Your corporate culture is at the heart of how your organization operates. It affects all the decisions that you make and ultimately whether your strategy succeeds or fails. Employee engagement, motivation and retention are all linked to how your people respond to your culture. Yet, every company’s culture is unique – so how do you ensure that yours is supporting your objectives?
As with employee engagement, building a high performance culture needs to begin at the top. How your leaders and managers behave is critical to what your culture contains. Does their behavior follow the values you want to be known for, and do they ensure that every employee understands what is expected of them in their actions and ways of working?
Creating a high performance culture
Every company has its own culture, but a high performance culture in every organization shares four key elements:
- High employee engagement, with employees motivated and aligned with strategy
- Happy customers, satisfied with your offering
- A financially successful business
- Strong levels of integrity across the organization – all staff understand how to behave ethically in line with corporate values.
Creating a high performance culture is a three stage process:
- Firstly, understand where your culture is now
- Secondly, map it against the four elements above to see where you need to improve
- Thirdly, put in place an action plan to drive change, before measuring to see how effective this has been.
Stage 1: Measurement
Think of the measurement stage as being like a medical check-up. You need to base this on employee feedback, going beyond traditional employee engagement or employee satisfaction surveys to see what they feel about the culture. For example, how aligned are leadership and expected behaviors to to corporate strategy and values? Bear in mind culture may be different between departments or countries within the overall organization.
Opening a positive feedback loop with employees helps increase motivation and gives everyone a vocabulary they can use to talk about culture. It ensures they understand their role in making change happen, boosting employee motivation.
To measure successfully you can use culture diagnostic tools, but ensure that they are easy to use and understand, as well as being flexible enough to track progress over time. For example, look at providing employees with a series of statements around leadership behaviors and asking them to rate their impact on a sliding scale.
Stage 2: Mapping your position
By the end of the measurement phase you should be able to understand your organization’s overall cultural type. Is it a controlling, creative, competitive or co-operative environment?
Once you have your cultural snapshot, you can see where you are on the map – and are then able to plan your journey forwards. This will vary between different types of organization – after all a bank has a very different culture to a startup. And, as the feedback process links culture to business strategy it reinforces the importance of culture to the bottom line.
Stage 3: Moving forwards
From your measurement and mapping phases you should be able to identify areas for change. Where are their gaps between strategy and reality? How can they be bridged? What is working well in certain parts of the business, and how can this best practice be shared more widely?
By putting the organization in control of its results, it ensures that improvements are focused on its particular needs, and can be adopted at a pace that fits with budgets and objectives. Results can be integrated and compared with other performance metrics, such as employee engagement, customer satisfaction or brand reputation.
Company culture is a tangible asset of your business, and is an integral part of your corporate DNA. You therefore need to ensure that you understand where your culture currently sits, and how it can be improved if you want to it to help drive success, boosting employee engagement and satisfaction.
About the author:
Alex Wilke | HR Domain Expert
Alex has over 17 years’ experience in Voice of the Employee and Voice of the Customer programs – mainly with large international organizations in the communication and financial sectors. Since the mid 90’s Alex has worked in online research managing hundreds of employee surveys since then. Over this time Alex has developed a keen understanding of the challenges facing organizations not only around data collection but about making action planning sustainable and effective and how to move annual engagement programs to the next level. Alex has contributed to many whitepapers and thought leadership content as well as influencing and shaping Questback’s roadmap to ensure that the platform provides cutting edge solutions and maximum value for our customers.