customers, and suppliers despite the fact that, essentially they offer the same service.
What is the role of employees in organizational culture?
One of the most powerful ways employees influence culture is by, “voting with their feet,” as it impacts the bottom line of the organization. If employees go off on sick leave, stress leave, or quit, this is a big financial cost to the organization (e.g., it costs on average three times an employee’s salary to recruit, orient and retrain a replacement), to speak nothing of the impact on safety, customer relations, loss of institutional knowledge, and so forth.
What are the common problems associated with managing organizational culture?
Lack of innovation and responsiveness is a natural consequence of culture given its deep roots whereas it`s much easier to impact the climate (which may eventually shift the culture). For example, in an organization where individuals feel undervalued and unappreciated, are not able to do their best work, and not encouraged to operate from their strengths, the organization may fail to improve and innovate, which can have business consequences as well as human resources as people may regress to on the job retired or outright quit for somewhere where their talent is utilized and recognized.
What are the ways to innovate company culture? Any best practices to share.
High recognition cultures are linked to statistically higher rates of innovation and continuous improvement. It starts with listening to employees and leaders for ways to improve and evolve, supporting an environment where trialing new things is embraced (versus blame if it doesn’t work right away) and celebrating unique contributions of individuals, team milestones, and project or product innovations. The more individuals feel valued and acknowledged for their unique strengths, gifts, talents, and experience, the more likely they will offer their best ideas, search for efficiencies and work to improve the end product or customer experience. Organizations that embrace this (as part of their culture) are more likely to retain top talent, delight customers, stand out as a category of one in their industry, and have healthier bottom lines.