As the economy takes a positive turn, a new concern is culture, including employee engagement and retention. According to Deloitte, 86 percent of companies rate work culture as a top priority in 2016. Culture is the values, beliefs, and behaviors that give meaning to an organization. It provides the filter through which people make decisions, how they work, and interact with others. It is communicated top-down, through leadership, but is observed bottom-up. “Culture makes the difference between organizations that are able to sustain themselves and those who will give way to their competitors,” says Debora McLaughlin, CEO of The Renegade Leader Coaching and Consulting Group and author of The Renegade Leader, 9 Success Strategies Driven Leaders Use to Ignite People, Performance & Profits (Balboa Press, June 2012). “Many organizations are talking about culture, but few are aware of the perception of their current culture or how to change it.”
Business leaders face a special challenge with millennials, who have high expectations on work-life balance, professional development, leadership opportunities, and a personal requirement that a business provides goods and services proven to make a positive difference in people’s lives. “Somehow, among the spreadsheets and reports, it was easy to forget that organizations are comprised of people, which is at the expense of the company,” says McLaughlin. “Focusing on culture, engagement, and retention will not only produce financial results, it will create an environment where performance, positivity, and possibility flourish.”
McLaughlin offers these five tips for creating an attractive, innovative, and employer-of-choice culture.
1. Assess your current culture. How does your workforce view your culture? Look at your current online reviews and conduct a cultural assessment with all employees.
2. Research and design the culture you need to have. Create a work culture that positions you for top talent, retains employees, and distinguishes you in the marketplace.
3. Create a roadmap. Provide a core statement or story that identifies and describes your work culture.
4. Begin the journey. Define culture through communication, leadership, and action groups in your work environment.
5. Implement a review process. Reassess, define, and cultivate your distinct culture.