9 Components of an High-Performance Culture
Why is having a high-performing business culture important?
A company culture is what defines each business; it is the DNA of your organisation though many do not know it exists. It is the true and unique identifier of a successful business. Aspects of your organisation like product and techniques can be replicated by another company; however, your culture is irreplaceable. It is the personality, its essence, and it is what differentiates your company from the competitors in the minds of the stakeholders.
A high-performing culture of an organisation is important since it is the formula that guides the team, motivates, and inspires employees to perform better. It also attracts the best talent and retains them inside the organisation. Great culture attracts and retains the best partners for successful business. What you believe in and stand for will make others want to associate with you. It defines how your team interacts among themselves and with the outside stakeholders specifically customers, media, partners, and suppliers.
So, what makes up the corporate culture?
The following elements define a company culture:
Paradigm:what the business is, its values, mission, and what it does.
Control systems: What process is established to monitor what is going on within the organisation.
Organisation structures:The hierarchy and workflow.
Power structure: the base of power, who makes what decisions and the spread of this power.
Symbols: Includes logos, unique designs, office locations, special parking spaces, and washrooms.
Rituals: these include management meetings, events, and board reports.
Stories and Myths: the values within the organisation, stories about the company history, legacy, events and people.
Healthy cultures motivate employees to perform better hence optimum utilisation of company resources resulting in better returns.
It helps develop strong relationships for productivity. Since organisations bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures, a strong organisation culture makes all employees work as a motivated team hence personal and organisational productivity.
A strong culture makes each one feel part of the team and empowers self-development — both on a professional and a personal level.
It brings sustained productivity increase as employees normally give only about 20% of their full potential. When leaders continue to work on the culture, productivity can keep increasing — there is no limit to improving performance.
With an increase in building the company culture, employees continue to take more personal responsibility for cost minimization to improve business profits.
A favourable attitude at work encourages employees to give their full potential enhancing overall business productivity. This reduces costs of production, resulting in low prices for the products, a better market share, and the growth of the organisation.
The company culture acts as a guide to how things should be done. This clear guidance sets the policy that when adhered to results in employees performing tasks as required, therefore attaining company objectives.
More successful companies
A high performing organisational culture creates a competitive advantage for the company. This results in clear differentiation, easy access to information and more productive teamwork, hence a workplace that produces better results. Organisations with highly performing cultures tend to ask questions about why they are not optimising then find ways to solve the bottlenecks to productivity.
Such organisations also find it easy to copy effective business strategies from other organisations. This is possible since such organisations can easily share information and work in teams as everyone understands how things are done. You can then customise these strategies and create your own recipe for success.
Employee’s impact on profit
There is a strong link between the level of employee happiness and company profits. Research has shown that there is a 12 percent increase in productivity in happy employees and a 10 percent drop in productivity for unhappy employees. Actively engaging employees in their work results in increased profitability for the business.
Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company.
— Brian Kristofek, President and CEO, Upshot
Values and Visions are important – but what else contributes?
When a company establishes strong values and culture, it gains both internal and external advantages including:
A company with strong culture influences the clients, potential customers, and suppliers to adopt its culture and way of doing things making the chain one big organisation or employees, customers, and suppliers for easy business processes and a stronger competitive advantage.
Strong core values help in decision-making in companies. A good example is a company culture that focuses on quality products, no poor quality product will be allowed to pass through processing or packaging.
With the ease with which people can now search for company information, a high-performing culture acts as a recruiting and retention tool for the best-skilled employees.
Practising company culture
The organisations that practice culture experience improved performance while allowing employees to individually achieve their greatness at work. Here are some ways this effort to improve employee performance impacts business sustainability and performance:
1. Improved morale: when your employees feel great about going to work their energy levels are elevated in the entire organisation. Employees know that the workplace is where they grow and achieve their potential making them want to work even harder. This is evident in meetings when employees are buzzing and do not want the meeting to end.
