Connecting employees to your organisation
Providing employees with the opportunity to learn
Giving employees the opportunity to do meaningful work and be in winning teams
Acknowledging and recognising employees contributions
Paying attention to employees’ health and physical and social wellbeing
Connecting employees to purpose and empowering them to do great work
Research by OC Tanner* shows us organisations that marginally improve in each of the 6 essential aspects of workplace culture see dramatic improvements. Those improvements show in recruitment, retention, satisfaction and other business metrics.
- 1 in 5 employees think that there is no reason for their organisation to even exist
- 38% of employees think that their organisation negatively affects the lives of others
- More than 1 in 3 employees are often bored with their work responsibilities
- Nearly half of employees feel that their skills are under utilised in their current role
- 1 in 5 employees say they do not do their best work because no one else does
- Almost 50% of employees feel that their employer takes them for granted
- 49% of employees say that the recognition they receive is not authentic or sincere
- 40% of employees say that their job creates a great deal of negative stress in their lives
- 1 in 3 employees say their job has a negative effect on their physical health
So how can you positively affect the 6 essential aspects of workplace culture?
What’s the “Why” of your organisation? How do the goals that you set for the organisation connect to the why? Employees want to understand how their organisation offers its customers something they can’t possibly get anywhere else. Understanding how they fit into that organisation; how they as an individual help achieve that purpose is key.
President John F. Kennedy is said to have asked a Janitor during his visit to Cape Canaveral “What do you do?”. The Janitor replied “Well Mr President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon”. Your employees want to say “I understand how my role helps my organisation succeed at [insert purpose here]”.
Research showed that some organisations
- don’t have purpose
- have purpose that doesn’t inspire
- don’t communicate their purpose very well
- (a small minority) have a strong, clear purpose that resonates with all employees.
Take your time to soul search the “Why”. Discover what you’re about and find a way to communicate that in an inspiring way to start to build your culture.
We’re not talking about promotion. It’s about the opportunity to grow, learn and be challenged. Employees want to be involved in “important” work. It’s a fact that some jobs are routine, that does not mean that they are mundane and lack “importance”. It means that the organisation has to work extra hard. It has to help an employee realise how important their job is. The consequences of not doing their job well to colleagues and to customers.
Employees want to the opportunity to influence decisions. They want to be stretched in ways that allow them to learn new skills and make connections with other employees.
Give employees the opportunity to be involved in cross functional projects. Give them exposure to other parts of the business so they can see how they fit into the bigger picture. Let them see how their work interacts on others.
How serious are you about your organisation being successful? People love the idea of being on a “winning team”. It doesn’t matter if it’s the organisation that’s the winning team or the team that the employee is a member of.
Success means that employees are likely to get more experience, more learning and be stretched.
The most powerful form of success centers on the work that the employee does and the great work they see others doing. This enables employees to experience personal and shared success is key.
Build goal oriented work groups where everyone can bring their best to the table.
Give employees, where possible, control over hot only what they do but how they do it.
Of all the things that an organisation does to show the employee that they are appreciated. Benefits packages go a long way to demonstrating appreciation but genuine appreciation for their talents and contributions is an absolute must. It is relatively straight forward to implement a culture where managers and peers are vocal with their praise and celebrate good things happening. More difficult is getting people to be observant, noticing what an employee is doing and telling them. One of the biggest problems for employees is when the organisation doesn’t genuinely appreciate them (this brings schemes such as employee of the month into question).
Employees associate appreciation with respect.
Don’t save up your appreciation of good work for the annual appraisal. It has far more impact if you pull the employee to one side there and then how you appreciate what they just did.
This is more than focusing on the physical health of employees to a more holistic consideration. Research shows us that employees now, more than ever, want their employers to respect their emotional, social and financial needs. Employees respect the fact that the work needs to get done. If consistently asked to work late, at evening or weekends they will become frustrated and angry at the lack of respect. It’s making the difference between employees feeling guilty about leaving at five or feeling guilty for staying after five. The world of constant connectivity via smartphones and the internet makes this an ever more important aspect of the work life balance in your organisation.
Treat employees as adults. Employees want to be treated as people and not just a resource to make money for the employer. Consider introducing flexible working options where possible to enable employees to better manage their work life balance.
The problem with leadership is that almost every employee has experienced leadership and that colours their view. Whether it be a good or bad experience of a leader it will have informed their opinion of what good leadership is. One noticeable factor, regardless of previous experience, is that employees believe leadership is helping not telling. Employees differentiate between leaders who tell them what to do and those that do their best to help them accomplish something.
Leaders are fundamental in delivering the culture of an organisation and the five other aspects. We know that employees don’t leave organisations they leave their leaders. Trust and respect are key features of a “good” leader. So this is especially worrying when the statistic is that more than 1:4 employees do not trust their direct line manager and 35% don’t trust their senior leaders.
One of the most straight forward ways of beginning to build trust and respect is doing what you say. As a manager, if you say you will do something, then do it. The other key aspect is consistency. People talk, if you agree one thing with one employee and another for a second you will do little to change whether employees trust and respect you or not.
The more that organisations try to force loyalty the more negative their employee engagement becomes. Research shows though that organisations that pay attention and make even small gains with these aspects see significant improvement so it’s worth the effort.
Metis HR specialises in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now in confidence on 01706 565332 or email us to discuss how we may help you with the 6 essential aspects of workplace culture.
If you want to read the research in detail you can find the article here