I still love the phrase by Peter Drucker “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. It’s so true in practice, it’s essential to have a clear strategy that is well communicated but if your culture is not aligned with and supporting this strategy, it will fail.
Employee behaviour is the lead indicator of strategy execution. High performance needs to be the expected employee behaviour. Leaders must also walk the talk because do as I say not as I do, does not lead to a high-performance culture.
In my previous HR roles, I analysed hundreds of employee opinion & culture surveys and conducted countless exit interviews and found consistent trends with under performing companies - weak and even toxic cultures.
Do you want to avoid these practices and be proactive with creating a high performance, employee focused culture? Then here are my recommendations:
- Communicate, clearly & consistently. Increase communication and information flow through the business and make it effective and timely. Start with sharing the bigger picture and how the team contributes to that.
- Provide role clarity by clearly defining responsibilities and expected standards of performance, through simple Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
- Implement a performance management program, tailored to your culture and business strategy. Talented employees generally want to speak about their performance and want to learn and grow.
- Understand what motivates your employees. How do you find this out? Ask them! Remember, each person is motivated differently.
- Measure employee and customer satisfaction. This can be done through surveys. Action must be taken with the results to show their opinions really count.
- Provide recognition for high performance. Make sure high performers know they are valued. This does not need to be financial, it may be praise or a development opportunity.
- Quickly address unacceptable behaviour and consistent under performance. Don’t let this become the norm.
- Treat everyone with respect and trust and care about them as a person, not just an employee.
In the book, The Service Profit Chain by Heskett, Sasser & Schlesinger, they state a convincing case, that no matter what your business, the ONLY way to generate enduring profits is to begin by building the kind of culture that attracts, focuses, and keeps talented employees.
When you lose talented employees, you also lose what's in their heads and usually to your competition, now that's a double whammy!
Exit interviews can provide valuable insights and information but it's reactive - the talented employee is already walking out the door.
Gallop research (meta-analysis) shows a direct link between employee opinions, productivity, retention, customer satisfaction and profits! This is why so many organisations undertake employee opinion/culture surveys.
You don't need to be Disney or Google to have an amazing culture. You do need to focus and invest time and energy into creating it.