Company culture. Employee engagement. Corporate values. Servant leadership.
At one time maybe these were just fancy buzzwords, but now they describe workplace reality in the 21st century. Sure, some organizations still operate with that top-down, Flintstonian mentality. You don’t question executive decisions and whether you’re content or find your job rewarding is irrelevant. You’re receiving a paycheck and are expected to do your job. Keep your trap shut and be miserable on your own time.
Only now there is irrefutable evidence of the relationship between happy employees and profitability. In his book, Culture Hacker, Shane Green references a study from the University of Warwick in England indicating that happy employees increase productivity by 12% while unhappy employees decrease productivity by 10%. Disgruntled employees mean dissatisfied customers, Green says, and eventually you’ll lose both. Bet on it.
Gallup’s 2017 “State of the American Workplace” reveals that engaged employees boost profits by 20%. Several years ago, Forbes reported that revenues increased by around 22% for the magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For.”
Among the Gallup study’s eye-opening conclusions that should petrify business owners and executives:
• Roughly 15% of Americans hate their jobs
• Half are just habitually punching a clock
• Only 33% actually care
• Around 50% are looking for other opportunities
“If you want better profits and productivity,” Green writes, “then make the delivery of a great employee experience and better culture your main thing.”
Making a weak culture strong requires a significant overhaul. Green cites the case of CHG Healthcare Services, which places medical professionals in hospitals across the U.S. Fifteen years ago CHG experienced a 50% to 60% annual turnover rate – around the industry norm these days. Now the company regularly appears in the Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For.” The turnaround started after executives interviewed every employee and manager about its corporate environment.
Your organization may have to use an outside consultant to evaluate your situation before you even begin taking remedial steps. The transformation process requires months. You have to willing to endure. But there’s a fundamental lesson that great leaders already know and aspiring leaders must embrace. You set the climate for your organization’s culture. Your employees take their cues from you. You are a mirror — your employees reflect your attitude, outlook and behavior. If you project pessimism, don’t expect those under you to be optimistic. If you are cranky and dull, then you’d be foolish to expect your people to run around blowing whistles and ringing bells.
It isn’t enough to have a great sales strategy or terrific products. Your bottom line ultimately hinges on how you treat your employees.
“Culture is no longer just a human resources priority or thing,” Green writes. “It is a fundamental business thing.”