With this HR employee journey & culture strategy guide, you will learn the fundamentals of organizational strategy. Developed by Joe Newsum, a McKinsey alum the guide includes best practices, frameworks, and examples, and a complete 186-page HR & Org Strategy PowerPoint Presentation Template. The fully editable and professionally designed deck will give you a jump start on your HR employee journey and culture strategy.


1. It All Starts with Values

The values of an organization serve as the foundation of a strong employee journey and culture.

3. Measure the Journey & Culture

It's hard to improve what you don't measure, and most companies don't have strong metrics and business intelligence around their employee journey and culture.

2. The Team Members Know What They Want

Team members are the best source of inspiration and ideas on how to improve their employee journey and culture.

3. It's About the Big & Little Stuff

While getting the big stuff right (e.g., values, onboarding, evaluation), it is often the little stuff that sets a company apart (e.g., norms, recognition, mentoring).


Culture is not some fuzzy, intangible organizational concept. Culture is grounded in an organization's values, reflected by the norms, behaviors, and language of team members, nurtured by the environment team members work in, and reinforced by the organization's compensation and benefits. If you want to improve an organization's culture, then improve the values, norms, language, environment, compensation, and benefits.

Furthermore, an organization's culture should be reflected, celebrated, and reinforced throughout the employee journey. If you get the culture and employee journey right, you set the foundation for happy, fulfilled, and productive team members.

Org Strategy Framework


Does your company have a value statement? Can all the team members recite it from memory? Is it reflected in the norms, behavior, language, environment, benefits, and compensation? If it isn't then the values are probably doing more harm than good to the culture.

Culture can make or break a company, so get the four building blocks of culture right. Any culture strategy starts with the leadership asking some tough questions about values, norms & language, the environment, benefits, and compensation.

Creating a Strong Culture

Culture Strategy on One Page

The output of a culture strategy is a value statement, metrics/goals, and initiatives around norms & language, environment, and benefits & compensation. The metrics of a culture strategy typically come from employee surveys or feedback, with the goals set a stake on where the organization wants those metrics to be over the next year. The initiatives to help achieve those goals can emerge from employees and best practices.

Culture Template

Read about the role and competencies of a
Strategic Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)

How Does Google (#1 Place to Work) Do Culture

Google takes culture seriously. They have a People Analytics team to measure the impact of different cultural and employee journey practices.  They may have a few too many values (below), but they are insightful, and catchy and serve as a strong foundation for Google's culture.

Google has five stated norms of psychological safety, dependability, structure & clarity, the meaning of work, and impact of work. Their norms reinforce their values.

Google spends significant resources and research on creating productive and collaborative environments. Google needs top talent, and its benefits and compensation ensure that it can attract and retain that top talent.

The main point about Google is the purposefulness of the leadership in crafting and nurturing Google's culture.

Google Culture Examples


As Roy Disney, the older brother of Walt Disney said, “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” 

What are the values that will help team members, individually and collectively, achieve the mission of the organization?

Frankly, most company value statements are generic, forgettable, and not utilized as the cultural foundation. If this is your company, start over, and spend some serious time brainstorming and engaging team members on what the soul and core values of the company are.

Once you figure out the core values, make them pithy, and rememberable, and then celebrate them, internally market them, weave them into the organizational language, refer to them, utilize them in decision-making, and embed them within the various strategies across the business model. Below is the values idea map, which may give you some ideas on potential values.

Different Values Examples

An Example of a Cool Value Statement

For a software company, we worked with the management team and employees to create core values that were authentic and important to team members. 

Company Values Example

Embedding Values into the employee journey

To have employees "live the values" embed them into the culture, employee journey, and other strategies. Below is an example of how you can embed two values, in this case, problem solving and entrepreneurship, into every element of the employee journey.
Values within a company examples


Norms are the widely accepted individual and interpersonal behaviors in an organization, which should reflect the values. While values are the foundation of a culture, norms are the embodiment and manifestation of them within the culture.

A new employee views and feels a culture through the norms of how team members treat themselves and each other. The adage "lead by example" is crucial to the norms of an organization. People learn through mimicry, and leaders need to live the values and reinforce the norms of an organization.

Norms permeate through all interactions, including conversations, meetings, emails, communications, Slack, events, projects, and personal and external interactions.

Company Norms

Amazon's Meeting Norms

Early on in Amazon's history, Jeff Bezos instilled very thoughtful norms around meetings. Valuing problem solving and productivity, Jeff enacted five norms for meetings. The details are in the graphic.

Imagine being a new Amazon employee attending your first meeting. You would probably be a bit shocked, but also appreciative of the purposefulness of the norms and ritual.

