People in every organization talk about workplace culture, the mysterious word that represents the environment that surrounds them at work. But, culture is something that is hard to quantify and cannot be experienced through physical manifestations. At a workplace, it is experienced through the behavior that results when a team conforms to a set of—generally unspoken and unwritten—rules for working together.
Why is culture important?
A Deloitte study suggests that culture, engagement, and employee retention are the top challenges in the minds of business leaders, second only to the challenge of building global leadership. So what has led to more than half of business leaders to cite culture as an “urgent” issue?
"92% of the C-suite leaders around the world will now better understand that improving culture actually improves the company value, capital rate and success of the organization”, said David Sturt
With social websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Indeed, the information about a brand is now publicly available, helping prospective talent to find if the company is a great place to work or not. This gives employees an increased bargaining power, and with the job market being highly transparent, attracting top-skilled workers becomes a challenge for leaders. Thus, making them realize the power of culture as an influencer in shaping an environment where great work thrives and people stay.
How to improve company culture?
David explained how OC Tanner developed a talent magnet framework after an analysis of 40 different engagement and culture models. This framework looks through the lens of an employee’s experience and dimensions of culture that draws them to an organization. Below are the six elements of the framework that can help organizations create, thriving, powerful, and effective workplace cultures.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”– Steve Jobs
Instilling purpose among your workforce doesn’t just mean rolling out a mission statement that employees can’t connect with. Smart companies help people to understand and appreciate the value they create and the difference their work makes in the world. For example, the “Delivering Happiness” campaign by Jubilant Foodworks, was an effort by CEO Ajay Kaul to inculcate the feeling of bringing happiness to customers by delivering pizza. This initiative helped in eliciting a deeper level of engagement and extracting an organic effort from the team to accomplish challenges and helping the company achieve 70% market share.
According to Report Linker, 83% of employees with opportunities to take on new challenges, say they’re more likely to stay with the organization.
Most engagement research shows that professional development, learning opportunities, and career progression are among the best drivers of employee engagement. People now not just want a career ladder advancement, but are also looking for project and innovation opportunities.
Research by OC Tanner revealed that 44% of people studied felt stuck in their current roles and posed flight risk for their companies. Also, most felt that their skills were underutilized. So smart leaders should figure out new and innovative ways to help people learn, grow, and develop and not just depend on opportunities for upward mobility.
According to Gallup, 53% of employees say greater work-life balance and personal well-being are very important to them when considering whether to take a job with a different organization.
Employees like working for organizations with a flexible, humane, and inclusive workplace that makes people feel cared for. Given the complexity of work today, if organizations want to create a culture that engages people, they must build a flexible and supportive work environment. A workplace that doesn’t treat team members as a cog in the machine but as valued, unique individuals.
“Success is contagious, and it breeds more success.”
Employees need to see the evidence of their meaningful work in the success of their company. This inspires them to work harder and be a part of the collective success. A shining example of this is demonstrated by Qualcomm, wherein they have generated the patents of their engineers and employees on a giant rotating screen, and put it on a prominent part of their campus. This monitor which highlights the names of people creates pride and inspires employees to perform better.
Research by Deloitte found that “high-recognition companies” have 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than companies with poor recognition cultures.
Great work that is valued, appreciated, and celebrated is fundamental to build successful cultures. Leaders must integrate recognition and appreciation into the way they lead as it is the key to employee engagement. Companies that create such a culture witness tremendous impact. When JetBlue implemented a peer-to-peer recognition system that was built on company values, its employee satisfaction surged by 88 percent.
“15% of employees strongly agree that the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future”, Gallup reports
Good leadership acts as a powerful magnet for engaging and retaining employees as these leaders attract people to work for them. These leaders just don’t have the title of a boss but take on the accountability that leadership brings by guiding, coaching and helping team members to grow and develop their career.