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Is It Time to Hire a Director of Culture?

The job title “director of culture” is relatively new within the past five or so years. But we’re seeing more and more smaller to mid-size, entrepreneurial companies creating this role within their organizations.

Director of culture roles vary in responsibility. Some directors of culture may be solely focused on employee development and work process. At other companies, this role may be more external facing, either as a part of customer experience or brand development and design.

As we discussed in a recent post about growing a deliberately developmental organization, culture, or the process of how work gets done, is happening all the time. The key to culture is making sure your values are clear and in action. One aspect of this is operationalizing the way you communicate the values and how they relate to your goals. Another is designing leadership programs that explore how individual beliefs and values connect to action around the larger organizational values.

These two efforts will help you align your culture toward your desired outcomes.


Key questions to ask before hiring a director of culture

  • What does culture mean to you?
  • What are the vision, values, and mission of the organization? How do you want your company to impact the world?
  • Will this be an internal, external, or hybrid role?
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals for this role?
  • How will you measure the success of your culture?
  • What partnerships are needed within the organization for the culture to succeed?
  • What resources (talent, money, time, materials) are allocated to culture development?
  • Where and at what level will this person contribute within your organization (executive level, strategy, talent development, etc.)?

Maximizing the director of culture role once they are on board

Already have a director of culture? Or are you one yourself? Here are some additional questions to help you make the most of the role:

  • If you haven’t answered the questions above, no judgment. Now is just as good a time as any. If you have, it’s never a bad idea to revisit your perceptions.
  • How often do you incorporate feedback into your understanding of the organization’s short- and long-term pain points?
  • How do you celebrate and share wins?
  • Are there ways that the organization could maximize the director’s expertise in culture for other business or community results? An example: One of our clients primarily serves tech companies. Tech companies care a lot about culture. The director of culture at our client’s organization started participating in new business pitches because she had a lot to offer to the companies they were selling to.

Have a question for how to maximize a director of culture’s impact in your organization? The Creative Executive can help!

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