The organizational culture is a reflection of the environment, behaviours, values, ideals and the language of those working in the workplace. In one of my previous blogs, I spoke about the importance of employee engagement and how highly engaged employees are 21% more productive. It is time to take a reality check to see if your organisation has a culture that is supportive of engagement.
While Salary is important and is a hygiene factor, it is not the only engaging factor. Here is a quick look at how you can ensure a positive culture, as employee engagement is a direct result of the culture of your organisation.
Organisational culture always starts at the top, with the leader as the role model. A leader must understand that he/she is constantly being watched and emulated. The best leaders are those who can connect with the employees and create a bond. They are not the ones who arrive in fancy cars and just sit in a closed AC cabin. Spending time with employees at work can create a bond that makes people feel appreciated.
In the age where everything is personalised, it is also important for leaders to be the same and truly care for the people they work with. Nothing beats taking genuine interest in the welfare of the people you work with. Addressing someone by their name is an effective means to reach out to them and even gain that emotional connect. Employees will also feel valued if a leader seems to know them personally. Personalisation also brings in mutual respect.
Giving regular and honest feedback that focuses on the positives can increase employee engagement. If there is more focus on the negative, the more negative people will become. Having said that, completely ignoring people is the worst crime a leader can do. It is important to give regular feedback even if it is corrective in nature. It is also important to focus on the issue and not the person when giving corrective feedback. Along with feedback, it is also important to provide recognition and rewards in a timely manner.
Organisations must have a culture where people have the liberty to speak. A healthy culture is one where employees have the ability to be candid. Insincerity and manipulation cannot build engagement. Candour involves having honest conversations with sincerity and a positive intent. It focuses on facts and aims to aid, not to offend. As a leader, you should not manage your team by fear. Give employees the freedom to speak and express their ideas even if you don’t necessarily agree with their philosophy. An open-minded listening will go a long way. Sharing views and thoughts with them without inhibiting them supports engagement. Organizations where anyone is free to walk into the cabin of their leader and freely share their views is more likely to have this culture.
Learning and growth
If organisations are able to build a culture of constant learning and growth, they will definitely be high in engagement. This somehow must include not only organisational, but also personal growth. Learning creates an environment of freshness and builds camaraderie as these engagements brings different teams together on a common platform.
It is important for organisations to ensure that employees have work that challenges them. Work that utilises their skills and give them room to improve are crucial when it comes to levels of engagement. The work that is given must have a clear purpose that will give satisfaction to employees.
Freedom to Try and Fail
Leaders who inspire and give autonomy to make decisions with clear goals and accountability are perceived as engaging leaders. If employees know that they can give something a try and have the freedom to fail even, greater creativity will be unleashed with greater engagement. In fact, failure is the biggest teacher and the ones who have grown most and those who have tasted failure at least once. Of course, this is keeping in mind that the task has adequate safety nets to ensure it does not impact the business.
In today’s virtual world, it is also crucial to ensure that you engage with employees virtually as well. Having regular video calls is one way to ensure that the connection is not lost. If possible, planning face-to-face meetings is also a good idea. Nothing works better than a physical meeting.
Once you have worked on a culture that supports engagement, ensure that you involve your team as well. Employees will then see themselves as being instrumental in determining your company’s culture. Also, it is an ongoing aspect to build culture and must be recurrently refined according to the times.