How to Infuse Meaning into Organizational Culture

How to Infuse Meaning into Organizational Culture
Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

Infuse Meaning into Organizational Culture
High performance cultures create motivation by providing compelling reasons for people to stay, to strive to perform, and to commit to continuously learn and improve.  Worker-like robots may get the task done, but what do they do when you need more? Organizations that want higher performance need to find a way to infuse meaning into organizational culture.

Smart leaders infuse meaning into organizational culture by deeply engaging their employees and getting them to give it their all for the long haul. Organizational health is not a new concept but it has become more than just a “nice-to-have;” meaning at work has become a critical factor in creating an organization’s competitive advantage.

Greater Commitment Creates Greater Performance
It stands to reason that the greater an employee’s commitment to their job, the higher their performance and the greater their productivity. When you have an engaged workforce across the company, the increase in productivity can be enormous.  In fact, higher employee engagement correlates to nearly 20% greater productivity, more than 10% higher customer satisfaction, and up to 50% less voluntary turnover.

How to Infuse Meaning into Organizational Culture
So what can leaders do to increase engagement and create a culture of high performance? Based upon organizational culture assessment data, here is what we have learned over the last two decades designing, delivering and implementing employee engagement action plans:

Employees are consistently motivated to stay and perform when:

  1. They Understand Exactly What Is Expected
    To deliver what is asked of them, employees need to have a crystal clear understanding of their success metrics and their role. They need to know how what they do contributes to and fits in with team and company goals. There should be clarity and meaning directly attached to their job.

    That’s what separates those who, robot-like, check time cards and those who attack their job each day with gusto.

    For example, I am a volunteer ski patrol in the winter. My role is clear: help ensure skiers are safe and help those who are injured. My success is measured by my ability to use my EMT and ski training to help injured skiers quickly and safely get to advanced care.  I love to ski, be outside, and help others. Therefore, I am a highly engaged volunteer.

  2. They Care For and Are Cared For
    The team matters. Being on a team is a two-way street. As a team member, you watch out for your colleagues and are willing to lend a hand when needed.

    The reverse, too, is true. You know that your team members will support you.  Engaged employees have a clear picture of what their team must accomplish in order to succeed, and they are willing to do what they can to see that the team is successful.

    For example, a recent COO was struggling to succeed at one of our high tech clients. His workload and the complexity of what was required increased dramatically. His team was underperforming.

    To turn the corner, he identified the critical few things he and his team needed from the rest of organization to succeed and what, in turn, the organization needed from him.  In a short 6-month period, his team’s performance improved 35%.

  3. They Feel Ownership and Pride in What They Do
    When employees have some choice in the role that they play and the work that they do, they feel more committed to their job. Organizationally savvy leaders understand this.

    They know and take advantage of the strengths of their individual team members by, whenever possible, giving workers choices around what they do and how they do it in a way that aligns with their organizational culture.  That provides employees with a sense of ownership and empowerment.

    As for pride, the more they feel that what they do makes a difference — in the world at large, for the customer, for the team, and for themselves — the greater their sense of achievement.

    While everyone defines meaning differently, everyone wants meaningful work.  How do you make it easy for employees to connect what they do every day to the business priorities and what they personally value?

The Bottom Line
To infuse meaning into organizational culture ensure employees understand exactly what is expected of them, feel cared for and feel ownership and pride in what they do.  Then make sure that you consistently reward the behaviors and results that you seek while simultaneously ensuring fair consequences for sub-standard behaviors and performance.

To learn more about how to infuse meaning into organizational culture, download The 3 Leadership C’s of a High Performance Culture

Evaluate your Performance


Get key strategy, culture, and talent tools from industry experts that work


Health Checks

Assess how you stack up against leading organizations in areas matter most



Download published articles from experts to stay ahead of the competition



Review proven research-backed approaches to get aligned



Stay up to do date on the latest best practices that drive higher performance


Client Case Studies

Explore real world results for clients like you striving to create higher performance