The point is, norms are where culture and reality collide. The more purposeful an organization is at defining and reinforcing the norms, the stronger the culture will become.

Amazon Meeting Best Practices


We often overlook the environment as a strategic driver of culture, values, and organizational performance. As a society, we spend so much time, attention, and money on the interior design of our homes. It is the complete opposite for workspaces, where millions spend 40+ hours a week.

Small strategic investments in workspaces can pay large dividends. Think about simple ideas, like putting up posters of the organizational values, employees living those values, recent successes, customer logos, and other messages you want to reinforce. You can name conference rooms after clients or the core values. Or, you can make meaningful investments to transform workspaces to be collaborative, supportive, and engaging spaces of productivity, like Google does (examples below).

The takeaway is to be purposeful in workspace design and decor. Understand what values or cultural elements you want the environment to support, and then build them into the environment.

Company Environment Examples


Culture is about behaviors. You can utilize compensation and benefits to incentivize behaviors and reinforce the mission and values of the organization. Architecting an organization's compensation and benefits strategy takes a blend of analytics, benchmarking, budgeting, feedback, and creativity.  There are many more options to comp and benefits (examples below) than one might initially think.
Compensation Categories


Much like the customer journey is a core component of corporate strategy, the employee journey is a core component of HR strategy. At a high level, the employee journey includes recruiting, hiring, onboarding, development, evaluation, and advancement. Companies with strong employee journeys help elevate and realize the potential of their team members and utilize the employee journey to reinforce their culture.

To develop a strong employee journey strategy engage team members in diagnosing issues, coming up with goals, ideas initiatives, and executing the initiatives. An employee journey strategy comes down to answering four fundamental questions, which are below.

Improving the Employee Journey

An Employee Journey Strategy

Strategy is simply the goals we choose and the actions we take to achieve those goals. Employee journey strategy is the same; define your goals and the necessary initiatives to achieve those goals. In the case of the employee journey, the data for the metrics/goals is typically a blend of data from employee surveys and empirically generated data (e.g., # of applications, hiring percentage, # of people certified).

Employee Journey Goals

Employee Journey Strategy Ideas

Below are some ideas to get you started on potential metrics/goals and initiatives across the employee journey. As with all strategy, it is important to prioritize those important goals with the largest gaps and the initiatives to close the gaps. Every organization has a certain amount of change they can successfully take on, so be very thoughtful about the number and sequencing of employee journey initiatives, along with the change management dynamics.
Improving Employee Experience Examples

Google's Employee Journey

Google is the #1 place to work, in large part because of their focus on improving their employee journey. Check out some of their employee journey strategy examples. 

Google Employee Strategy


The output of a culture and employee strategy are goals and initiatives. The challenge comes in figuring out the optimal goals and initiatives that will help elevate and realize the potential of team members. Below are the four steps to a successful employee journey and cultural transformation.

Engage team members throughout the process, especially in diagnosing and ideating. The more team member engagement, the more buy-in and the higher chance of transformational success.

Cultural Transformation Project Plan

HR Diagnostic Survey

The most important data in developing an HR strategy is feedback and ideas from team members. Stratechi's Org Survey is easy to set up and customize. It takes about 30 minutes to complete, covering all the elements of strategic alignment, employee journey, and cultural enablement. It creates a rich data set to diagnose issues and understand priority areas, which creates buy-in since priorities and ideas originate from team members.
HR Diagnostic Survey


Given the importance of elevating and realizing the potential of the individuals and teams that drive the development and execution of a company's strategies, embarking on developing a strong employee journey strategy is a no-brainer. In every company, there is a lot of upside in strengthening the culture and employee journey. Just be sure to engage the entire organization in generating, prioritizing, and implementing cultural and employee journey initiatives.

If you want to talk about your HR & Org strategy with an experienced strategy coach, set up some time with Joe Newsum, a Mckinsey Alum, and the author of this content and website.

DOWNLOAD THE HR & Org strategy presentation template

Download the 185-page HR & Org Strategy PowerPoint Presentation . The fully editable and professionally designed deck will give you a jump start on your HR & Org Strategy.


To get you started on developing a killer culture and employee journey strategy, download the free PowerPoint, which includes:

1. Mission & Values Template
2. Culture Strategy Worksheet
3. Employee Journey Ideation Worksheet
4. Employee Journey One-Page Strategy
5. Employee Journey & Culture Strategy Overview

 Learn more about Joe Newsum, the author of all this free content and a McKinsey Alum. I provide a suite of coaching and training services to realize the potential in you, your team, and your business. Learn more about me and my coaching philosophy.
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