2. Increased employee retention: employees only stay at a job because they want to be there. A great culture should make everyone want to be a part of the team for the long run and not just stay because of the money. Start-ups commonly give shares to new employees to make them stay, however, a poor culture will make them leave in spite of that. A supporting environment will automatically make employees do their best and work for many years.
Related article : 5 Tips to Ensure Employee Retention of Remote Workers
3. Loyalty: a work environment that is unsafe and not supportive results in less productivity. When they feel supported emotionally and professionally, employees become more engaged naturally resulting in a productive team that is more accountable.
4. Boost reputation of the company: with a great culture, an organisation will attract competitive candidates whenever a position requires filling. There will be more media coverage if the culture and work environment is favourable.
How do we create a culture where employees feel valued?
When you notice the employees adding value to the organisation, they should be appreciated both privately and publicly. This can be their positive attitude, the effort put in a project, creativity, among other positive attributes. When employees know you appreciate their input, they will perform even better. People like being appreciated and this is even more valuable to them than money. Do it with sincerity and your organisation will greatly benefit.
When you involve employees in the mission and vision of the company and clearly explain to them what the culture of the organisation expects, they will do better than if they are left to their own devices. Give them a bigger purpose behind what they are working on and the interest will grow resulting in a stellar performance. An employee will not feel like they matter if no one has spared some time to explain things to them. Each person even the lowest in the hierarchy should be made to feel important to the attainment of the company objectives.
Other than the presence of the employee at work, they bring their history, personal stories, and personal life to work. Take notice of their life and create a connection so that you can better understand where they are coming from, where they are, and where they want to go. This will make them work better knowing that they matter.
Most employees value a company that takes open communications seriously. People prefer being engaged in an organisation. They wish to continue contributing with ideas and feel they are being heard — it helps to create a sense of belongingness.
The power of narrative
Charles Ellis’ book on “What It Takes: Seven Secrets of Success from the World’s Greatest Professional Firms” clearly talks about the most effective ways to build success in an organisation. A strong organisation culture is crucial and to build it, the company should focus on the power of the narrative. It is through the narrative that the company culture is communicated and shared with new employees. It is through the narrative that the organisation can establish its brand identity within the business, with partners, and customers.
The narrative value in your organisation goes beyond just telling stories in the annual reports and regular newsletters. When applying narrative through the daily work of the business, its brand identity is made clear and more appealing, the target audience is immediately engaged, and knowledge is easily gathered.
Brand identity: the best way to make the intangible values and attributes of the organisation easy to define is by use of stories. Every organisation has the big story and the small ones supporting the narrative. The big organisation narrative is at the core of the mission and vision. When the smaller stories are shared consistently, your brand is strengthened.
Audience engagement: your organisation can be humanised through stories about the people involved like clients, staff, and donors. These small stories reiterate the larger organisational narrative making it memorable, relatable, and easy to spread.
Smart leadership: this is the best easy to build credibility and create trust within your organisation. This deepens your relationships with everyone involved with your business.
Knowledge sharing: stories effectively lay the sustainable structure for sharing knowledge and clearly showing the seemingly invisible connections within the organisation narrative.
The importance of a company’s history
Company history as told in the large and smaller stories goes a long way to building trust with the brand. The customers will feel at ease and employees will feel secure working in the organisation. It acts as a strong basis for attracting highly skilled employees and engaging suppliers.
A good example is Coca-Cola and its museum. The world of Cola-Cola showcases the history of this great company containing so many areas of attraction. It takes the visitor through the history of the company from inception through the century.
The setup of the physical environment of a workplace is a major contributing factor in employee productivity. An example is an Open architecture vs. cubical environment. Here is a comparison:
Socialisation: With the growth of technology, chats, and emails, employees tend not to socialise when in cubicles hence the need for an open architecture to encourage people to talk.
