What separates a company with a great organizational culture from one that hands out meaty top-of-the-line perks to its employees? The answer is ‘spark’. That energy that motivates people to outperform, innovate, collaborate, and succeed – at work and life goals both. And no, it doesn’t come from a swanky or clean office, flexible hours, unlimited vacation time or from breaking the bank either – it comes from a clear vision of what the organization should accomplish and a roadmap to embark on the journey.
And as an organization, cultivating a positive organizational culture should be one of your top priorities. Because the stakes of failing at it are high – a poor organizational culture breeds high-stress workplaces that record 50% higher cost of employee medical care, more than 18% productivity loss due to disengagement, 50% higher employee turnover , besides a host of other negatives such as error rate, inefficiencies, absenteeism, etc.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to cultivating the right organizational culture, these five tips can get you off on a good start.
#1 Create more ‘owners’ than merely employees: Heard of employee-owned companies? They boost productivity and morale by rewarding employees with a stake in the company’s success through stock giveaways. Publix’s people-centric culture is the reason behind the retail chain’s meteoric rise to become the most profitable grocer in America – ahead of Wal-mart.
#2 Prioritize fun in everything you do: Celebrating work and life is something all great companies to work are known for. Think fun and creative events where employees get to know, recognize, bond, and celebrate life events and achievements together. Southwest Airlines is renowned for its inclusive fun-loving organizational culture that the company feels is crucial for effective employee management and engagement.
#3 Inspire employees with a purpose bigger than the pay check: Corporate social responsibility is more than just a formality – it pays to engage employees in community service that in turn drives commitment to organizational values, vision, and purpose. Salesforce, a global leader in cloud-computing solutions, does a great job of inspiring employees to understand the company’s mission through philanthropic initiatives.
#4 Communicate openly. Always and with every employee strata: No matter the size of your company, there’s no substitute to transparent, one-one communication. It is the backbone of a great organizational culture and drives everything – from employee engagement, productivity, retention to superior collaboration and ultimately higher bottom-line impact. Apple famously had its design engineers report directly to the CEO to ensure transparency never came in the way of putting customer experience first.
#5 Start top-down when cultivating culture: Organizational culture has a trickle-down effect – it begins from the senior leadership and percolates to the junior most employee level. The leadership must be crystal clear on what matters most to them – is it teamwork? Or the fire-fighting ability among employees that comes in handy when faced with stress at work? The Chevron way, practiced by O&G giant Chevron, is a highly popular methodology in the Oil & Gas industry which has received positive reviews from all around for its people-engagement quotient.