When asked about the reasons for leaving previous employers, a stunning majority of successful high potential candidates come up with an answer that is linked to the lack of a positive corporate culture that values and drives high performance. Surprisingly, money is rarely the main reason why we don’t feel content with our work. More than anything else, it is a question of whether we feel that we are truly a part of our organization and are being valued for the work we are so passionate about. Those of us who are not only successful but also happy with our jobs have a feeling that is more powerful than anything else in the relationship between corporations and employees: We identify ourselves with our work, our team, and our company. Not only is the mere existence of a good organizational culture key to attracting and retaining high performing employees. It also determines just how efficient and profitable each employee will be in their role. The level to which employees are engaged in a positive, high performance culture is a powerful indicator of a company’s overall profitability.
Strong corporate cultures are not built in a day. They are the results of constant, committed organizational activities which function both bottom-up as well as top-down. They can only work when everyone in the organization is on the same page and headed into the same direction. Profitability is an expression for economic efficiency and requires organizational efficiency, which ultimately means individual efficiency. This is common sense for anyone who is in a position that has revenue creation as its core purpose. However, when looking at all functional layers in an organization, not everyone is as focused on the bottom line as the company’s leadership team. The disconnect takes place wherever employees are in roles that do not directly impact the performance of the business. The challenge is to create a high performance culture where each employee, regardless of their actual role, is aware of their individual contribution to overall growth.
In order to create a high performance culture, performance management needs to be incorporated at all staff levels. Whether looking at administrative functions or sales roles – the journey starts with identifying high, yet attainable goals. Economically successful companies are also successful in creating a culture that supports innovative activities through empowerment and recognition. While profit is the fuel for a company on its road to success, recognition is what drives most employees. One key element when setting up a performance management structure is to be unmistakably clear on exactly how each employee’s performance will be measured. This lays out a solid game plan that will allow monitoring the progress. Motivation and ongoing employee engagement will help along the way. Recognition doesn’t have to be monetary; the options can range from tangible rewards to out-of-office activities that involve the whole team.
Clearly defined performance measures ensure that each individual understands their contribution to the entire organization’s success. Positive motivation and active engagement are key to a culture that celebrates success and produces high performance. The current economy provides an excellent opportunity for companies to take a fair look at their corporate culture and realign measures and recognition systems. A culture where employees are passionate about performing at their very best every day ultimately results in higher economic profitability.