Where Employee Engagement and Corporate Culture Connect

cartoon of a smiling businessman working at his desk with piles of paper thinking "I love my job"

Employee engagement and corporate culture are so interconnected that they seem at times to be two sides of the same coin…engagement at the individual level and a high performance organizational culture of satisfaction at the organization level. Here’s what we mean…

When you think about what motivates employees to expend discretionary effort on the job, you might choose money and benefits as what would matter most.  You would be wrong. Based upon using our employee engagement survey with over 500,000 employees each year, less than 10% of employees reported that these tangible rewards were what motivated them to go above and beyond. Instead, 33% listed “Trust in Senior Leaders” as being in the Top 10.  

Based upon over 25 years of consulting with high growth clients, we know that trust forms the foundation of a high performance culture and highly engaged employees.

Here are some of the other motivators that were singled out at the top: employees’ own pride and wish to do a good job, their desire to have a meaningful impact, their eagerness to be recognized and encouraged and their hope to grow professionally through a career development program. All of these motivators are what we emphasize in our employee engagement training as significant indicators of a great-place-to-work environment. And all of these factors are what build a strong and viable culture.

To build the organizational culture that encourages higher employee engagement, here are three things you can do:

  • Define the corporate culture you want to best execute your business and talent strategies and select and promote employees who embody the behaviors you seek. For example, if you strive for an organizational culture that is collaborative, supports open communication and encourages a healthy work-life balance, then you should train and coach employees toward these values.

  • Secure management agreement and support. Make sure your managers are committed to your corporate culture and values.  Then make sure they consistently model and reward them. When leadership sets the example and rewards the desired behaviors, employees will follow suit.

  • Provide opportunities for growth. Recognize desired behaviors in a way that is meaningful and fair to employees. Give them a chance to develop new skills. Give them feedback that will help them learn from mistakes and empower them with the confidence to try again.

If you want employees to “love their job,” you should create an environment where they work with people they trust, are recognized for doing the right things in the right way, know that their contribution matters and have opportunities to continuously build their skills.

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