Meet a toxic church culture whose employee engagement level jumped from 21% to 81% in just four years at virtually no cost!
Eric Bergen, Executive Pastor, of Rolling Hills Christian Church in El Dorado Hills, California, has been an eyewitness to this stunning turnaround.
“In November 2014, The BCWI Employee Engagement Survey confirmed what we already knew inside. Our culture was broken, toxic, our staff siloed and cliquish. Trust was nowhere to be found.”
Transitioning two lead pastors and an interim pastor in 5 years added to the urgency of a turnaround. Then, the arrival of current Lead Pastor, Jonathan Hansen, in October 2017, affirmed the work Eric helped set in motion.
These six intentional commitments epitomized the Rolling Hills turnaround, as Eric explains:
1. Start talking together
“A new, weekly all-staff meeting brought people together for the first time, as leaders shared their top five activities and plans for the coming week.
2. Encourage your people with kudos
“We began sharing success stories of collaboration and support. We caught each other doing things well. By giving kudos to each other, we were building a healthier culture.
3. Keep things fresh
“Creative change works. We use different approaches week to week: prayer, praise and worship, Jesus sightings in and around the church, different devotional presenters. We even changed meeting rooms.”
We had to choose our desired culture and then go live it.”
4. Cultivate high trust
“It can happen by:
- telling people what to expect,
- acting consistently to meet these expectations,
- truly caring for, and knowing, your team,
- repeating your message, and
- celebrating people who meet or exceed expectations.
5. Practice staff care
“Our culture changed for the better when we intentionally began caring for the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of our staff. A healthy culture only comes about through healthy people.
6. Action plan wisely
“The key is:
- keeping it simple,
- giving specific responsibilities with specific deadlines to specific leaders, and
- creating a check-in accountability process that clears away barriers and celebrates progress.
(Spoiler alert: these simple, effective steps didn’t cost a dime.)
While executing this strategy and surveying with BCWI four years in a row to measure and track their cultural strengths and opportunities for improvement, Rolling Hills Christian Church has seen their percent of engaged employees nearly quadruple from 21% to 81%.
Eric summarizes: “We had to choose our desired culture and then go live it. Hope and wishful thinking didn’t get us there. We had to put in the time, energy, and focus to move the culture forward. Today, a positive culture has given us the power, teamwork and energy to prioritize and execute our ministry plans very well.
“Looking back, we realize a dysfunctional culture can be a grind on everyone. Yet God wants our ministry to flourish, and we know he blesses authentic, humble efforts to seek after, and create, a positive, cultural change.”
It’s Your Turn!
How might you give a kudo to a well-deserving person on your team by the end of today?
“The Three Qualities That Can Make or Break a Christian Leader”
Phyllis Hendry, President/CEO
Lead Like Jesus
The Employee Engagement Survey
Click here to learn more!