Your Preferred Workplace Culture
Most leaders, especially those with new teams or at early growth stages, work hard to create a meaningful organizational culture they want for their organization that makes sense to them and their teams. But they then ask, “How do you reinforce your preferred workplace culture?”
For the most part, organizational culture feels good when leaders and employees are consistently behaving according to an agreed-upon set of beliefs, values, and attitudes. In fact, our organizational alignment research found that an aligned workplace culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, employee engagement, customer loyalty, and leadership effectiveness.
But with so many drivers of corporate culture change, every culture needs reinforcement, or it risks fading away.
How to Reinforce Your Preferred Workplace Culture
Because strategy must go through culture and people to be fully executed, changes in leadership, strategy, or business circumstances often create the need to change how work gets done. Here are steps you can take to strengthen and reinforce your preferred workplace culture:
- Consistently Measure and Invest In Organizational Health
We define organizational health in terms of leadership, trust, capability, and climate and believe that it is the cultural foundation for high performance. McKinsey recently reported that the top quartile of the healthy publicly traded companies delivers almost three times more value to shareholders.
Because leadership, trust, capability, and climate can shift over time, it is important to consistently and frequently assess organizational health. You want your organization to be in the best possible health to maximize employee performance, engagement, discretionary effort, and retention.
While we have yet to find a company with perfect organizational health, health must be good enough (especially around leadership and trust) to form a solid foundation to drive higher performance. Once you have assessed your organizational health, make sure that you take meaningful engagement actions by maintaining what is working, monitoring areas at risk, leveraging strengths, and prioritizing for “repair” those critical few unhealthy areas that matter most.
- Build a High Performance Culture
Like Lee Ross and Malcolm Gladwell, we believe external circumstances and social situations greatly influence behavior – especially for performance environments at work. Because of this, we hold leaders responsible for creating the circumstances for their people to thrive in a way that fits with the organization’s core values, behaviors, and strategies.
Our organizational alignment research found that this means having high levels of clarity, transparency, alignment, credibility, and commitment regarding goals and accountabilities, success metrics, roles and behaviors, scope and interdependencies, action plans, and accountability mechanisms.
High performance cultures create motivation by providing positive feedback for desired behaviors, negative feedback for undesired behaviors, and compelling reasons for people to stay and improve. All systems that expose, communicate, and manage performance need to align with your desired culture. When they are out of sync, your culture suffers.
- Hire and Orient to Your Preferred Workplace Culture
Your workplace culture should be a topic you explicitly discuss and assess in the interview process. In fact, your culture should give you a decided edge against competitive job offers. Then, as you onboard new employees, you have an opportunity to reinforce your preferred workplace culture, share why it matters, and help every new hire feel like an integral part of the culture from the first day on the job.
- Ensure that The Way Work Gets Done Aligns with Your Strategy
The most well-intentioned strategies often fail because of a highly fragmented (and often hidden) set of underlying belief systems which determine how to interpret and accomplish the strategic goals. To accelerate strategy execution, the critical beliefs required to size up and execute strategic priorities need to be purposefully articulated, measured, and aligned.
We have identified 10 dimensions of a purposefully aligned culture that allow everyone to act with a more unified and cohesive mindset. The framework helps to define and align the appropriate continuum of beliefs needed to best execute your strategy. The goal is to make it easier to get things done.
The Bottom Line
When workplace culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies, the right culture, whatever that may be in your unique situation, matters. Are you doing all you can to strengthen and reinforce your preferred workplace culture?
To learn more about turning your workplace culture into a competitive advantage, download The 3 C’s of Culture that You Must Get Right