How Great Managers Create the Workplace Culture You Want

As a leader, you know that today’s employees are looking for a great culture when shopping for a new job — and that culture matters to younger generations especially.

But it goes beyond that — culture has a direct impact on every outcome you measure.

Culture has a direct impact on performance.

One in three employees worldwide strongly agree with the statement “The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.” By doubling that ratio, business units have realized a 34% reduction in absenteeism, a 42% drop in safety incidents and a 19% improvement in quality.

In your ideal culture, all employees connect with the company’s mission and show up every day eager to produce quality work — and your business outcomes show it.

To get from your current situation to that ideal outcome, you’re going to have to change some things. But how?

Following record levels of mergers and acquisitions, many organizations around the world are trying to blend cultures and brands. Merging cultures rarely works because tribes, by nature, want to maintain their identities.

What has to happen to change a culture?

1. Identify your purpose and brand.

The CEO, CHRO and executive committee need to clearly identify your purpose — why you are in business — and how you want applicants, employees and customers to perceive your brand. Purpose and brand set the stage for everything else. The employee experience starts with applicants’ first impression of your organization — how they perceive your culture and brand — and then how their employee journey, from onboarding to development and eventually departure, validates those impressions. Top executives need to be aligned, consistent and committed to the purpose and brand. That is the starting point for bringing teams together and effective decision-making.

2. Audit all programs and communications …

… including human capital practices, performance management, values and rituals, and team structures — for alignment and consistency with your organization’s purpose and brand. Gallup has found that this can be a quick process and recommends performing this audit annually.

3. Reposition your managers as coaches.

Only your best managers can implement the culture you want. A great culture is one of the few things an organization can’t buy. Managers at all levels make or break your culture change. And traditional performance management systems have struggled to inspire and develop employees, which can result in billions of dollars in lost productivity today’s employees want a coach, not a boss. Moving your managers from boss to coach not only increases employee engagement and improves performance, but it’s also essential to changing your culture.

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