How do you rationalize culture in the workplace?
70% of American workers are disengaged.
50% are passively disengaged and
20% are actively disengaged.
The passively disengaged have mentally checked out and are milking the company for a paycheck. The 20% who are actively disengaged are the toxic employees who poison the well for everyone else.
The culture in the workplace is commonly referred to as “the way we do things here.”
All too often, culture arises from implicit expectations. It’s rare for company leaders to deliberately create a culture. Thankfully, the concept is growing in popularity. Leaders are now paying attention to employee engagement and voluntary turnover.
Engagement is a big deal! Disengaged employees cost companies approximately $500 Billion a year. Turnover is expensive. Costing about 140% of an employee’s salary to replace them and this in addition to the time it takes to get the new person up to speed.
How do we create a progressive culture in the workplace?
People don’t leave jobs or companies, they leave managers. Managers’ behaviors and actions deeply inform the culture in the workplace. The micro-cultures that form in different departments across a company also carry the same culture.
A culture created by implicit expectations is likely to be divisive, with silos, back-stabbing, bullying, defensiveness, and exhibit other bad behaviors. When culture is created and developed deliberately, the company is much more likely to have higher engagement and lower turnover. That’s not to say it will be a perfect place to work, but it will be better than most.
Why should you operationalize values and purpose to improve the culture in your workplace?
When we help companies with culture, we start with company values. We guide the leadership team through a process to determine who they want to be. The process also helps identify how they want to show up in the world. We establish the higher purpose the company serves, beyond simply making money. And then we help them to operationalize the values and the purpose.
It’s important to codify the values and purpose of observable behaviors and actions. Otherwise, you end up with a lovely purpose statement that hangs on the wall. However, the statement doesn’t come to life in the lived experience of the employees and other stakeholders.
Then we give the leadership team the tools and skills they need to be good stewards of the culture. A recent HBR study showed that 90% of the success of high performers relative to peers with similar skills could be attributed to their high emotional intelligence. Those so-called “soft skills” are really essential skills these days.