Workplace for HR: A new framework for cultural change

by Sameer Chowdhri

Culture change is top of the agenda for many CEOs. Workplace is where culture happens. Workplace for HR is how it happens. Start your cultural transformation journey with our new HR framework.

Type 'cultural transformation' into a search engine and you'll get 141 million results. That's more results than you get for Tom Brady. It's not just that the idea of cultural transformation is a cliche. Pointing out that it's a cliche is a cliche.

But there's a reason for that popularity. Everybody knows that cultural transformation is a thing. What's less well known is how you do it or what it looks like. And so the question remains: how do you build, sustain, and nurture a strong organizational culture?

Enter the HR professional.

For a long time it was assumed that 'culture' was just an HR thing. But that perception is changing. While CHROs remain at the forefront of culture change and employee engagement, they've been joined by many other parts of the business – not least the CIO. That's because there's a much better appreciation of the role that technology plays in driving engagement and changing behavior. As Box CEO Aaron Levie (may have) said: “Show me your tech stack and I'll show you your culture.”

Culture is the totality of all the actions everybody in the organization takes each day. And when those actions happen on Workplace, we believe that profound changes are possible. Changes in behavior. Changes in systems. And changes in the bottom line.

Culture is the totality of all the actions everybody in the organization takes each day. And when those actions happen on Workplace, we believe that profound changes are possible.

In this three-part series, we'll be looking at how Workplace operates across the entire HR lifecycle from recruiting and onboarding to recognition and retention. And we'll show how Workplace is the engine of culture change, facilitating shared learning, building community, and bringing the world of work closer together.

The Changing Workforce

When you're talking about culture change it's important to keep one thing in mind. For sure, there are systems and processes that come into play. But it all starts with people. Culture leaders need to be listening to their needs and expectations.

As Vicki Huff-Eckert, global New Ventures lead for PwC recently said at a Workplace event: “Employees adopt technology. Employees move the market. If you aren’t leading with your employees, you won’t be able to get the changes adopted that you require.”

When we're thinking about the people that make up the workforce, we have to be thinking in particular about the younger generation. Why? Because by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be Millennials. And their behaviours and habits differ in key ways from older workers. Millennials are:

  • Hyper connected – they aspire to try a little bit of everything
  • Highly influenced by peers – for information and decisions
  • Open – they believe in transparent communication
  • Global – they want the ability to work from anywhere, and seek global opportunities and experiences
  • Socially conscious – they value equality, diversity, and inclusiveness
  • Individual – they're looking for career experiences and benefits designed around their life

Despite the differences between generations, however, it's still possible to design a universal framework to deliver great employee experiences. In fact, at Facebook, when we listened to what our own employees wanted three things came up consistently: Career, Cause, and Community.

“If you aren’t leading with your employees, you won’t be able to get the changes adopted that you require.”

- Vicki Huff-Eckert, PwC

Everybody wants to take pride in their career. Having a job provides autonomy, allows us to use our strengths, and promotes learning and development.

People need a purpose at work – they want to know they're contributing to a bigger cause that will impact something beyond the bottom line.

And they want to be part of a community. That means feeling cared about and recognized by others, which, in turn, drives a sense of connection and belonging.

Forget about employment contracts; these three elements make up the psychological contract we sign with our place of work. When that contract is fulfilled, people bring their whole selves to work.

Workplace for HR

So what does all this mean for you? Well, we've taken these learnings and turned them into the Workplace for HR Framework.

This framework is a way of thinking about the impact that Workplace can drive across the employee life cycle. And when you add up the impact from these pillars, or 'Servicelines' as we call them at Workplace, we believe the net result will be large-scale cultural change inside organizations.

Because we believe Workplace is where culture happens.


This isn't a linear journey. As in, not every pillar will be relevant to every single business.

High growth business are going to be naturally more focussed on recruiting and onboarding. While organizations with a more tenured employee base will want to consider growth and development along with recognition and performance management.

In the rest of this series we'll focus on the beginning and end of the employee value life cycle - recruitment/onboarding and recognition. We'll share some practical examples to help you get started with Workplace alongside some real-life customer stories.

Join our global Workplace for HR Customer Community today.

About the author: Sameer Chowdhri is the global lead for Workplace for HR. With 20 years of HR experience, he advises digital HR experts who use Workplace on cultural transformation and the future of work to help humanize the employee experience.

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