Nancy Nazer, Senior Vice President of Organization Development at Rogers Communications, examined culture and its impact on an organization and its leadership during a keynote presentation to Argyle’s CHRO membership at the 2017 Human Capital Leadership Forum in Toronto on October 17. In her presentation, “Driving Cultural Change Through Leadership,” Nazer offered recommendations to help human resources professionals build a high-performing culture within their respective organizations.
According to Nazer, an organization’s ability to build a high-performing culture can have far-flung effects on its workforce. If an organization can foster a culture of collaboration and engagement, it may be able to differentiate itself to employees and attract top talent consistently. Conversely, an organization that struggles to define its culture risks falling behind rivals in a highly competitive global marketplace.
At Rogers, the organization examined its history to determine what made it successful in the past, Nazer said. This approach helped Rogers define its culture and evaluate what needed to change to ensure the organization could stand out among telecommunications and media companies.
“When you think about culture, you have to think about your legacy,” Nazer indicated. “You have to think about what part of your legacy that you don’t want to change.”
The Rogers team frequently explored ways to provide its customers with the best support, at all times, Nazer pointed out. Furthermore, Rogers wanted to drive ongoing innovation to discover new ways to assist its clientele.
“We always need to strive to be better,” Nazer said. “What is important for us … is ensuring that we have the right services and the right content for our customers. The focus on our customer is a key drive for us.”
Although Rogers had been a leading Canadian telecommunications and media company for many years, the business found its earnings growth plateaued over time. As such, Rogers began to explore ways to revamp its culture to further differentiate itself from the competition.
“You need to ensure that your values are embedded in everything that you do, every single day.”
However, Rogers executives initially lacked the necessary cultural insights to transform the company’s day-to-day operations.
“We wanted to focus specifically on culture. Culture was a word that we knew about, but most people did not understand the meaning of it,” Nazer said. “We were still performing, but we needed to make a change before it was too late.”
To revamp its culture, Rogers executives examined the company’s successes from an HR perspective. These executives wanted to find out what the company was doing correctly and develop values based on associated concepts and ideas.
Ultimately, Rogers executives found that its team members were pivotal to its success. Without the right talent in place, Rogers would struggle to accomplish its goals.
“You can’t just perform in the business without your people, because your people are the true differentiator,” Nazer pointed out. “At the end of the day, [your differentiator] is not the marketing plan, communications plan or the HR plan, it’s the people that put those plans together.”
Rogers executives evaluated ways to connect with the company’s employees and provide them with the support that they needed. By doing so, Rogers could develop a high-performing workforce that encouraged employees to engage with one another and work together to achieve common goals.
“We wanted our leaders to own [our culture] and have stories to share about it.”
Also, Rogers executives looked externally to find ways to improve the company’s culture. This enabled Rogers executives to look beyond the company’s own operations to discover unique ways to engage with employees.
“We wanted to show our employees and our board that we were serious about culture and would invest in people and areas that would move the dial forward,” Nazer stated. “We wanted to look at our own organization as well as pay attention to other organizations and find out what they were doing right with culture.”
With the right approach to culture, an organization can develop values that incorporate an organization’s culture into all aspects of its everyday operations. These values will shape the way that an organization performs and help employees understand their roles within an organization.
“You need to ensure that your values are embedded in everything that you do, every single day,” Nazer indicated. “[Your culture] has to take on a life of its own.”
In addition, an organization must implement a culture from the top-down. If an organization’s leaders embrace a culture and its associated values, they can set a positive example for a workforce and drive accountability among employees.
“We wanted our leaders to own [our culture] and have stories to share about it,” Nazer said. “We wanted our leaders to take our culture to a level of accountability and use it to reshape behaviors.”
Nancy Nazer joined Rogers in July 2014 as Senior Vice President, OrganizationDevelopment. She brings over 20 years of experience in the areas of organizational and leadership development in large organizations, across multiple industries. In her role, Nancy leads over 200 learning professionals all focused on drivingorganizational performance through proven talent and development strategies.
Prior to joining Rogers, Nancy spent seven years at TD Bank leading in a numberof executive HR roles in the areas of Organization Development. While there, she played an instrumental role in driving a winning people and talent agenda todifferentiate TD as one of Canada’s Top Employers and Inclusive workplaces. Nancy also spent nearly a decade at Bell Canada where she implemented severalaward-winning programs that focused on growing talent.
Nancy’s work has been recognized by the Conference Board of Canada, Corporate Leadership Council and the Brandon Hall Learning Awards. She is frequently published and quoted in trade publications such as HRPAO and Corporate Leadership Council.
She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and is married with two children.