The groundhog saw his shadow. Boo to 6 more weeks of winter. But that feeling of grey and gloom isn’t just reserved for the weather forecast. For some, it’s felt everyday as they arrive at the office.
For the first time in over a decade the Gallup organization’s data shows a decrease in employee engagement. Even during the COVID panic of 2020, engagement numbers continued moving upward, but that number began trending down during the last half of 2021.
Glassdoor released a survey showing 77 percent of adults evaluate company culture before applying for a position. Another 56 percent rank culture as more important than compensation when determining their career path.
That’s not totally surprising considering we spend more of our waking hours at work than we do anywhere else.
It’s sad, but most people rate their time at work as some of their least enjoyable in life.
What causes employees to disengage?
This feeling is at the very heart of employee disengagement. The problem begins inside the organization but often spills over outside the working hours. It shows up on social media rants about bad bosses. It shows up over shared lunch conversations between friends over bad co-workers. Worse case, it makes it to local media if employees feel their safety is in danger or there are unethical practices being overlooked.
These issues usually begin in small ways that aren’t addressed or noticed. This causes the problem to exponentially increase. Couple that with employees who say they don’t understand expectations, have no connection with company values or mission, and can’t see themselves as part of the company’s future and you have a real problem.
If you polled company leaders across industries, I believe you’ll find everyone says corporate culture matters. However, that’s where the discussion takes a sideways turn. There is a lot of differing ideas on how you foster and create a culture in which employees flourish.
How do you begin creating an engaged culture at work?
Creating an engaged culture has real value. It translates to more productivity, higher profits and will give you an enormous competitive advantage over companies who do not actively cultivate their culture. It’s about building people up instead of tearing them down.
As leaders, you should be focused on future proofing your company. Culture needs to adapt as your organization and people grow. It should be ever evolving. Complacency will breed failure. It’s not a one and done.
Just like in the movie Groundhog Day, if you’re doing the same things over and over and not seeing results, it’s time to stop and reevaluate. If it feels like everyday is the same, spend time with your key people (this doesn’t necessarily mean managers or directors) and really dive into the culture of your organization. Ask your employees – don’t assume you know what they are thinking.
What do employees want?
Employees want authenticity from their leaders- not just a bunch of scripted words. They also want to be valued. You might automatically think that means more money, but it actually means they want to feel invested in. The want to feel like their voice is heard. They want to feel appreciated for what they bring to the table.
I believe the way to connect company, purpose and culture with your employees is through working with your employees to build their personal brands. Once you’ve helped them see the value and skill they bring to your organization, the next step is helping them make a personal connection between their values and their role in your company or tie those values to the overall mission of your company. You’ll end up creating an army of internal brand ambassadors.
When you have engaged employees who can see a real connection with what matters to them and what they do, these feelings will be expressed to their friends, acquaintances, their connections on social media and more. This genuine reflection of your organization will go further in boosting your external brand than you will generate from your own social posting and ad efforts. People believe who they know. This will help you attract more people who share these same values to your organization. That’s a future hiring win for you.
What are the benefits?
The internal changes you’ll begin to see will be eye opening. When you create an engaged workforce, you’ll see higher retention rates (less hiring and turnover), greater communications, stronger teams, less absenteeism and more satisfied customers.
This improved work culture will also tends to carry over in your employees lives outside the office walls. They become better spouses, parents, friends and active community members.
If you want to know more about building a culture of engaged employees grab this checklist. If you want to have a conversation about using personal branding to strengthen your company culture drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll schedule a call.
Remember if you don’t develop your culture, it will develop itself. If you get it right, all the other pieces – passionate & dedicated employees, customer satisfaction, respected brand – will fall in place.
If you want more secrets to building a successful career brand, you can:
Join Successfully Ever After an online course designed to help you create a personal brand designed with career success in mind within 30 days.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel and watch quick tips to help your job search or make yourself promotable.
Join my private Successfully Ever After Facebook Group for trainings and information designed for success-seekers.