For employees to be an integrated part of the workplace, it has become important for the vision and purpose of the company to match that of the employees. A Harvard Business Review (HBR) report pointed out that most job seekers are looking for a place where they can intertwine their beliefs with those of the company.
In the post-pandemic world, employers are becoming more careful about the kind of people they are hiring. But employees are also becoming more cognizant of the companies they apply to. With mental health gaining more importance, aspects like culture, work-life balance, and a great working relationship with your colleagues have come to the forefront.
Employee retention and hiring of top candidates are closely intertwined with beliefs and culture,
the HBR report stated.
“Great culture should provide continuous alignment to the vision, purpose, and goals of the organisation. Today’s workforce wants to know that they’re making a difference within their companies. While work cultures are unique to every organisation, the foundation of what enables a culture to thrive is the extent to which employees are empowered to be engaged, feel valued, and be heard.”
Clearly, employees aren’t just looking for a paycheck; they expect something more out of the organisations they work for. A LinkedIn survey states that people are willing to forego a fancy title, and even put up with lower pay, than deal with a bad workplace environment.
The report highlighted that close to 47 percent of the employees care about whether the company can foster an environment where they can be themselves, and also have a positive impact on society.
“Today’s workforce wants to know that they’re making a difference within their companies. While work cultures are unique to every organisation, the foundation of what enables a culture to thrive is the extent to which employees are empowered to be engaged, feel valued, and be heard. This is where leadership comes in,” added the report.
Culture and value
A National Bureau of Economic Research survey found that improving a company’s culture would increase its business value and performance.
The survey also revealed that though leaders admit that unhealthy company culture can impact engagement, a disconnect remains between the aim and the action. While the leaders believe they’re putting in the work to build and improve the environment, the reality is that employees don’t agree.
The HBR report stated that nearly half of all employees (45 percent) say leadership is minimally or not at all committed to improving the culture. This discrepancy can lead to harrowing business repercussions such as voluntary turnover that can cost organisations up to two times an employee’s annual salary. One way leaders can demonstrate to employees that they’re taking action is to put some of the power of impacting the culture back into the employees’ hands.
One way to do that is by allowing employees to speak up when they don’t agree with a company’s actions or take on new projects the employees want to. This showcases an empowered culture.
It also is important to build a strong culture of appreciation and recognition. It is important to frequently acknowledge (and in real-time) the work done by employees.
“What gets recognised gets repeated, and leaders that leverage recognition as an everyday tool for building strong culture will outperform organisations that fall flat on culture,” said the report
Building a culture of empowerment
This, according to the report, can be done in three different ways —
Role fit – When employees focus on the work they’re passionate about, they will provide the most value. The report stated that if an employee enjoys speaking with clients, for example, focusing on tasks that enable face-to-face interactions can make their job more engaging.
Connections within the workplace – The day-to-day relationships in an organisation determine an employee’s experience in a company. Therefore, it becomes important to give employees different opportunities to strengthen those relationships through celebrations, social gatherings, and interactive sessions.
“Perhaps, most importantly, employers can encourage frequent recognition and feedback at all levels of the company. Frequent recognition at every level builds trust and opens communication across an organisation. Employers can also ask for feedback about employees’ workplace connections and provide guidance or advice on improving relationships — encouraging employees to go on a “coffee chat” with a colleague they don’t know well, pointing to groups that gather around a sport or social activity, or simply recommending that every employee work from a shared workspace within the office now and then,” said the report.
It is also important for employees to know that their contributions to the business are meaningful. Therefore, it is important to develop a culture that reinforces the important role each employee plays within their organisation.
“Encourage employees to examine or reconsider how their role ties back to the greater organisation but remember that it’s the company’s responsibility to make this connection crystal clear,” said the report.