When it comes to building a happy, productive, innovative company culture, skills do matter but beliefs matter more.
A great company culture isn’t just about bonuses, perks and groovy office fit-outs. It’s the vibe, the feeling, soul and purpose of the company itself that really sets them apart.
In a Gallup survey of 3 million employees, the data revealed three distinct groups, or levels of engagement: engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged.
- The “engaged” employees are builders. They use their unique talents, develop productive relationships, and multiply their effectiveness through those relationships. They perform at consistently high levels. They drive innovation and move their organization forward.
- Those that are “not engaged” aren’t necessarily negative or positive about their company. They basically take a wait-and-see attitude toward their job, their employer, and their peers. They hang back and don’t commit themselves.
- The “actively disengaged” employees are those who are not just unhappy at work; they act out that unhappiness. Every day, actively disengaged employees tear down what their engaged co-workers are building. Actively disengaged employees find it almost impossible to become part of the solution because they thrive on being part of the problem.
In addition, employee engagement research by Altus Q and Red found that top-performing (i.e. high engagement) organisations have three things in particular:
- Culture – they know who they are
- Purpose – why they get out of bed in the morning
- Metrics (KPI’s) – how to tell when they are winning.
Therefore culture success largely boils down to being able to communicate and transfer strategy, processes and behaviours down through the organisation. Easier said than done.
From working with hundreds of leaders and CEOs on improving culture and engagement here are my top tips to reinforce the culture, purpose and metrics in your team or business.
TIP #1 Culture – Hire for personality
The very best teams and cultures are made up of people who were first hired for their attitudes. Sure they have the aptitude, skills and experience for the job but the major part of what makes them great is their attitude. Generally strong cultures have strong values and they hire people who share those values. Stick to the time-proven motto hire for attitude, train for skill.
TIP #2 Purpose – Shout your why
The most amazing and engaged employees don’t have a career path, they’re on a mission. As author and popular TedTalk speaker, Simon Sinek explains – people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it. The greatest cultures remind themselves and their people of their company mission. The use it as their guiding light, their navigation and their decision barometer. Historically, companies with a clear, compelling vision perform 12 times better than their competitors.
TIP #3 Metrics – Celebrate your wins
It’s not just knowing what to measure that counts, it’s celebrating your wins. The best companies with great cultures believe in celebration and they do it often. Many of the most successful companies and culture celebrate monthly if not weekly, focusing on team achievements, expressing gratitude, highlighting Rockstar performance and even honouring stuff-ups. It isn’t just an opportunity for a beer or a piece of cake, it’s a way to bond the team, to create contagion, a happy virus and to encourage more innovation, inclusion and activity. With depression on the rise in most of the western world, a little celebration can go a long way to boosting employees’ mood and loyalty.
We all want to enjoy our work, to feel useful, productive, like what we do matters and adds value. We all want meaningful work that allows us to use our unique strengths and talents every day. We need this. If we are to avoid a global disengagement crisis and create positive, healthy workplace cultures we need to find a new way.
Tom Peters said it best when he shared a leaders role:
- You take care of the people.
- The people take care of the service.
- The service takes care of the customer.
- The customer takes care of the profit.
- The profit takes care of the re-investment.
- The re-investment takes care of the re-invention.
- The re-invention takes care of the future.