What Does it Take to Energize Company Culture in 2019

Tuesday July 30th, 2019

You’ve got time sheets to manage. Quotas to hit. Money goes in, money goes out.

These metrics make your business run. But what they don’t measure is what makes your company your company.

What is it about your employees that differentiate them from anyone else in the job market? What gets them to show up every morning ready to go the extra mile?

HR managers often talk about employee engagement. But can you really engage from the top down? How can you harvest (and harness) your staff’s natural energy and initiative to transform your workplace culture? It likely won’t show up in a spreadsheet or a financial report.

Energy vs. engagement

An employee might be classified as “engaged” if they:

  • Don’t complain for the sake of complaining.
  • Are loyal and committed to doing good work.
  • Develop positive relationships with colleagues.
  • Consistently strive to be involved in company culture.

But an “energized” employee exhibits even greater characteristics, like:

  • Persistent innovation, even outside their own department or job title.
  • Ability to garner support for their ideas and execute on them.
  • Extreme accountability and forward-looking outlook on projects.
  • Contributions to larger company goals.

So there’s a slight but noticeable difference - and it can matter a lot.

Empower employees to be change agents

The No. 1 reason people leave their jobs is because of company culture. Not pay. Not perks. Just culture.

That puts managers and supervisors in an awkward position. Even if they offer promotions, pay bumps or corner offices, those incentives may not be enough to keep a top-performing employee around.

What they could be offering instead are opportunities for employees to originate their own ideas, gain the buy-in to act on them and be recognized for their initiative. In other words, foster and reward change agents – staff who constantly seek to improve operations and build stronger processes.

Here’s a few ways to accomplish just that:

  • Allow employees to pursue side projects, even if they’re not totally correlated to an individual employee’s role.
  • Use pulse surveys to identify staff who are already engaged and clearly want to do more.
  • Crowdsource ideas to see which ones are actionable and necessary to act on.
  • Send progress reports or status updates on initiatives employees are working on.
  • Recognize and reward change agents in a public forum, whether in person or online via an HCM software.

What arises, then, in this sort of positive atmosphere is a level of trust, communication and confidence that employees’ voices are heard and that they are empowered to chase after goals of their own accord. They have the energy and momentum to confidently do their work at a high level.

Employee-Centric HR solutions 

When employees know they work for a company committed to seeing them reach career milestones and personal goals, the job of an HR manager becomes less about enforcement and recordkeeping. It shifts subtly to a role in which HR can support and complement the employees’ natural desires to shape the environment in which they work.

Workers can create their own culture, innovate on their terms and contribute to the company at large without having to be told to.

There are a number of industry-agnostic mechanisms for transforming into an employee-centric model, such as:

  • Embedding an HCM solution that incorporates these solutions into day-to-day company activities.
  • Using points, ratings and other rewards systems to quantify positive outcomes to sometimes less-tangible work.
  • Creating contests and certifications employees can win and earn.
  • Moving more communication over to a real-time dashboard every employee has visibility into, including live feeds, knowledge-sharing and other channels.
  • Being social with wins, objectives, projects and personal narratives.

As employees feel the shift away from a top-down workplace culture, they become more autonomous and proactive. They become energized. 

You can create this same feeling within your company, as long as you have the tools and resources and you’re committed to making your employees feel valued and heard.