Article: Creating a high performance workplace culture – Insights from Gallup’s Research


Creating a high performance workplace culture – Insights from Gallup’s Research

A high-performance culture is an organisational environment characterised by the seamless alignment of external differentiators and internal values, fostering a potent connection between customer engagement and employee engagement.
Creating a high performance workplace culture – Insights from Gallup’s Research


Employees who feel a strong sense of connection with an organisation's culture exhibit remarkable outcomes. Gallup’s research shows that they are:

  • 3.7 times more likely to be engaged,
  • 37% more likely to contribute consistently,
  • 5.2 times more inclined to recommend the workplace,
  • 55% less prone to actively seek alternative job opportunities.

But how many individuals feel truly connected to their work in today’s demanding talent marketplace?

Merely four out of ten individuals strongly agree with the notion that their role feels significant to the mission and purpose of the organisation.

“What if eight out of ten employees felt aligned instead of four of ten? It would have a profound implication on a company’s bottom line,” noted Rohit Khar, Regional Director, Gallup, addressing a webinar on “Thriving in the New World of Work - Insights from Gallup’s Research” in partnership with People Matters.

The expert panel also included Akash Chauhan, Head of HR, Chaayos, Rency Mathew, People Leader, India & South Asia, Sabre, and Adhir Mane, CHRO - Corporate, Raymond Limited.

What is high-performance culture?

Culture is a complex blend of elements. It is the way we do things. It transcends surface-level perks like free food or coffee, Rency noted. And it's rooted in our alignment with the company's purpose and mission.

A high-performance culture is an organisational environment characterised by the seamless alignment of external differentiators and internal values, fostering a potent connection between customer engagement and employee engagement.

It's a culture where the organisation's unique strengths, as recognised in the marketplace, are intricately woven into its core values, behaviours, and practices.

Traditionally, the responsibility for an organisation's culture rested mainly with HR. However, a paradigm shift has occurred.

“Today, every member of our company plays an integral role in shaping our culture. It's not limited to HR or business leadership; it extends to each employee,” Rency said. “In essence, we are all ambassadors of the company, influencing how newcomers, whether they're employees or vendors, perceive us. Our actions define the company's essence,” she added.

Robust processes pivotal to reinforcing culture

Transitioning from a legacy to a desired culture introduces hurdles – from opposition to change to issues with change management. An absence of a clear vision and purpose obstructs the alignment of the entire workforce.

Speaking about the challenge areas, Aadhir noted that “unclear communication at the leadership's level exacerbates the lack of unity around a singular goal. Robust systems and processes play a pivotal role in reinforcing the desired culture, driving performance and compensation processes, as well as aligning HR and business procedures.”

“Balancing both soft and hard aspects aids in shaping desired behaviours and culture. When these elements are lacking, organisations encounter difficulties in cultivating a high-performance culture,” he added.                       

Framework to achieving a high-performance culture

Some important aspects of creating an organisational culture that focuses on growth and performance were also discussed:  

Providing clarity and communication:

The culture and values of an organisation act as guiding principles for achieving objectives. Performance results from aligning actions with desired outcomes. However, the major challenge lies in establishing clear expectations from individuals.

“While quantifying performance is easier in some functions, it's more intricate in others, so it is essential to define everything in quantifiable terms. Defining the target becomes crucial, as performance can easily be gauged by contrasting achieved outcomes with set targets,” Akash said.

It is important to keep in mind that the stage and size of the organisation greatly influence this process. Established companies benefit from clearer planning, unlike startups that face greater variability. Nevertheless, once decisions are made, consistency is crucial.

The role of values:

Values serve as guidelines, directing behaviour to achieve outcomes while adhering to expected conduct. The principle is straightforward – a balance of reward and reprimand.

“Continuous iteration is key to building a high-performance organisation,” according to Akash. “The journey involves repeated cycles of clarification and improvement.”

Map back to the customer:

The discussion highlighted the importance of establishing a single unifying truth within an organisation's culture, drawing and integrating insights from different perspectives.

“While strategy plays a role, the crux lies in understanding customer feedback and data-driven insights. The behaviours that lead customers to connect, purchase, recommend, or stay engaged become integral components of this truth,” Rohit noted.

Empowering managers:

To operationalise a high-performance culture, managers have a pivotal role to play. They bridge the gap between the overarching truth and daily actions. Clarity in role expectations, accountability, and influence over local culture and behaviour are all important aspects of empowering managers.

“The cyclic process of setting expectations, building capability, and fostering accountability is the way to translate the unifying truth into action. This ensures that the message from customers and strategy trickles down effectively through the managerial hierarchy,” Rohit noted.

Building Transparency:

Aligning external differentiators with internal culture is fundamental. Speaking about some practical steps that companies could take, Adhir shared some practices, including “organisations openly sharing financial figures.

“Despite being a publicly listed company, our CEO is committed to a high level of transparency. Financial data, including specifics like EBITDA and PBT, are shared right down to the minutest details. This extensive disclosure ensures that every member of our extensive workforce comprehends our strategic directions, operational challenges, and growth trajectories, fosters transparency and direction.”

Work-life integration

“A fundamental aspect of work-life integration is the acknowledgement of our team members' humanity. Often, individuals are viewed merely as instruments to achieve organisational goals,” Rency noted.

It is critical to remember that team members are fellow human beings and focus on fostering empathy and understanding for the challenges they face both at work and in their personal lives. This approach embodies the essence of work-life integration – the ability to extend and contract efforts based on both professional and personal demands.

“In the short term, a high-performance culture fosters increased employee engagement, nurtures a positive organisational culture, and fuels the desire for personal growth,” Rency said. The engagement is often reflected in higher retention rates. “On a longer timeline, the effects of a high-performance culture extend to customer satisfaction, improved revenues, enhanced profits, and a heightened sense of innovation.”

A number of other factors were discussed in the conversation, including the role of a learning culture, the importance of diversity and inclusion, risk-taking and accountability and the role of key stakeholders in the process.

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Topics: #Culture, Talent Management

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