The Role of Leadership in Enhancing Company Culture

Gallup’s recent announcement that employee engagement in the U.S. has risen up to 34% was seen as a sign of progress. But should we really settle for a situation where two-thirds of our workforce is still not fully engaged?

The employees of an organization through their everyday actions and level of engagement affects the culture of the companythe organization. However, what are the variable that impacts the actions and engagement of the employees?
In this Gallup Study, it is said that the right culture is at the hear of it all. What many companies mistakenly believe impacts feelings of job satisfaction are in fact just that temporary, unreliable feelings and not truly engagement. The right company culture incorporates the following traits:

  • Ongoing feedback. According to the Society of Human Resources 2018 Report, it was found that 89% of HR leaders agreed that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins were key for successful outcomes
  • Having a voice According to the report by Salesforce, Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
  • Display of empathy by leadership, echoed by employees. According to a recent work state empathy report, 96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention.  Interestingly enough, while 92% of CEO’s felt their employees were empathetic, only 50% of employees said they felt their CEO was empathetic. This is a huge reason for why I put a great emphasis on Emotional Intelligence Coaching in my practice in the executive level.  Both ways it is highly contagious.
  • A strong employee wellness program. CareerBuilder’s survey on stress in the workplace also finds 31% of respondents report extremely high levels of stress at work.   In my consulting practice, I have seen that the critical factor in determining the success of wellness programs is the involvement and commitment of senior leadership—a fact confirmed by a report by the American Psychological Association.   This report discusses how, a comprehensive and holistic wellness program will help employees change their lifestyle and make better choices, resulting in higher productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Improved physical environment supportive of healthy habits. Research by Willis Towers Watson demonstrates how a growing number of employers are defining workplace health as a central part of company culture and strategy.  Companies finally understand that wellness must permeate every aspect of an organization. Reshaping the physical environment to encourage healthy behavior includes adding healthy foods to breakrooms and restaurant delivery menus, ergonomic workstations, and appropriate lighting.
  • A supportive worklife balance environment A recent Glassdoor survey reminds us that our conception of wellness has to go beyond traditional health measures; 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitments.  No, it is not non-sense, and yes, it is possible.
  • As discussed above, the impact of leadership is more direct and profound. The effect of leadership usually revolves around the workplace environment, employee engagement, and business success.
  • Leadership influences workforce thinking and models the success mindset through strategy oriented cultural efforts.   It strengthens the base of the company’s culture in order to motivate employees genuinely to meet their own mission of feeling good and the mission of the organization, doing good.

    Here are additional thoughts about how strong leadership can help create a great work culture for an organization:

    Leaders can aim to bring benefits to their clients and to their Employees

    • A responsible leader always aims at the good of his/her clients as well as employees. She/he considers the needs of their clients and ensures that employees are able and willing to put their best efforts to help their clients through their journey. This approach requires empathy and a close ear to the ground by the leader to have the true concerns understood and to solve problems creatively and with caring support.

    Leaders Look Beyond Productivity

    • A company requires individuals who have the potential to get the job done. That being said, organization are also responsible to shape and grow employees talent. Strong leadership insures growth mentality in that wellness, voice and healthy habits are just as important as other types of job related training.   Often times, employees feel like they are just mere gears of an income-generating machine. Organizations that apply a wholistic approach in developing their employees are ultimately the first line of winners because their employees are enjoying their work and enhancing their careers in the process.

     

    • Leaders design their talent pool according to not just bottom line contribution but according to their overall strategy oriented contribution.
    • Successful leaders work with their team members to help them expand their knowledge and sharpen their skills. They motivate them to be interested in being at their best with their coworkers and with their clients. If a leader or manager does not walk the strategy talk of the organization, they should not be reinforced through promotions.  The strategy oriented succession plan insures that as leaders take up new responsibilities and challenges, they continue to ensure that their teams stays connected and grows emotionally along with the progress of the company.

    Leaders Focus on Organizational Unity

    • According to the Halo Effect bias, we all have the tendency to get attracted to those we perceive to be similar to us. This creates the potential for  division into subcultures or clicks. We prefer being with people who belong to our own culture, speak our mother tongue, and think and work like us. However, in a true culture of engagement, there is no room for negative biases.  Constant opportunities for embracing unfamiliar territories and trust building will ensure natural barriers are crushed.  In my practice I suggest at least three team building, events where various departments, divisions, leaders and coworkers will be invited to spend outings together strategizing, brainstorming and letting off steam together.  We can expect to work together towards achieving a common goal, if we  cannot even communicate with one another without fear or bias.. Organization silos are typical examples of this and unfortunately many programs are geared more toward the work component in breaking this, then going deeper to the human mind and making lasting impact.

     

    Leaders Keep the Thirst Alive for Continuous Learning

     

    • Successful leaders always have a focus on employee growth. They know that irrespective of their positions, all the employees of a company have something or the other to teach their fellow workers. Keeping this in mind, the leaders create room for natural collaboration aligned with performance and fun. This, in turn, helps in keeping the thirst to explore and learn active.

    Employee engagement and wellness are finally taking center stage in the business world as a leadership priority. For too long, they have been viewed as the responsibility of the HR department and not an integral part of business strategy. However, it is increasingly clear that unhealthy and unengaged employees are a drag on productivity, innovation, and the bottom line, and this is a nightmare every leader can’t sleep with at night.

    For further information about how to generate smart leaders and create a positive work culture, visit http://www.centerforworklife.com/