The Case for Investing in Workplace Culture

According to new Gallup polling, people who strongly agree that they feel connected to their workplace culture are 3.7x as likely to be engaged at work and 5.2x more likely to recommend their organization as a great place to work.

This should be all the data leaders need to persuade themselves and others to invest in a strong company culture based on connection and communication.

Your culture connects through your company’s core beliefs and values. It also includes the way your people behave and how they interact with each other. These components collectively shape the experiences your people have at work, which leads them to form their beliefs about your company. Those beliefs influence your people’s actions, which ultimately dictate the results they provide. 

That’s why it’s important to have a strong, connective company culture. Every company will define “strong” in their own way but there’s a common thread: a strong company culture creates experiences that support your people so they can prosper at work.

Every company leader would agree a strong company culture is good for business. Yet, many struggle to clearly articulate the benefits of investing in strong company culture. This means they fail to get buy-in from other leaders to spend on culture management programs that enhance their culture.

Showing the value of company culture is critical to getting that buy-in. Here are some of the many benefits of strong company culture so that you are more equipped to make that connection for your organization.

Benefits of a strong company culture

1. Higher employee retention

When you have a strong company culture, it creates positive experiences for your teams. Those positive experiences influence your people to develop and center positive beliefs about your organization and its culture. 

When your people have favorable internalized views about your company, they’re more likely to be loyal to your organization. This reduces turnover, which means less budget is spent on hiring replacements and training them.

2. Increased productivity

Strong company culture creates an environment where your people feel supported. When your people are supported, they do a better job. In fact, University of Warwick research shows that companies that invested in employee support saw increased productivity. Google was one of those companies, which saw a 37 percent increase. 

3. Stronger brand reputation

Your people are one of the most important ambassadors of your company’s brand. So, you want your ambassadors to say great things about your company.

Say you have a disgruntled individual who thinks negatively of your company’s culture and the environment it creates. If someone asked her what she thought about working at your company, it’s unlikely she’ll say something positive.

4. Rise in employee well-being

Healthy and positive work cultures improve your people’s well-being. That’s because a strong culture creates an environment where your people are less stressed.

Imagine being at a company with a toxic culture. People there are constantly criticizing others without constructive feedback, there’s no accountability because employees keep blaming each other, and management disrespects staff members. This creates a stressful environment for employees. People who are more stressed are more likely to experience burnout, which reduces well-being.

5. Alignment across the organization

To have a strong and connective company culture, you need to have a clearly defined one. When you do, your people will be on the same page. 

That’s because a defined culture is like a guide on what’s appropriate behavior at work. When your culture is defined, your people can recognize actions that are and are not helpful for your organization. This will lead your people to deliver Key Results that will grow your company.

How to form a strong company culture

Define the culture you need

The most important step to creating a strong company culture is clearly defining it. If you don’t know what your culture is, you can’t convey the positive behaviors that represent it.

To define your culture, you need to outline the culture you need and then be intentional about creating and managing it. Investing in a culture management solution can help you achieve that.

Nip toxic behavior in the bud

If one of your people is going repeatedly Below the Line — amplifying negative experiences for others — and you don’t do anything about it, you allow negative experiences to be part of your culture’s atmosphere. The person will likely continue to go Below the Line and others will mirror it. Some will find this detrimental to their work, which will, in time, create discomfort and possibly motivate them to leave your company. 

That’s why you need to stop negative experiences from the start. You can do that by training your leaders and managers on how to effectively provide constructive feedback when someone demonstrates behavior that’s counter to your culture and its goals. 

The challenge is many managers and leaders aren’t adequately trained to do this. Constructive feedback is still criticism so it needs to be delivered in a non-threatening way that is still direct and clear. Offer training programs that give your managers and leaders the space to practice this.

Give focused recognition

Focused employee recognition is openly acknowledging and expressing appreciation for a person’s positive contributions to the organization. This focused action contributes to securing the organization’s cultural beliefs and achievement of key results. When there is no focused recognition, it creates an experience that can lead to job dissatisfaction, because it’s human nature to want to feel valued and appreciated. Your people can’t prosper at work if they don’t like their job or their company.

Everyone like to be seen for their contributions and focused recognition enables this. It creates an experience that leads your people to believe they add value to the organization, which motivates them to do well at work. Make focused recognition part of your culture by encouraging your managers and leaders to:

  • Give thanks. A study revealed that 75 percent of employees said that if managers thanked them in real time, motivation in the workplace would improve.
  • Tell your people when they do well. Don’t be vague about it. Instead of only saying “good job,” give specific recognition that explains when the positive behavior happened and why it’s good for the organization.
  • Create structured recognition programs. For example, every month you could highlight an employee that demonstrates your company values in unique ways.

Strong company culture is critical to an organization’s success and achieving Key Results. Yet, many companies skimp on culture management, failing to see its benefits. We have the approach, insights, and client success to limit those doubts.

It takes time and organization-wide focus — but you can connect and activate your purpose, strategy, and results by investing in your culture.

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