Business profits have slumped, staff are unmotivated, and your carefully cultivated strategy is collecting dust in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet. If you think your business is trouble, you may be right. The good news is that you can stop the downward spiral. Something will need to change, it’s just a question of what—and how?
While there’s no simple answer, developing a positive organisational culture can go a long way to alleviating these three common business growth problems:
High staff turnover
Are you struggling to keep hold of your best staff? In New Zealand, voluntary turnover rates vary depending on the industry (from 9 per cent in energy and electrical to 38.3 per cent in fast food and hospitality), with a national average of 15.3 per cent. If your staff turnover rate is higher than the industry and/or national average, it’s a good sign that you have a staff engagement problem.
Employee engagement is crucial for talent retention. Research shows that engaged staff are 87 per cent less likely to leave an organisation. Of those who are dissatisfied, the majority will choose to leave rather than stay.
And the best way to engage staff? Build a healthy workplace culture. How? It takes time, but you can start with regularly recognising your employees. A simple “thank you, great job” can make a surprising difference.
“Praising the efforts of staff boosts morale,” says Dan Gawn, a business strategist and high performance coach at Advisory.Works. “That leads to better staff engagement, which improves productivity, performance, and ultimately, customer loyalty and business success.”
A note on bonuses
In a survey of 1,800 professionals and 950 managers across Australia and New Zealand, two-thirds of employees ranked at least one of the elements of workplace culture, such as flexible working conditions, teamwork, and clearly communicated ethical standards, as more important than remuneration. The takeaway? If you want staff to stick around, look beyond salary.
Profits are down, productivity is low, staff across the board are missing deadlines and targets. Sounds like you may have a morale issue. Low morale can come about for a number of reasons: toxic leadership, inequality, team conflicts, lack of staff development, poor communication, lack of meaningful work. The list is extensive, but when it’s boiled down, it frequently comes down to company culture and leadership.
A positive workplace culture can have a significant impact on productivity and job satisfaction. Science has shown us that when a brain is amped up on positivity it is 31 per cent more productive.
Leaders play a huge role in creating company culture. Their words, actions and behaviours set the example for others to follow. Behaviours such as an “open door policy” and valuing employee input are particularly valuable for inspiring staff to work harder.
Without leaders who embody your core values, your organisational culture might suffer, and productivity and morale will drop as a consequence.
A business strategy that doesn’t work
Business strategies can be a curse or blessing for any business. When planned and executed right they serve to inspire your employees and give direction to your business. Poorly planned and executed strategies, however, end up wasting time, effort and resources—and can leave your business stagnating as a result. So why do they fail? Again the reasons vary, but a key cause is that your strategy doesn’t match your culture.
Say you are an accounting consultancy firm with a vision “To Deliver The Best Business Accounting Experiences in Australasia”. Introducing a strategy to encourage competition between individual employees (say by implementing individual performance metrics) is only going to pit staff against one another, build a siloed work environment and encourage people to hoard knowledge for personal gain. How is that going to help you achieve a vision of delivering the best business accounting experience in Australasia?
However, a strategy that rewards collaboration and encourages staff development could produce a markedly different outcome. In a nutshell, culture must always inform strategy.
The power of a positive organisational culture
If you’re still not sure if strong organisational culture has much impact on a company, take a look at Premier Group International. As recent winners of the the IBM Kenexa Best Workplaces Award, they reported a 40 per cent growth in 2015, and as of December 2016, were on track for another 40 per cent increase for 2016.
Ready to reap the rewards of a positive organisational culture? Download our free ebook, 'Organisational Culture to Enhance Productivity and Profit'.