The Link Between a Work Culture and Performance

Posted by on Thursday, June 16th, 2016 and is filed under .

3174_fullRecent headlines of new company relocations, existing company expansions, and the continued decline of our local unemployment rate, all represent big “wins” and great news for our county. While indeed good news, these positive business trends also create a challenge for business owners and managers. That challenge is how to find, hire, and keep top talent.

One critical factor for attracting and retaining top talent is the culture of your company. A recent study by Deloitte (“Global Human Capital Trends 2016”) cited “culture” as important among 86% of executives and human resource leaders, and 82% viewed a positive corporate culture as a potential competitive advantage for their businesses.

A great example of where workplace culture is a competitive advantage is Google. Google is consistently named one of the best companies to work for year after year.   And why? At Google, employees (called “Googlers”) are highly valued and work in a collaborative and creative work environment they look forward to being a part of everyday. For example, every employee is welcome to share ideas with and ask questions of top Google executives anytime. Googlers also enjoy an incredible work environment in their 70+ offices around the world. From in-office cafes and pubs to bowling alleys, meeting “eggs” (to hatch great ideas), indoor parks and mother’s rooms, it’s hard to imagine having a bad day there. “But what if I have an IT issue? Will it take forever for one of those internal IT people to help me?” Nope, not at Google. They have dedicated “Tech Support Ninjas” in every location that are available 24/7. As a result of this wonderful business culture, “Googlers” work hard to achieve the vision and the goals of the company. The Google culture attracts top talent; people want to work there.

The good news is that businesses don’t have to have the scale and resources of a Google to create a positive workplace culture. A great culture can be found in a two-person start-up or an established company with hundreds of employees. A good workplace culture starts with the entrepreneur or business owner and the principles and practices that she establishes and pursues. In my consulting and business research I’ve found several principles common to great corporate cultures:

  • Valuing employees and employee contributions (People)
  • Openness & willingness to share company information (Communication)
  • An orientation toward action (Action)
  • Pursuit of constant improvement (Standards)
  • Monitoring, measurement, and accountability (Scorecard)
  • And making the work environment FUN.

Principles are important, but alone they are not enough to create and sustain a great culture. Open communication is critical. Effective communication and measurement practices that I have observed in companies with great cultures include:

  • Owners issue frequent communications throughout the entire organization via email, phone, and face-to-face meetings. At a minimum, employees receive a “weekly update” detailing firm financial and performance results.
  • Owners identify, establish and clearly communicate the key priorities for their organization.
  • Owners keep themselves accountable through monitoring and measurement of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to customers and employee satisfaction, revenue, operations and finances.

Good communication is the common thread that ties together many of the best culture building practices. If you don’t already meet with your teams on a consistent basis, a weekly meeting in which you share your business results and allow for questions regarding company performance is one simple, easy way to improve your workplace culture. It will demonstrate how much you value your employees and increase their commitment to achieving the overall goals and desired results for your business. Then, consider taking some inspiration from companies like Google and make your environment more pleasing to work in!

Business owners and managers who embrace these principles and practices are often successful in creating a strong culture that attracts and helps retain top talent.

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Bob Keimer is an Instructor of Management and Co-Director of the Student Business Incubator at the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business at the Florida Institute of Technology. He is also a Facilitator in the Ignite 360 Program at weVENTURE. He can be reached at: rkeimer@fit.edu, (321) 961-8371.

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