In 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy visited NASA — arguably one of the most prestigious and coveted organizations at that time. During his very first tour of the facility, JFK passed by a janitor who was mopping the floor, introduced himself and asked the man what his job was at NASA.
Enthusiastically, the janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon!”
Would your employees be this excited about their role within your organization? Would they understand the connection to the organization’s ultimate goals? Would your company’s culture be woven into each department, team and individual’s purpose?
If not, don’t beat yourself up. Gallup reports that 51 per cent of full-time employees feel no real connection to their jobs. However, amongst the greatest workplaces in the world, 70 per cent of employees feel engaged at work. Opportunity knocks…
Leading the way to engaged employees
As the report explains, “Many employees refuse to settle for an organization that does not strategically prioritize engagement. For leaders, this means a culture of engagement is no longer an option — it is an urgent need.”
The level of dissatisfaction some workers might experience in their jobs could significantly affect job productivity. Another recent study by University of Warwick economists uncovered that “happiness” led to a 12 per cent jump in productivity. Conversely, unhappy workers ended up being 10 per cent less productive.
With this in mind, leaders must consider how they can enhance the employee experience within their business. It may be tempting to blame challenges on external factors like automation, globalization and changing workplace expectations, but whether an employee feels content with their job comes down to one critical factor: your company culture.
So what can you do in your business to create a workplace culture that engages and excites your employees? If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at the following list of ways to improve your company culture from the inside-out.
Determine your ‘servant purpose’
Many businesses rely on monetary compensation and generous benefits packages to motivate their teams. But neglecting the employee experience means that the moment a competitor can offer a salary with higher pay, better benefits or more opportunities for professional development, you’ll likely lose your best and brightest.
Think about that NASA janitor — he probably wasn’t making a huge salary, but he understood that his role within the organization contributed to a part of a larger, shared goal. This is your servant purpose — why you do what you do.
Obviously, most businesses can’t compete with the magnitude of a mission like putting a man on the moon. But by determining a servant purpose for your business, you can provide your employees with a sense that they’re impacting the world in a positive way.
Clearly articulate the ways that your product or service makes life better for your customers, and communicate it regularly with your team. That way, they can see how their role within your organization makes a positive contribution to others’ lives.
Identify your core values
If your servant purpose is your “why” then your core values are the “how.” For example, how will leaders and team members work together to fulfill your servant purpose? How can you accomplish what needs to be done without sacrificing employee well-being and happiness?
These questions are critical because even the most honourable servant purpose won’t inspire loyalty or commitment if employees feel they need to compromise their personal values in order to achieve it. PanicTank scraped the data of several Fortune 500 companies to find the core values most often referenced on these companies’ websites. They include:
- Customer focus
- Employee focus
Once you’ve determined your core values, take the time to define them. What does it look like to uphold the value of “honesty” within your organization, for example?
Be specific in defining the behaviours you want to see. Make sure that your HR department has clear channels set up to promote transparency and communicate across the organization that you take these core values seriously.
Deliver on your commitments
It’s not enough to plaster your office with posters and messages stating your servant purpose. The real work of delivering on your commitment to improving company culture needs to come from the C-suite and leadership level.
In fact, it’s the responsibility of leadership to fully embody and reflect the values and commitments of your organization to your internal teams, customers and clients.
If leadership doesn’t “walk the talk” then this entire process falls apart. Employees could feel like they were led on by the promise of an improved company culture and simply leave for another opportunity. This is why it’s critical to have support from leadership when determining the qualities that make your business a great place to work.
One measure to help achieve this could be investing in executive leadership development, such as emotional intelligence training. This could help ensure that everyone in your organization understands the importance of company culture and is prepared to support it in order to help your business thrive.
By determining your servant purpose and ensuring that every employee feels connected to your larger organizational goals, you can develop a company culture that brings out the best in your staff. Not only that, it will help grow your business and increase your bottom line at the same time.