3 Ways Culture Drives Employee Engagement

By Adam Stephens - May 26, 2017

The following blog post was authored by Ed Keegan, Sr. Director, Strategic Alliances at Achievers

Employee engagement has matured beyond the “trendy corporate buzzword” phase and is now widely acknowledged as integral to the success of any company looking to establish or maintain its place in an increasingly competitive job market. One of the most important factors in establishing and maintaining high levels of employee engagement is work culture.

Culture not only refers to the nature and quality of your company’s internal work environment; it is also the defining factor in how your organization is perceived by external parties – in other words, your employer brand. By establishing a corporate culture steeped in recognition, employee growth and with an emphasis on health and wellness, companies can help ensure that productivity and engagement remains consistently high across the entire company, while also presenting a desirable destination for would-be employees.

With that in mind, here are three ways to drive employee engagement through cultural initiatives:

Hell Yes to Wellness 
Healthy employees tend to be engaged employees, if for no other reason than they are physically able to work every day. And while reducing absenteeism is a very tangible benefit to instituting health and wellness initiatives, benefits of engaging employees through this type of initiative go beyond ensuring seats are filled every day. Proactively instituting a health and wellness program can lower the cost of employee health plans, affecting a company’s bottom line while sending a clear message to employees that their health and personal wellness is important to the company. Business leaders recognize the positive influence health and wellness programs have on a company; more than 90% of them stated that wellness can affect productivity and performance.

In Learning You Will Teach, In Teaching You Will Learn
According to the Huffington Post, workplace mentoring opportunities are extremely crucial to millennial career development. Mentors provide numerous benefits to employees and employers alike. For employees, mentors are a fluid resource. Their knowledge can be mined for career advice, internal career growth opportunities, and an honest assessment as to where the employee stands within the greater company. From an employer perspective, mentorship programs can help reduce turnover rates while readying top performers for larger roles within the company. Mentors not only increase employee engagement by their proactivity in dealing with employees, but they also can remedy disengaged employees by acting as a sounding board. Mentorship programs offer intangible benefits as well. They show that a company is invested in the well-being of their workforce, and that valued employees are given the opportunity to pass along their knowledge while developing and demonstrating additional leadership skills.

The Mission is Recognition
Providing a platform for employees to offer timely social recognitions to colleagues for a job well done can be one of the most effective ways of driving employee engagement. In fact, Aon Hewitt recently identified employee recognition as, “the strongest engagement opportunity this year.” Recognition can also be one of the most effective ways of ensuring that employee success is tied to shared goals and values. Here at Achievers, we work with our customers to map their corporate values to specific recognition categories, providing social reinforcement of those shared values in a highly visible way that spans the entire organization. When coupled with a rewards program that allows employees to choose the form of their reward (be it merchandise, an experience, or money to donate to charity), employee recognition programs can have a significant impact on engagement levels and desired business outcomes. According to Gartner, by 2018, recognition software will be an integral part of any successful business, not just those on the “cutting-edge” of modern business practices.

While the ideas presented above are by no means a magic bullet to solve all the employee engagement challenges your business might face, taken together, they offer many tangible benefits for your company. At a minimum, they can help form the foundation of a strong company culture that will serve to keep top performers within the organization and burnish your credentials among job seekers. While there are numerous ways to measure the success of a program, your company should first decide on which specific business challenges you are seeking to address when deciding on engagement initiatives to institute.

To learn more about how to enhance your company culture, check out the blog post 5 Company Initiatives That Improve Office Culture.