Privacy: Based on what task an employee is assigned, privacy may be needed especially for executives or senior managers. The open plan may not work best for the employee who is always on phone. It should be implemented on a per employee basis.
Teamwork: When the task requires teamwork like in public accounting, the employees are better off working in an open architecture space than in cubicles.
On Distractions: An open office has one major disadvantage of inability to shut out the interference around you. The distractions can result in reduced productivity for some people.
Transparency: Open architecture creates a sense of transparency. This is towards the customers and fellow employees.
Celebrations in the organisation
These range from the monthly birthday party or quarterly rewards for best performing employees. Other than the enjoyment of the party, the organisation as a whole can benefit. Employees gain intangibly through these events. The benefits include:
This gives the employees recognition for their accomplishments in their personal lives as well as in the business. Recognitions show the employees that you care and are paying attention to what they do. Involving the organisation in personal events like weddings, birthdays, and the birth of new babies make them feel like a part of the community.
Celebrations at the workplace bring employees together from different departments, cultivating better relationships and a sense of unity. It gives the team a chance to bond in a relaxed atmosphere where they can get to know each other better informally.
Recognising staff during celebrations is a sure way of boosting staff morale even for those who have not received any recognition. It provides an enjoyable time to be off work and just rejoice. This results in better productivity at work.
When employees see their colleagues receive rewards and recognitions, they too get motivated to work harder to increase their chances of being honoured in future celebrations.
The leaders of the organisation should take celebrations and organisational traditions seriously due to the following benefits:
- It is a way to remind each other of past challenges and how far the organisation has come.
Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first
— Simon Sinek, author, Start with Why
How team-building helps with happiness of employees
1. Improved communication: communication barriers are broken down and individuals feel more at ease to share their opinions and thoughts on any subject with the rest of the team.
2. Team members can take responsibility for their own role while helping others accomplish their objectives. It pushes you away from the blame culture and creates a stronger sense of commitment among all employees.
3. In a busy workplace, team-building is the time individuals can develop skills. It is the time managers can discover the skills individual employees hold.
4. Team-building can create long-term benefits to any organisation. Everyone develops a sense of responsibility to the organisation and the objectives become more of teamwork than regular work.
5. Better relationships are created during team-building exercises. Collaboration and working together quickly helps in developing relationships among employees.
6. It taps into the hidden potential of the employee that they were not aware existed.
7. The employee is motivated to contribute their skills to the team hence workplace motivation.
Cultivate a growth mindset
For a business to thrive today, the leadership should focus on creating a growth mindset culture in the organisation. This should be developed all through the organisation until every employee has picked the growth momentum. It, however, should start and be supported from the top.
Mindset and the business as a whole
Developing a growth mindset in the organisation is beneficial to the business since:
1. It seeks out those who are always eager to learn. The business will not stall as long as employees keep on learning. This will help build a learning organisational culture that empowers innovation and it adapts to changes easily.
2. It is a way to allow employees to break the routine of their daily work and learn something new. It presents the opportunity for employees to develop their skills for the betterment of the company and themselves.
3. It builds a culture that is ready to accept risks and accommodate failure. This is the way to decrease stagnation and make employees be creative and try out their ideas.
4. those working at a growth mindset organisation feel more committed mainly because they know their growth potential can be realised in that environment. This motivation translates to improved productivity individually and for the organisation.
Why your company’s culture will benefit
The company culture can benefit from a growth mindset in the following ways:
- Individual employees develop stronger confidence in themselves.
For a business to develop a high performing culture, the most valuable assets in the organisation are your employee. Experiencing the real pleasure of working in a supportive organisation is both exciting and stimulating and creates the energy to support a profitable business. This results in genuine enthusiasm and pride in being part of the team and improved productivity for better profits — both financially and emotionally. Employee satisfaction goes hand-in-hand with performance improvement.
Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion.
– Brian Chesky, Co-Founder, CEO, Airbnb