Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness.
With rising societal demands and the launch of a new strategy, Shelter recognised a new way of working was needed if they were to accomplish their vision. In this company culture change example, we share how they did it.
The launch of Shelter’s strategy heralded a big vision – not just for the organisation, but nationwide as it looked to answer the country’s housing crisis.
Shelter’s strategy would be accomplished by fulfilling a suite of goals over a 3 and 10-year period that would only be achieved by leveraging the power and passion of its employees and volunteers – the people who work tirelessly to alleviate the destitution that they see day in and day out.
To do this, some fundamental changes had to happen in terms of how work was done, and how people worked together both in and outside of the organisation.
Shelter had already identified what they wanted their culture to be (their cultural aspiration). But they looked to Rubica to help make it a reality.
Our work began by making Shelter’s cultural aspiration more tangible. To do this, we co-created 5 outcomes and measures that would clearly indicate success and evidence when things were being done right (at every level of the organisation across the country).
We then worked with Shelter leaders and managers from across the UK to develop and initiate a framework (the Culture Canvas) that would help to achieve those outcomes. The Canvas outlined:
- The behaviours that were needed at a leadership, team, and individual level to achieve Shelter’s cultural aspiration.
- The mechanisms e.g. communication, processes etc. that would encourage and embed those behaviours.
The process pinpointed where desired behaviours already existed (cultural hotspots) and ways to further amplify them e.g.:
- Beacons – a group of 60 influential people who would act as role models for important behaviours and act as a catalyst for the change in culture.
- Hotspot sessions – dedicated meetings for major geographical hubs, that sought to align the Culture Canvas to these geographies and therefore encourage greater individual and team commitment.
It also addressed areas that could hinder progression of the Canvas e.g.:
- Decentralising decision-making and instead leveraging local expertise – ensuring decisions were made based on what was right for the local customer whilst remaining aligned to the organisation’s strategy.
- Empowering people to make decisions – equipping people with the tools, confidence and accountability to make decisions.
As we supported Shelter with these interventions, a series of pulse-surveys were conducted – designed to show progress and inform ‘what to do next’ – encouraging desired behaviours and minimising those that could hinder progress. This was accompanied with 1-2-1 coaching sessions for leaders at all levels of the organisation – ensuring they felt equipped and able to take Shelter’s strategy forward.
6-months on from the programme’s launch, organisation-wide recognition already exists for the behaviours and mind-sets that are needed to achieve Shelter’s strategic vision. What’s more, early survey results indicate a shift in behaviour at every level of the organisation:
- 92% of Hub Managers reported an increase in confidence about leading the changes associated to culture within their Hub – supporting the fulfilment of Shelter’s strategy.
- 91% of Hub Managers reported an increase in how they perceived their team’s support for Shelter’s new strategy.
- ↑ 6% people feel they have real influence on decision making and feel empowered to make decisions based on local needs – supporting the fulfilment of the cultural aspiration and the organisation’s strategy.
- ↑ 4% people feel the organisation takes effective action when the external environment changes – demonstrating a change in terms of how decisions are made.
Furthermore, there is a demonstratable change in mind-sets, with Hub Managers committing to support and challenge one another in upholding the behaviours and ways of working developed over the last 6-months – ultimately supporting Shelter to fulfil its objective: stopping suffering at the source and defending the right to a safe home.