The relationship between business culture and employee engagement is clearly plottable. The more positive the business’s culture is, the more likely that employees will be engaged with their work. Subsequently, this leads to increased employee productivity and therefore greater success for the business. So why is it that despite the obvious link, so few businesses are able to boast amazing cultures with highly engaged employees?
Is it an issue of taking responsibility?
To reach maximum impact, culture and engagement needs to be driven by both the business leaders and its HR team.
HR teams are a powerful enabler for change when the CEO is leading the change. They are pivotal to creating the environment for change within any organisation, championing the values of the business and driving change through the management team.
If it’s a mature organisation, you can use the existing people structure and management architecture to enable change. If you haven’t got a developed HR structure, your change management journey will be more challenging and protracted, so leveraging the skills of an outsourced HR resource with a track record of building strategies to facilitate change will reap dividends.
Statistics show that 60% of employees said that managers are the most responsible for implementing employee engagement strategies. This suggests that culture and engagement is a business-wide issue, very much dependent on every manager. In order for culture change to be successful, ensure that your managers are trained and well supported.
HR teams have the ability to assess the problems with the current company culture. By understanding the problems, and listening to employee feedback, HR can develop a plan to realign culture and engagement with the business values. By working with the leaders of the organisation, both groups can collaborate in ensuring that the new plan is implemented and all employees are onboard.
HR teams help company leaders to clearly define what their business culture is, and also build towards making the culture sustainable. People make the company’s culture, so ensuring that the right ones are recruited is crucial. HR can help managers hire candidates who are most compatible with the business’ developing culture, ensuring long term sustainability. They can also help protect the business culture by offering managers support and assistance when it comes to removing employees who aren’t on board with the changing approach.
HR and leadership teams need to collaborate in order to firmly establish the values which define the businesses culture, and how work processes support these. Once established, HR then have the ability to implement these into employee and management training schemes. Culture and its importance is then repeatedly reinforced to the existing employees, while new staff are immediately encouraged to adopt the desired engagement with the organisation’s culture.
Many businesses’ preach that their employee well-being is their top priority or that they promote good company culture. But often it can be left to HR departments to ensure that this is being embodied by the organisation. HR’s position within any organisation is unique, meaning their actions have an enormous impact. By being open and transparent, the words promoted by the CEO are enacted by the example set by HR.
Here are some examples of businesses, who have used HR in order to change or promote their culture and engagement:
This online shoe and clothing retailer centres its hiring process around the applicants' compatibility with the company culture. Employees are offered $2,000 to resign after the first week of training if they decide that the role isn’t for them.
This process not only maintains the businesses culture and therefore employee engagement, but also shows your employees that building and maintaining the right culture is a top priority.
‘Company Culture’ is often associated with glamorous rooftop meetings or table tennis tables in the office. While many businesses do strive to provide their employees with additional perks, brands like Chevron have instead decided to focus on prioritising employee well being.
Things like managers insisting that employees take regular breaks generate a sense of safety and well-being within the business. Higher levels within the company taking an active interest in their employees' well-being demonstrate to employees that they’re a priority. By making them feel valued, their loyalty towards the company grows.
The idea of ‘flat organisation’ as a business culture is becoming more and more popular. The minimal levels of management between employers and staff means that companies like Squarespace can promote freedom and empower their employees.
This improves employee confidence and moral, leading to greater loyalty from staff as well as more creative approaches to business.
Adobe’s company culture avoids micromanaging employees. By offering them shares in the company, employees have a vested interest in its success, while regular training ensures that they still feel supported. This balance between trust and support promotes employee independence, which goes a long way towards creating a positive company culture and ultimately business growth.
Remember that developing a positive culture isn’t something that only large global corporations invest in.
A local company with 200 staff experienced tremendous growth in a short space of time, which placed pressures on meeting both health and safety and HR employment regulatory requirements. A lack of health and safety respect, as well as a culture of “looking out for oneself” was spreading through the workforce. Patterns of serious behavioural issues were impacting both the company culture and safety at work. There were several departments within the business that were not working together, with ‘Morale’ at a low point.
By realising and promoting the need for change, the directors invested in outsourced HR to provide management training and creating new values that were instilled company-wide, over time - embraced from the top. This led to many awards including The Queen's Award for Enterprise and Employer of the year.
As a small business, it can be a challenge to attract top talent, competing against large agencies or bigger corporates with a multitude of perks, resources and budgets. That’s why KG Moore invests in outsourced HR services and developing its company culture, to build a reputation for the place that every marketer wants to work. This is done by getting the fundamentals right, building on the foundations of the right policies and processes, having an online HR system for managing all HR requirements, as well as communicating company goals, with clear links to each employee's personal objectives.
It also focuses all communications on conveying company values through everything they do. Building relationships with the local Colchester Institute and Essex University, and providing opportunities for students to gain practical experience on real projects in the business community. The agency is focussed on creating an environment where every team member has a voice, space and the freedom to build their skills, experience and confidence in a supportive environment. KG Moore is a company that offers employees a lovely office to work in, located in the heart of a bustling town, at the end of Castle Park. Employees attend social networking events to spread their wings and have the freedom to discover and develop their talents.
The approach taken in establishing culture filters through the company as a whole. HR, with the support of the business leaders, are able to promote and create schemes which will create a positive company culture. Collaboration means that this culture becomes clearly defined, enabling employees to easily engage with business values. During times of change; mergers, acquisitions, growth and production cycles, success or failure could be dependent on the alignment of the business culture and direction.
If you’re worried about the current state of your business’ culture, we can help. We’ve got blog posts on changing a toxic company culture, and can offer you tips on how best to have a positive impact on the culture of your business. Ask our advice and find out more about how Park City’s HR Resources can help support your business Culture and Engagement programmes.
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