O.C. Tanner Releases 2021 Global Culture Report at Annual Influence Greatness Conference

SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 29, 2020
O.C. Tanner, the global leader in employee recognition and workplace culture, today announced the release of its 2021 Global Culture Report. In its third year, the report provides an in-depth look at timely workplace culture and employee experience issues based on data gathered from over 40,000 employees and leaders in 20 countries around the world. The report was announced at O.C. Tanner's annual culture conference, Influence Greatness, which took place virtually this year.

"2020 has brought a series of health, economic and social crises that have shined a light on organizational cultures in a way that has exposed both strengths and weaknesses," said Gary Beckstrand, Vice President of the O.C. Tanner Institute. "Organizations with thriving cultures have weathered the storm far better than others, but there's an impetus right now for organizations everywhere to stay agile as the current era of uncertainty continues. The 2021 Global Culture Report provides insights that will inform organizations as they make the necessary adjustments to successfully move forward as they create or maintain a great place to work for employees."

As a reflection of 2020, the report identifies the need for organizations to shed the current "normal" in favor of a more aspirational future. The research highlights how superficial diversity and inclusion programs merely mitigate legal risk, rather than uplift employees and leverage their unique perspectives. It illustrates how stale and impersonal recognition programs fail to achieve their desired effect on experience and culture, and how generational initiatives backfire by highlighting the differences of each group instead of the similarities. Additionally, the report breaks down how traditional leadership is out and modern leadership is in; autocratic managers cling to dead philosophies that hurt culture and business outcomes. Ultimately, corporate lip service won't cut it – to be successful, organizations must put the right action behind their words and implement modern technology that helps employees thrive.

"This past year, we continued to examine the effect of how outdated and disconnected technologies, programs, strategies and leadership philosophies have, and will continue to, hinder individual and organizational performance," said Dr. Alexander Lovell, Director of Research and Data Science at the O.C. Tanner Institute. "The 2021 Global Culture Report is a clear call for action; employees expect a workplace that is rich in vibrant experiences and one where all employees can thrive at work and feel included. It is time for organizations to heed this call or risk falling behind."

Sample key findings include:

  • Impact of COVID-19 on company culture outcomes:
  • Engagement: 11% decrease
  • Employee net promoter score: 6% decrease
  • Burnout: 15% increase
  • Intention to leave: 5% decrease
  • Eighty-seven percent of employees say their organization's recognition program is stale, outdated or used as disguised compensation.
  • Only 44% of employees say their organization's diversity and inclusion efforts feel sincere, while even fewer (34%) feel they are effective.
  • Over a third of respondents (35%) report their organization is not doing enough to address discrimination internally.
  • Organizations with healthy cultures are 16x more likely to retain their Generation Z employees.
  • Millennials are the most likely (53%) to project a sense of superiority and admit that they approach things differently than other generations, but they also feel their approach is better (52%). Likewise, they acknowledge they have difficulty relating to coworkers of other generations (37%), but believe stereotypes of other generations are accurate (47%).
  • Nearly a third of respondents (29%) report that their organization has stopped investing in cutting-edge technology, while another 31% report that existing technology is difficult to use.
  • Only 17% of today's leaders are considered modern leaders.

This comprehensive report, which serves up actionable data for business leaders seeking change, can be accessed at O.C. Tanner's website here: https://www.octanner.com/global-culture-report.html.  

About O.C. Tanner
O.C. Tanner is the global leader in software and services that improve workplace culture by creating powerful employee experiences. Its Culture Cloud suite of applications and solutions — including recognition, service awards, wellbeing, leadership and celebrations — helps people thrive at work. O.C. Tanner provides these and other services for thousands of the most respected companies in the world. For more information visit octanner.com.

Research Methodology
The O.C. Tanner Institute uses multiple research methods to support the global culture report, including interviews, focus groups, cross-sectional surveys, and a longitudinal survey.

Qualitative findings came from 12 focus groups and 77 interviews among employees and leaders of larger organizations. Each group represented various types of employers, including both private and public entities.

Quantitative findings came from online survey interviews administered to employees across Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The total sample size is 40,175 workers at companies with 500+ employees.

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