Why Ford and F5 Established a Co-Creation Mindset to Drive Culture Change

Though 78% of highly successful culture transformations began top-down, it is imperative to have a strategy that enlists, aligns, and empowers leaders and key influencers at every level of the organization to build and sustain momentum. Several of the leaders interviewed by i4cp referred to this as co-creation and reiterated the importance of a change initiative not feeling like a top-down edict, but rather something that everyone had a say in developing.

One approach to this is crowdsourcing, says Kiersten Robinson, CHRO at Ford.

“We sent out an invitation to our employee base to be part of a culture ‘street team.’ Kind of foot soldiers, if you like, around implementing some of the culture strategies. I believe within 72 hours, we received more than 5,000 responses from employees who wanted to be on these teams.”

F5 Networks experienced a similar result by using its own network analysis to build a culture community around “Champions, Conduits & Carriers.”

“Champions are the folks who are the eyes, ears, and mouthpieces of our culture in the field,” said CHRO Ana White. “They help to convey messages and they provide feedback on things like the barriers to the cultural behaviors. They also help the company think about the key employee moments and experiences that need attention, as well as guide us on how to incorporate the behaviors into non-HR processes and systems.”

To identify these champions, F5 analyzed its recognition program data to help identify those who were looked upon highly by their co-workers as well those who were leading efforts across the organization, including those who had participated in the focus groups they conducted early on.

Says White:

“Culture conduits are those who have high interaction with employees and thus have an opportunity, due to the nature of their job, to convey the BeF5 behaviors. For example, they could be HR operations folks who help with onboarding employees, or the Help Desk in IT who help employees when they’re in a pinch. These individuals interact with a cross section of the employee base on a day-to-day basis and need to demonstrate these behaviors through their interactions. Carriers are the leaders of the organization; employees look to them for examples of acceptable and desirable behaviors at an organization.” F5 began with its executive staff and then expanded the group to include anyone in leadership. This is one reason why the company centered its last leadership offsite around BeF5.

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