Employee Engagement (defn.): employee’s investment of time, energy, creativity, knowledge, skills and abilities to fulfill expectations of work assigned.
Business/Corporate Culture (defn.): the philosophy, values, behavior, dress codes, etc., that together constitute the unique style and policies of a company.
The above phrases are defined numerous ways by numerous sources. The above definitions include the factors that comprise Employee Engagement and Business/Corporate Culture. They are offered because culture and engagement are causally related.
Business culture stimulates the quantity and quality of employees’ engagement. This means engagement in performing their individual job. It means engagement in contributing to team projects, objectives, and goals. It certainly means engagement in fulfilling company requirements and obligations.
The more an employee appreciates, identifies with, and receives energy from the business culture, the more eagerly she engages: in her job, with her team, for the company.
If that is true — and it is — so is this: keeping the business culture timely and vibrant keeps the engagement by employees meaningful and intense. Let’s look at 3 Culture Shaping Responsibilities every leadership team owns if they want to keep employees engaged, especially increasingly engaged.
1. Pay Attention To The Big Picture
Pay attention to the needs for your big picture culture and pay attention to the wants for your individual employees culture. Include both in your business culture. The topmost leaders of the business can’t help but see and focus on the big picture. Success in the specific industry and the current economy may require a culture that is intense, independent, and entrepreneurial. Or success may be better generated by high levels of teamwork and measured progress. Or success may come from a think-tank strategy that keeps the business ahead of the competition. More than likely, business leaders already have this in mind as part of their company definition.
Just remember to pay attention at the individual level as well. What kind of employee best serves your business? That is answered, of course, by their specific skills and abilities, their work habits and their views of individual success and satisfaction. Social media? (Un)structured work-environment? Health & wellness offerings? Creative opportunity?
The goal is to fit together individual wants with business needs to form a seamless and satisfying corporate culture. That culture encourages employees to engage in their work because they want to.
2. Pay Attention To Your Culture
Pay attention to making your business culture “front of mind consciousness” throughout your company. Culture can be like vision: put into a neat phrase, engraved on a pretty plaque, hung up somewhere and forgotten. The frequently and regularly managers and employees should talk about the business culture — in real terms, in real time. Business culture is meant to live, breathe, and change as the business situations change. That happens when culture is embedded in communication, when people constantly talk about what’s going on. Try these:
- Have “Culture News” as a 5 minute regular agenda item for meetings. The team can decide what to do with it. Just be sure it’s talk about the corporate culture.
- Invite informal feedback that essentially answers this question: “What do you like about our company culture?”
- Invite informal feedback that answers this question: “What don’t you like about our company culture?”
The purpose is more to bring individuals’ awareness/appreciation of culture to the forefront. If the culture vibrates positively, they will make added effort. That’s engagement. If there’s no vibration, the sooner you find out, the sooner you can make the changes.
3. Pay Attention To Your Behavior
Pay attention to behaving the culture. In her discussion of culture change, Nancy Rubin cites “Guiding behavioral principles: how [leaders] expect all associates to behave” as a critical element.
Take that one step further: expect leaders and managers to pay attention to their own behavior. Guarantee that leadership behavior matches culture expectations. Employees are quick to emulate their managers’ behavior. They are even quicker to notice when the walk doesn’t match the talk.
Becoming a more effective leader involves more than defining the culture. It requires more than espousing the culture. It demands living the culture for the workforce to see. Because seeing is believing.
Paying attention to a vibrant business culture results in vibrant engagement by the workforce.
(About the Author: As an Employee Engagement and Performance Improvement expert, Tim Wright, has worked with businesses and national associations of all sizes. His company, Wright Results, offers proven strategies and techniques to help businesses increase employee engagement, improve personnel performance and build a strong business culture by focusing on performance management from the C.O.R.E. For more information, visit www.wrightresults.com or connect with Tim here: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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