A Columbia University study shows the true impact of a business’s culture: the likelihood of turnover at organisations with a poor or ill-defined Culture is 48.4 percent. While churn falls to just 13.9 percent in those organisations with a rich culture.
Patrick Lencioni, author of The Advantage, confirms that culture is a cornerstone of organisational health. And he defines a healthy organisation as one where “management, operations and culture are unified.”
Lencioni adds, “Healthy organisations outperform their counterparts, are free of politics and confusion, and provide an environment where star performers never want to leave.”
In an age where the ability to attract and retain talent provides businesses with a keen competitive advantage, questions of culture need to expand beyond HR and take on business-wide focus.
Here’s how to know if your culture needs a shake up – and 4 key takeouts to get things moving.
Lots of free lunches
First and foremost, culture is about the values and beliefs that guide behaviours. It’s not endless freebies and goodies. If perks are becoming a crutch rather than a secondary benefit, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.
Key takeout: Always relate your culture strategy back to the values and behaviours that you consider to be important. Make the process grassroots and democratic by creating a team of culture champions that span a range of departments and responsibility levels.
It seems obvious, but ask yourself: do our leaders and managers engage with employees? Do they spend time together? If not, it’s difficult to get the entire business bonding and working towards the same goals.
Key takeout: Establish mentoring systems and ensure all employees enjoy frequent social time that extends beyond day-end. Fostering connections – of employees to each other, and to the business’s overall objectives – is key.
Emotions are symptomatic of engagement levels and culture. And research shows that they spread like contagion – for better or worse. If negativity and gossip are rife in your quarters, it may be a sign all is not well.
Key takeout: You can’t stop employees talking – but you can make them happy. Treat employees like you would treat customers and think, how can I retain and satisfy my staff? Also be on the lookout for signs of interpersonal discontent long before they spiral into conflict or resignations.
Absenteeism is often the elephant in the room; employees say, ‘I’m sick’, when what they really mean is, ‘I’m sick of work’. If employees are using absence as a cover for stress and strains on their psychological wellbeing, it may be a sign they’re suffering on the job.
Key takeout: business by its nature has to constantly change and be striving forwards. But within this, find space – and budget – to proactively manage stress and psychological wellbeing with employee assistance or wellbeing programs. Create a culture where it’s safe to ask for help and support, and prioritise self-care around sleep, nutrition, exercise, and psychological wellbeing.
Want more ideas on how to transform your workplace? Download our webinar on resilience.