Company culture and employee engagement have an intricate relationship.
A strong culture brings people together, energizes and educates, and can often have a lifelong impact on the people involved. And employee engagement is often the biggest indicator of the type of culture present in a business.
So what is culture, exactly?It is defined as the beliefs and behaviors that make up a company’s social and psychological environment, including shared attitudes, expectations, values, customs, and assumptions. There are rules that have been agreed upon over time, oftentimes unofficially, but are still considered law. We see culture in the way a company conducts business, how it treats its employees, customers, and the surrounding community, and – you guessed it – the level of engagement present in its employees.
It is defined as the beliefs and behaviors that make up a company’s social and psychological environment, including shared attitudes, expectations, values, customs, and assumptions. There are rules that have been agreed upon over time, oftentimes unofficially, but are still considered law. We see culture in the way a company conducts business, how it treats its employees, customers, and the surrounding community, and – you guessed it – the level of engagement present in its employees.
In fact, studies have shown that culture influences many employee metrics, including job satisfaction, trust, commitment, and overall relationship quality with the business. So what kind of culture encourages employee engagement, and how do leaders create it?
Establish a Cause and a Mission
Determine an area of society in which your company can have a significant impact, one where you can truly make a difference while also showcasing your greatest strength.
For instance, Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”; Amazon’s vision is “to be the earth’s most customer-centric company”. These industry leaders have mission statements that align perfectly with what they are known for, as well as with what they are actually accomplishing.
Lead by Example
Be the kind of person you want your employees to be, and treat them as you would want them to treat your best customers. Engendering moral values like honesty and integrity is key so that employees, managers, and leaders feel that they can trust each other and voice their ideas and concerns freely, without fear of punishment.
Remember that your employees have lives outside of work, and respect and support that by addressing issues such as child care, family benefits, and sick days. Treat them as individuals who are truly cared for and valued, and create an atmosphere where they feel free to express affection and compassion for each other.
Encourage Participation and Innovation
Give employees opportunities to participate in decision-making.
The knowledge that their voice is heard and that it has influence is empowering. Encourage them to take risks, to think outside the box, and to be open to change and differing opinions. And because teaching others is the surest way to remember and really grasp a concept, emphasize collaboration and sharing knowledge.
Cultivate Social Responsibility
A good business should balance profit-making with pursuits that benefit society, and recognize its duty to the environment by launching “green” initiatives such as recycling, instituting a rewards system for greener commuting such as public transit, biking, carpooling, or committing to only do business with companies with similar environmentally conscious initiatives.
Create a Fun, Positive Work Atmosphere
Employees work better in an uplifting, positive workplace, so celebrate achievements and milestones, reward goals met, and appreciate contributions. Strive to treat all employees fairly by not showing favoritism, and by providing opportunities for professional upward mobility,
Appreciate the different views everyone brings to the table. Exposing yourself to the diversity of others is character-building, so welcome people of different race, nationalities, genders, religions, and appreciate their unique perspectives.
Be Open and Transparent
Share information freely, and be accurate, complete, and timely. Emphasize that cheating and lying will not be tolerated, and strive to avoid biases of any kind. Employees should feel safe to voice their opinions, ideas, and even criticisms in a nonjudgmental atmosphere.