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2019 Global Culture Report

The 2019 Global Culture Report comes at a pivotal time, with the rapid pace of technological advances in business, major changes in workplace dynamics, and an increasing sense of disconnection in society. The workplace cultures organisations need in the future must be cultivated today. Companies should start by taking a hard look at how their employee experience is impacting their culture and begin connecting people to purpose, accomplishments, and one another.

Connection is essential to workplace culture. It changes mindsets, and bridges the differences caused by a diverse and digitalised workforce. It helps companies adapt and thrive in the sea of change and culture disruptors. It builds community when people feel increasingly disconnected. And it creates a workplace where people come together and work toward a common purpose.

At the conclusion of each of our focus groups, we asked participants to provide their thoughts on the importance of connection in the workplace. Why is connection with their peers and leaders so important? We heard 3 main themes:

1. People want to connect with their “second family.” Employees are working harder and spending more time in the workplace. Most employees spend more time at work than they do at home with their families on a given day. Connections and relationships at work create a more positive work experience. That’s important when people work 8-12 hours a day, 5 days a week.

2. Connections promote a sense of belonging. Humans are social creatures. We innately want to interact with other people. Employees want to fit in and belong in their organisation. They want to feel part of a team. A lack of connection leads to loneliness and uncertainty of whether or not the employee belongs at the organisation.

3. Connections create a feeling of making a difference. We hear over and over again that employees aren’t there just for the job. They want to feel a part of something bigger, contribute to a meaningful purpose, make a difference in the world. They want to strive for a common goal together, tackle challenges together, and find success together.


“Our culture is the bedrock on which our brand and our company is built. Our culture is our ultimate differentiator.”


Employees who feel a sense of belonging at work are 5.3 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.

Creating peak employee experiences in each of the six Talent Magnets builds connections to purpose, accomplishment, and to one another. These connections will produce a workplace culture where employees thrive.

Start with measuring your culture. Find out how you are doing in each of the Talent Magnets. How do your people feel about the employee experience? See where your peak employee experiences are. See where you need to improve. And then start improving.

Simple things like recognition, special projects, and continuous performance management are effective in improving all six talent magnets. Good leadership has the strongest influence on all the other magnets. If you are looking for solutions that give you the most impact, start with these.

Great workplaces empower employees and influence greatness. They make people feel connected and inspired. They are places employees want to engage with—not places where engagement is forced upon them. And that makes all the difference.

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Survey data collected and analysed by the O.C. Tanner Institute.

Qualitative findings are derived from 16 focus groups and 65 leaders among employees of larger companies and organisations, separated by gender. The groups were held in two phases: December 2017 and April 2018. Groups were conducted in Denver, CO; Minneapolis, MN; Toronto, CA; London, UK; and Sydney, AU. Each group represented a range of types of employers, including private companies, public companies, and government entities.

Quantitative findings are derived from online survey interviews administered to employees across Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States. The total sample size was 14,081 adults working at companies with 500+ employees. Fieldwork was undertaken between June 18–29, 2018.

This sample is sufficient to generate meaningful conclusions about the workplace culture of companies in included countries. However, as we do not have population data, results are subject to statistical errors customarily associated with sample-based information.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from the O.C. Tanner Institute.

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