How Organizations Build an Intentional (vs. Accidental) Culture

Jessica Kriegel, EdD, Chief People and Culture Officer , Experience.comJessica Kriegel, EdD, Chief People and Culture Officer ,
The past two years of remote offices has changed how we work. Focus is on how to establish a culture in a virtual environment, but the truth is many organizations had an accidental culture well before the workplace transformed. There is a way to achieve an intentional culture regardless of a person’s physical workplace location that will result in more productive, happier employees that help improve a corporation’s return on investment (ROI).

Technology is the path to lead an organization to an intentional culture that complements its corporate strategy. Before implementing a plan to leverage technology to achieve that goal, however, management and HR need to understand what kind of culture currently exists. There are three hallmarks of an accidental culture:

1. Teams are not hitting their targets – When groups within an organization do not achieve established benchmarks (whether it is sales, timelines, or other metrics) it usually means the culture is not aligned with the strategy or action plan. The company, therefore, will not typically meet its overall goals.
2. Employees don’t perform to expectations – Management needs their respective employees to execute certain roles. If they don’t satisfy those responsibilities, then people are not understanding the culture properly. Solving this issue requires much more than conducting team-building exercises and giving quarterly employee reviews.
3. Unhappy Staff – Is employee morale low within your organization? Do you have a high attrition rate? If so, chances are your culture is not clear or is inconsistent.

Culture Beyond the Office

Another element that must be understood is that culture exists, whether people are together or not. Culture is not housed in the four walls of an office or corporate headquarters. It is the values, beliefs and behavior practiced by employees and driven by leaders. It’s important to understand that because remote workplaces are here to stay in some form. There are cost savings for organizations, while employees have a better work-life balance, making remote offices too valuable to eliminate.

A CEO may set the culture, but every rung of the corporate ladder has a piece in creating it. Leaders must recognize that their organization’s overall culture cascades from the corner office to upper management, mid-management, and employee teams. A series of subcultures are created that help feed the overall narrative shared throughout the company. Maintaining the overall message through all the subcultures is key to a successful organization.

Real-time Automated Technology Creates Culture

Companies need to leverage technology to create an intentional culture in this new world order. The key is to look beyond traditional approaches and expect more from your employee experience (EX) platform. The days of pulse/annual surveys are gone. By the time management receives the results, they are usually considered meaningless because it is dated data or dismissed because they perceive circumstances to be changed.

Automated EX platforms should gather data in real time to truly elevate employee experience, so no candidate or employee is left behind. When organizations purposefully create experiences for their employees, an intentional, high-performing culture that addresses all the considerations of today’s workplace environment is built.

Personalized, journey-based EX campaigns can be launched that humanize everyday excellence – empowering employees to share real-time, continuous feedback. A robust EX platform deploys preset employee feedback campaigns at the moments that matter on an employee journey, from attraction to exit. Feedback can be gathered on onboarding, learning and development, progress and performance, and other sentiments that impact culture – all segmented by the employee data in existing corporate HRIS.

Action can be taken immediately using this type of platform. Real-time reporting and escalations get information to the proper leaders tied to the correct initiatives so appropriate action can be taken quickly. For example, management can instantly identify at-risk employees, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of training efforts, career programs, and more.

Humanizing everyday moments allows companies to elevate culture and improve ROI by enhancing communication, engagement, and retention. Three other value propositions are achieved:

1. Active Listening – Employees are empowered through real-time continuous feedback. When they see action taken based on their input, they feel as though they have an active role in shaping the company.
2. Automates Improvements – Management can make key employee journey moments matter more.
3. Empower Leadership – Feedback is shared with respective managers and insights are surfaced across meaningful touchpoints.

It is important for an EX solution to be built on an open platform. It can seamlessly integrate with a company’s existing HRIS and CRM systems to manage employee data, along with pre-configured reports and analytics platforms. Surface insights across specific touchpoints can improve engagement, productivity, satisfaction, and decrease turnover and absenteeism.


Management needs to embrace technology to establish an intentional culture rather than accept an accidental culture. Technology can also transform culture from an ideological concept to a measurable, formulaic process that establishes a roadmap to the ultimate destination – an organization that meets its goals and retains employees.

Jessica Kriegel, EdD, is Chief People and Culture Officer at For 15+ years, Jessica has guided global, national, Fortune 100 and other organizations across the finance, technology, real estate, and healthcare industries on how to create intentional cultures that accelerate performance.She is author of “Unfairly Labeled: How your workplace can benefit from ditching generational stereotypes.”
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