Putting Culture into Action: How to Build Employee Engagement
Our recent articles on the impact of company culture on retaining talent have covered basic cultural definitions, the post-pandemic work environment, leadership development factors and elements of successful communications. To round out this series, we’re taking a closer look at specific practices that help to boost employee engagement.
Once your organization has a cultural framework in place, people need to know that it’s real. Meaningful actions that they can see and feel are essential to building lasting engagement. The kind of engagement we’re talking about goes beyond mere job satisfaction – it’s a willingness to invest discretionary effort in the mission of your organization.
What makes people want to go the extra mile?
As you plan steps to make your culture visible, it helps to frame them around the deeper factors that fuel real engagement. Your employees want to know that:
- Their jobs have a purpose beyond just maximizing profits
- They have a voice in how work processes are created and improved
- They have a real pathway to opportunity rather than a fixed dead-end role
- Their work creates results that contribute to the goals of the organization
- They’re part of a community where they’re valued as whole people
During months of lockdown, our clients and partners discovered they needed new ways to break down silos and draw in remote workers. The sudden shift to a remote workforce intensified their search for creative ways to extend cultural outreach beyond the walls of the traditional office.
How can you keep a distributed workforce engaged?
A common observation about keeping distributed workers connected is to clearly communicate the opportunities that come with change. Too often people focus on what’s missing, rather than leveraging the potential advantages of their new surroundings. Cultural messaging should be truthful about challenges but balanced with realistic benefits. For example, giving people grace for things like “Zoom Fatigue” but celebrating the flexibility of virtual connections.
Here are some practices that promote healthy culture:
- Listen actively through frequent surveys and executive Q&A sessions
- Be careful not to take everything too seriously – add lighthearted elements of fun
- Stay flexible – make outcomes more important than rigid structures
- Make sure that front line workers have an autonomous voice in process matters
- Pay attention to differences in generational needs – culture is not one-size-fits-all
Watch for ways you can extend things like pizza celebrations, bagel gatherings, or “pints for programmers” events to include your remote contributors with home deliveries. Most important of all, make sure that your communications structures include dedicated time to have regular culture conversations.
Continuing the culture conversation
We look forward to discussing how culture can contribute to a healthy bottom line. Contact us today to learn about the programs, tools and resources we offer to help guide this process.