“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” as the saying goes. Employees today want to feel part of something bigger than themselves and their individual job. Millennials are motivated by more than salary – they want to ensure their needs and values are consistent with the larger workplace culture.
A recent survey found 95% of candidates believe culture trumps compensation. And organizations with a thriving culture are reaping the benefits: they attract the best talent, have the lowest turnover, and are more profitable long term.
We live in the age of the empowered employee – so maximizing engagement is mission critical. But before you consider ways to improve the employee experience, you first need to understand the trends that are driving up the importance of workplace culture.
Culture is complex, and it’s about more than “things”
Perks like espresso machines, ping-pong tables, and annual off-site getaways only support your culture after it’s firmly established. True culture can’t be bought, and it’s formed over the long term. It connects people with purpose and is evident in your company’s:
- Underlying assumptions
- Attitude and behaviors
Culture connects people with purpose and is ingrained in the work environment – it’s that feeling you get when you visit a company.
Culture matters to the bottom line
If employees are engaged in your workplace culture, and feel like they belong, they work harder and smarter. They have a measurable effect on critical business results. They stay in their jobs longer, and that saves your organization money. The numbers tell the story:
- Companies with both highly aligned culture and highly aligned innovation strategies have 30% higher enterprise value growth and 17% higher profit growth than companies with low alignment.
- Companies with engaged employees see 233% greater customer loyalty and a 26% greater annual increase in revenue.
- Culturally engaged employees have 70% fewer accidents, 56% fewer sick days, and 25% less absenteeism compared to their disengaged counterparts.
- The cost of losing valued employees ranges from 6-9 months of salary for regular employees, to more than 24 months for leaders and executives.
And on top of all this, employee engagement drives:
- Innovation of products and services
- Quality of products and services
- Customer satisfaction
- Revenue growth
Now let’s look at ways you can strengthen your culture and boost employee engagement.
5 tips for improving the employee experience
Companies with highly engaged employees address the employee experience holistically. They don’t just consider the work environment, but also the tools and technologies that enable people’s productivity, learning, and sense of belonging. To build a better culture, look at the end-to-end employee experience.
1. Start engagement from day one
From the time you post a job, let your culture shine. Open the doors to candidates by highlighting your brand and help prospective employees ‘get’ your culture.
During the interview process, review your communication style, vision, and values. Once someone’s accepted an offer, offer early access to your onboarding program. Get them excited to join the team, provide them with crucial information for their new role, and introduce them to their colleagues.
2. Get serious about onboarding
Research shows that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with the company for at least three years after a positive onboarding experience. A structured onboarding strategy differentiates your company from those with informal welcome programs while highlighting your culture.
The best onboarding experiences are integrated into your digital workplace, because today’s employees have no interest in sitting in a classroom with a stack of brochures. It’s a make-or-break moment that has a direct effect on employee engagement and retention. So don’t skimp.
3. Offer a consumer-like digital experience
The new rules of the digital workplace demand that employers offer employees apps and tools that they use in their personal lives. BYO device and apps is the norm, and employees want to receive corporate communication on their preferred channels. They also want to collaborate across any divide –departments, locations, or areas of expertise – with ease and efficiency.
4. Create inclusive and authentic conversations
Empowered employees expect to have a voice in the workplace. Research shows that companies that simply seek regular employee feedback have 14.9% lower turnover rates than those that don’t.
Keep the lines of communication open at all levels of your organization, and establish a culture of trust. Ensure that senior leadership has digital visibility – a presence on forums, in blogs, and on social channels. Dedicate a digital space for recognizing employee contributions and achievements. All of these efforts to cultivate transparency have a major impact on engagement.
5. Be clear on employee value
Don’t make your employees guess about what you want and expect from them. Define an employee value proposition that represents the employee profile that fits best, culturally, with your organization. Then make sure it’s communicated throughout your digital workplace.
Choosing the right digital workplace solution
The right digital workplace solution makes all of this possible. Look for digital workplace solutions designed to solve HR challenges, but also the broader spectrum of challenges related to communication, collaboration, knowledge sharing and employee engagement. Create a social space to welcome new employees and reduce the time it takes to get them up to speed. Use forums to open lines of communication and encourage new hires to ask questions freely, get answers fast, and remove roadblocks. Put a human face on the leadership team using blogs and bios, so employees can get to know their leaders, their vision, and see them in action. The companies that get this right stand above the rest.
This article was originally published on TalentCulture’s blog on July 18, 2017