The most successful CEOs know that it can be difficult for both employees and management to be in a workplace without an active, engaged company culture. The company culture of a workplace is often the first thing that is observed when entering a business, and when it’s unengaged, it’s noticeable. A lack of energy can lead to complacency, which will therefore lower both morale and the productivity of a workplace. But, how does an active, engaged company culture lead to success?
First, it is necessary to understand what happens when a company culture is unengaged, or when its employees aren’t active. There are a few ways in which the problems associated with employees being unengaged can arise.
If employees feel that their work is unfulfilling, they won’t experience the drive or motivation to complete it to the best of their abilities. Within the field guide companion for leadership expert Dr. Lee Thayer’s book “Leadership: Thinking, Being, and Doing,” he states that “unfulfilling work kills the spirit. Life lies in growing competence. No more so than at work.” This is key in realizing the importance of having a productive company culture. Employees require the motivation and ability to complete fulfilling work in order to contribute to an active and engaged company culture.
Another way that employees can become unengaged in the workplace is if they aren’t able to feel safe. Physical safety is critical; however, I’m referring to psychological safety. In the workplace this is the relationships between employees and management. According to a study conducted at Baylor University, the stress and tension caused by an abusive boss at work has been shown to filter through to an employee’s personal relationships, which can transfer to all relationships, including in the workplace. This causes discomfort and distress within the company culture, which can make it difficult for the employees to be productive and engaged. It is therefore crucial, for the sake of the workers, the company culture, and the organization as a whole, that these relationships are positive.
Within this study, the findings place the responsibility on the organization, as they hired and promoted the abusive boss. Thus, there exists an obligation on the company and its management to create a healthy company culture, one which is both active and engaged. If a CEO or key executive desires an engaged company culture, they must ensure that the workplace is a safe environment for all employees.
According to Gallup, a survey of 25 million employees over a span of 12 years found that seven out of every ten employees are disengaged. As a result, these employees are unable to move their respective organizations forward. A company for whom the majority of its employees are unengaged can experience terrible results, relating to both productivity and overall success. This is why it is important to have an active company culture.
The effects of a company culture that is neither active nor engaged are evident. According to Inc Magazine, on average, an unengaged employee costs an organization approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary. These costs are both unnecessary and wasteful, and, not to mention, preventable. The existence of an active company culture would put a stop to this unnecessary spending. But, how does one achieve an active, engaged company culture?
For a company culture to be active and engaged, its workers must have a great and worthy purpose. A great and worthy purpose, also known as a noble cause, is a leadership virtuoso’s first priority. Defined as “a pronouncement of a future state that will bring about through its coordinated action,” a great and worthy purpose is larger than an individual. Instead, it requires the work of the entire organization.
When great and worthy purposes are realized, however, the benefits are clear. Active and engaged company cultures result from having a clearly-defined purpose, which then leads to further, organized success. Employees succeed when there are clear expectations for their performance, as they know exactly what it is that management desires for them to accomplish. Also, employees who are aware of and understand a company’s great and worthy purpose are more engaged, as they are more likely to perform to a standard equal to that of the noble cause. This sets the bar higher for employees and allows them to feel that the work that they are doing is fulfilling.
It is important to note how exactly an active, engaged company culture leads to success. When employees are actively engaged at work, with both comfort in the workplace and a great and worthy purpose, the benefits are clear. According to research from Towers Watson, within “The Evidence: Employee Engagement Task Force ‘Nailing the Evidence’ Workgroup,” it was found that companies with both high and sustainable levels of employee engagement had an average one year operating margin, which was almost three times higher than companies with lower levels of engagement. High employee engagement and positive energy within the company culture leads to success for a business in many ways.
Research from Gallup, in which almost 1.4 million employees were studied, found that there were links between levels of employee engagement and key performance outcomes, including factors relating to profitability, productivity, customer ratings, quality, absenteeism, and turnover. As a result, it can be determined that employee engagement is one of the most prominent factors in determining the level of success for a company.
Company culture is key. It is for these reasons that it is crucial for a company culture to be both active and engaged. Though this can be difficult to achieve if employees are uncomfortable in the workplace or find their work unfulfilling, there are many solutions to this issue, which can lead to overall success in the workplace. Within Vistage NYC, our members learn to utilize their resources and make the best decisions possible, in order to optimize success — starting with their own company culture.