How can you create an engaging culture at work? This million (or actually multi-billion) dollar question is constantly being asked and revisited by companies globally, large and small. Building an engaging culture is crucial to a company’s sustained success: Gallup estimates that disengaged workforces are costing companies over $450 billion in lost productivity per year and 95% of employees say that culture is more important than compensation. Culture isn’t just a “feel good” part of business full of perks and happy hours. Being thoughtful about creating and sustaining an effective work culture is foundational to unlocking a company’s growth.
Especially because employees find culture more important than compensation, it becomes crucial that leaders within a company fully understand why culture is so important to them.
1. Culture Is A Signal for Success
Building a positive company culture is more important than it historically ever has been, with sites like Glassdoor giving employees and job-seekers alike the visibility into how a company actually functions versus what glossy words are used on the company’s career homepage. 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. In other words, leaders and employees alike believe that culture is a key signal of how well a company is doing, and company success is highly motivating and exciting. So much so that it’s been shown to outrank traditionally important benefits such as health and wellness benefits. How is it possible that culture is more important that compensation and benefits? Simply because research has shown there is a correlation between employees who say their organization has a clearly articulated and lived culture and those that say they are “happy at work” and feel “valued by [their] company”. In other words, engagement. And engagement leads to greater participation in health and wellness programs, as well as other important company initiatives, which means that…
2. Culture Is A Self-Fulfilling Cycle
The more effective a company’s culture is, the more engaged the workers, the better the reputation, the greater the company’s success, and the stronger the company’s ability to attract talent. As Jena Brown puts it, “You want employees who are like-minded with the values and best practices by which your company wants to be identified. Having a candidate attraction strategy that speaks to your company culture will increase the likeliness of attracting and engaging talent who will thrive and stay with you longer.” With recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees so costly, building a culture that attracts the right talent leads to a high return on investment. Authors David Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright emphasize the importance of finding the right hires, outlining some key effects:
Fear and stress go down as the “interpersonal friction” of working together decreases
People seek employment in the company and stay, taking the company a long way toward winning the war for talent
Organizational learning becomes effortless, with the tribe actively teaching its members the latest thinking and practices
People’s overall health statistics improve. Injury rates and sick days go down
People report feeling more alive and having more fun
3. Culture Is Everyday
Every single day, the behaviors and interactions of employees within a company can create, sustain, or change a company’s culture. Every e-mail, meeting, and announcement is an opportunity to help craft the culture of a company and drive engagement amongst employees. One key way to help build an intentional culture is to leverage new tools for employee engagement and feedback in order to track and measure the daily interactions that weave the fabric of company culture. Reflektive is an example of a productivity tool that drives culture by empowering employees to give each other real-time feedback that is tied to company values, which has been proven to lead to stronger engagement. The Reflektive platform does this is in a practical way, as it seamlessly fits into an employee’s pre-existing workflow so it is used on a daily basis. Employees give feedback throughout the year to reinforce values, and this feedback then is used to pre-populated a next generation performance management process that is data-driven by actual events that promote the behaviors that really reinforce a company’s culture.
Understanding the importance of culture as a signal and self-fulfilling cycle that can be iterated upon every day, companies can make better decisions about how to organize and empower their workforce. Incorporating productivity tools that empower employees with the ability to constantly provide feedback to each other and leadership within the company contributes to a culture of engagement and ultimately, success.