In late 2021, the nation’s “quit rate” soared to a 20 year high according to the Pew Research Center. Amidst a world still struggling to recoup after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of working Americans are still leaving their jobs in search of new ones. This movement, now dubbed The Great Resignation, has caused workers to reflect on their careers.
We’re beginning to learn that people have grown to care about more than just their pay. Workers are starting to consider the values, systems, attitudes, behaviors and overall social order of the companies they work for as well. Company culture, the umbrella term for these concepts, has now become critically important to job seekers. As a result, employers must focus on cultivating a rich, inclusive, diverse, friendly, and fun company culture to attract talent and retain employees.
I joined the iAlign.Work team this January as a Sales and Marketing Intern and have been able to experience first-hand the monumental impact that a well-developed company culture has on employees. A positive culture can completely change the workplace environment for the better. Every company, whether they know it or not, already has a culture that is continuously evolving. While creating a culture that values both having fun and productivity can seem like a daunting challenge to employers, it can also make the key difference between having an exceptional workforce or an unsustainably high churn rate.
What are the most important things that a company culture clearly affects? Here are three that stand out to me…
Often described as the involvement and enthusiasm that employees express in their work or workplace, engagement is a key determining factor of measuring employees’ perspectives. Are your coworkers or employees putting in their time, attending company events, or investing in the success of business outcomes? A company that is attentive to their culture should have a good sense of their overall employee engagement. In fact, employees that demonstrate high levels of engagement tend to show significantly lower levels of turnover (18% lower in high turnover organizations and 43% in low turnover ones) according to Gallup studies.
In my experience, I feel a desire to stay engaged at work when I know my supervisors and coworkers are also intentionally seeking to engage with me. When I’m engaged, I feel connected to my team, have positive feelings about my organization, and want to put in as much effort is needed to help the organization succeed. Managers can foster engagement by ensuring their employees know what work needs to be done (i.e., job clarity), supporting and advocating for them, and sitting down to have frequent and meaningful conversations with them. I feel most engaged when my manager coaches me towards my professional goals and when they help me align those goals to the company mission.
At iAlign.Work, we are specifically focused on performance and how it can be revolutionized. A company culture that emphasizes the use of frequent feedback, strengths-based coaching, and purpose-driven work is one built to maximize performance. When an organization has a healthy and transparent culture, employees know what is expected of them and they can clearly see how their work contributes to the ultimate goals of the company. According to SHRM, employees who understand each others' aspirations and values actually tend to outperform those who lack a sense of purpose and cohesion.
I’ve learned that It’s vital for managers to create time and space for their teams to grow relationally together. When every person on my team is united in purpose, we communicate clearly, understand each other’s roles, and push one another to produce positive outcomes. I consider culture to be one of the most influential drivers of my performance at work. The performance management system we’ve developed at iAlign.Work recognizes the importance of company culture as a key component of employee success.
For more information on what performance management is and how we think the industry is overdue for a makeover, check out our other article: What Even is Performance Management?
When approaching development, adopting a people-centric strategy is often the most effective tactic. Focusing on the unique needs of individuals rather than solely focusing on their metrics will change the way you view development. One of the best ways to promote development in the workplace is to encourage learning. This allows employees to feel comfortable exploring their limits and gives them the opportunity for growth in the organization. Additionally, a culture of development helps companies stay agile and flexible within their potentially dynamic industry.
I know that I deeply appreciate when my supervisor coaches me towards both professional and personal development. Caring about more than just the work your employees get done is a powerful way to show them that you’re invested in them as a person. When I feel supported and empowered in both these areas, I feel like I am an important part of the company’s success.
At the end of the day, company culture is everyone’s responsibility. It has become one of the most defining features of an organization in recent time because we’re beginning to understand that people deeply care about the environment that they work in. Remember that a positive company culture can significantly influence key aspects of your business - engagement, performance, and development and can make employees feel comfortable, supported and valued. What does your company culture look like, and what are you doing to continuously improve it?
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