In my 30 plus years in Human Resources and as a culture consultant, I have seen many variations of employee engagement, leadership style, delegation, control, collaboration, level of turnover, ease of attraction and organizational success. So how does one tie employees, leaders and culture into the equation of organizational success? Do employees have a role?
A defined or conscious culture™ is one clear differentiator of an organization’s competitive advantage and ultimately long term financial success. There is a saying: When culture and strategy clash, culture wins. It is my belief that organizations prosper when employees love what they do, enjoy who they work with and feel connected to the company they work for. A conscious and thoughtful culture that is unique to each organization can pave the way to employee job satisfaction and the desire of employees to both reach individual achievement and desire organizational realization.
Employees want work that is stimulating and enjoyable. They desire connection and friendship at work. They want to learn, grow and enjoy the experience of work. Work is not just work; it is spending time positively impacting themselves and the world around them. Millennials in particular care more about organizational culture, job fit, growth opportunities and work/life balance than they do about compensation. They want to feel that their work is making a difference to the overall growth of the company. Pay attention because right now they are the largest number of employees in the workforce only growing with time.
While employees do matter, so do leaders. If employees are driven to succeed and feel they are contributing to making the world a little better, the organization will reach new heights toward their purpose and goals. Leaders need to make that vision clear, known and understood by both employees and applicants. Leaders are tasked with providing the vision and mission of the company while co-creating the values of the organization with employees. Leaders need to determine why the organization exists so that employees can connect to something bigger than themselves. People are most fulfilled and happiest when the work is aligned with their own inner passion. Personal passion, corporate purpose and business performance all go together. An organization that has a strong purpose and has effectively communicated it clearly and consistently will naturally attract people who align with the purpose.
When I worked for Bridge Bank as the SVP Human Resources Director, Bridge Bank received the honors of being selected and one of the Best Banks to Work For in 2014 and made the Top Workplace list in Silicon Valley for mid-sized companies in 2013. Studies have shown that 82% of the managers feel that being recognized as a Best Place to Work improves morale and 95% believe being a Best Place to Work will help them recruit talent. Being chosen as a great place to work sends a strong signal out to employees and applicants that leadership cares about employees and the culture that is mutually created.
A successful culture is one where each individual brings their whole self into their work. Employees are critical to culture. Leaders are critical to culture. And culture matters to organizational success.