Research from the 2021 Global Culture Report shows company cultures provide a critical competitive advantage for organizations, especially in times of crisis. Workplace cultures are made up of 6 key elements that, when done well, make an organization a magnet for talent:
Companies that excel in these six Talent Magnets™ are:
• 4x more likely to have highly engaged employees
• 4x more likely to have employees that are promoters on the standard Net Promotor Score (NPS)
• 74% more likely to have increased in revenue last year
• 7x more likely to have employees innovating and performing great work
• 11x less likely to have experienced layoffs in the past year
□ My organization has a meaningful purpose that positively affects others.
□ Employees at my organization understand how their work contributes to our purpose.
□ My organization provides opportunities to learn and grow.
□ Employees at my organization are empowered to make decisions and lead.
□ Employees at my organization are able to engage in special projects.
□ Recognition is an everyday part of our culture.
□ Success is talked about and shared throughout the organization.
□ My organization innovates when faced with an obstacle.
□ Great work is recognized frequently.
□ Recognition is given in a personal and sincere way.
□ Our organization recognizes both large and small efforts.
□ Employees are a top priority in my organization.
□ Employees feel a sense of belonging and inclusion.
□ Leaders regularly connect with their people.
□ Leaders inspire and mentor rather than gatekeep and micromanage.
□ Leaders connect employees to purpose, accomplishment, and one another.
Once you’ve identified which areas you need to improve, leverage these simple yet powerful best practices to start transforming your workplace culture:
Have an engaging purpose. Employees want to feel connected to something greater and make a difference in the world. This is particularly important to Gen Z employees. Articulate the difference your organization makes to the world and highlight the unique benefit your company provides your employees, your customers, and society. When done well, there is an 858% increase in likelihood that employees will be engaged.
Connect individual employee contributions directly to purpose. Employees want to know how their specific work matters. By frequently and consistently connecting an employee’s work to the greater organizational purpose, you not only reinforce that purpose but show the value an employee’s work brings to your customers. When employees feel they are doing meaningful work, there is a 61-point increase in employee Net Promoter Score and a 49% increase in motivation to contribute.
Empower all employees to lead. Leaders aren’t just those with an official title. Empower every employee to take ownership of their work, project, and sphere of influence. When organizations believe and treat every employee as a leader, regardless of title, they are 304% more likely to have an above-average Opportunity score.
Utilize special projects. Being chosen to participate in a special project shows employees they are valued and have unique talents. It gives them visibility with leaders and peers they may not normally interact with, and exposes them to new knowledge and skills. Working on special projects affects an employee’s sense of opportunity, but also impacts their engagement, perceptions of leaders, and motivation to do great work.
Share success. Broadcast stories of employee success and victories in town halls, team meetings, emails, and newsletters. Publicly recognize employees when they do great work. When news of success is shared across the organization, employees are 82% more likely to know what success looks like at the organization, and 57% more likely to feel appreciated.
Allow for safe failure. Give employees the room to take smart risks, and acknowledge and learn from failure. When failure is an accepted part of the innovation process, there is 166% more innovation leading to 60% more great work happening. When employees feel their company encourages innovation, 78% are committed to staying with that employer.
Embed recognition in your everyday culture. Employee recognition is most successful when it’s an integrated part of an organization’s culture. Recognition is successfully integrated and embedded when it happens frequently and is given in personal ways, like with O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud.
Organizations with integrated recognition are 4X more likely to have highly engaged employees, 2X more likely to have increased in revenue over the past year, and 44% less likely to have employees suffering from burnout.
Make recognition personal and meaningful. The best recognition moments are thoughtful and personalized to the individual recipient. Tailor both the experience and the award to reinforce that employees are valued as individuals for their unique contributions. When recognition is personalized, appreciation scores increase 747% and organizations have a 11x greater odds of high employee engagement.
Build an inclusive culture. Inclusivity doesn’t just mean diversity. It’s helping employees connect to the organization and feel like they belong. Foster a work environment where employees are valued as individuals and can bring their authentic selves to work, no matter what their race, gender, age, ability, sexual orientation or background. When an organization’s culture is inclusive, employees are 141% more likely to feel a sense of belonging.
Have regular one-to-ones with your people. Research shows monthly one-to-ones decrease the odds of burnout by 39%; bi-weekly one-to-ones reduce the odds by 84%. Encourage leaders to hold regular one-to-one meetings with each of their people even if it has to be virtually or over the phone. Meetings should include time for feedback and checking in on projects, but more importantly time for recognition, mentoring/coaching, brainstorming, and development opportunities. Tools like O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud can help.
Develop modern leaders. Modern leaders are those who mentor and coach rather than micromanage and gatekeep. They advocate for their people, help them build connections in and outside the team, and inspire great work. When organizations have modern leaders, rather than traditional leaders, engagement increases 40% and odds of burnout decrease 57%.
Help leaders connect their people. Modern leaders connect their people to three things: purpose, accomplishment, and one another. These connections can be easily made in recognition moments or one-to-one meetings. When leaders connect employees to all three areas, organizations are 10x more likely to have a thriving culture, and 11x more likely to be inclusive.
These best practices can help you build a culture where employees thrive. Refer back to the checklist periodically to gauge your improvements, or conduct a Culture Assessment to get deeper insights. Focus on creating peak employee experiences in each of the six talent magnets, and you’ll be well on your way to helping your people thrive.
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