Culture is all the buzz these days. According to a recent Bain & Company Survey of 365 companies surveyed across North America, Europe, and Asia, 81 percent believe that a company lacking a high-performance culture is doomed to mediocrity. However, fewer than 10 percent succeed in building one.
Why is that?
Well it’s not rocket science to understand that, in this day and age, any leader who values business operations over people is certainly doomed - but beyond that it’s still unclear. Maybe it’s because of lack of communication with employees? Maybe it’s because of the lack of hard data?
What I do know definitively is that, like anything else, you get what you put into it. That means building a great culture takes commitment, discipline, and work. Building a great culture is a continuous improvement process - not an event.
Every company culture is different and unique, but here is a framework that covers the basic building blocks of creating a great place to work.
P IS FOR ‘PURPOSE’
That’s right. Nothing happens without purpose. “Why do we exist?” Your company needs a definitive and aligned answer to this question. The answer alone guides everything from strategy, to business decisions, to how employees interact with each other and customers. Call it what you want - Core Values, Guiding Principles, etc. It all stems from purpose.
O IS FOR ‘ORGANIZATION’
How information is organized and packaged is often where the rubber meets the road when it comes to success versus failure. Communication and transparency are critical, and as leaders we need to organize or empower employees to organize free-flowing platforms that foster collaboration, input, alignment, and adoption.
Town halls, stand up meetings, cascading messages, technology collaboration tools, focus groups - these are all good and simple platforms to organize and collaborate. Find what works for you and do it, but make sure you do it!
W IS FOR ‘WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM?’
In business, this question is clearly answered by customers when they are buying a product or service.
But here, we are talking about employees. What’s in it for them? What is the underlying value proposition for them coming to work every day?
To have a highly engaged and performing workforce, you must illustrate the balance of total rewards and benefits that are received by employees in return for their performance in the workplace. (Hint: It’s not all about money!)
E IS FOR ‘EDUCATION’
People not only want to see their skills utilized, but also built upon. Continuous learning and education consistently ranks among items employees want most.
With an estimate of close to 50 percent of Millennials joining the workforce by 2020, this is a trend that will continue to increase. According to Gallup, 87 percent of Millennials say development is important in a job.
Some good news? Businesses are catching on. Bersin by Deloitte continues to report that corporation’s investment in training and development for employees continues to surge.
Industry related conferences can great be a great platform for collaboration and employee development.
Endurance Employee attending OSCON (Open Source Convention).
R IS FOR ‘RECOGNITION’
Who doesn’t like a little warm and fuzzy? Recognition is a proven, fundamental human need, and recognizing individual and team behavior enhances productivity, satisfaction, and loyalty.
Put it this way: lack of recognition also consistently ranks as the No. 1 reason people leave their job. Values-based recognition (aligned with purpose) can be even more powerful. One of the things I think we do really well here at Endurance in recognizing employees is give out the “Shackleton Award”. This is our CEO (Hari Ravichandran) Award, recognizing employees who live our core values and go above and beyond the call of duty to drive our own or our customer’s success.
Endurance employee receiving the company’s CEO award