Poor engagement. Skills gaps. Low morale. High churn. Disconnected teams and people... Just some of the challenges organisations are facing currently. But what if we said it’s all avoidable AND it’s not as hard as you think…
In the competitive labour market all industries are experiencing at the moment - organisations have to adopt a new way of thinking or risk losing their top talent.
Traditional business practices have been solely focused on delivering the best consumer value proposition. By combining research on their consumers’ needs with the business processes needed to meet those needs - being consumer-centric WAS the bees knees.
But this old school approach is costing organisations big bucks and leaving them in the dust when it comes to building a positive and lasting culture - which is the key to success today.
Now it’s time to flip the script and become employee-centric (or as we like to call it - human-centric).
Organisations must align with employee needs and build business processes to support them. Because organisations who do so are building a company culture and Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that rightfully focuses on their most valuable asset - their people!
In today’s employee driven market, your culture and EVP are the key to building lasting success - and that starts (and stops) at management level.
But what is an EVP and how do you “do it” right?
In a nutshell - an EVP captures the actual experiences of people who work for you and communicates the culture of your organisation.
Getting it right requires asking some tough questions such as:
Organisations with the "hottest" EVP focus on their current talent as well as attract and fill talent gaps from a pool of highly qualified people. Whereas, organisations with a not-so-hot culture will struggle to retain their people and attract the top talent they need. And as a result - end up with “the best of an average bunch”.
Having a positive culture and attractive EVP also reduces the need for expensive recruitment processes, which can also reduce costs associated with acquisitions and turnover. When culture, EVP and corporate values and beliefs are aligned, organisations are able to further differentiate themselves from other companies in their space.
Here’s some proof
So we'll say it again - company culture lives and dies at management level. Managers are the secret weapon to creating a positive company culture which not only fuels highly productive teams but also helps attract and retain top talent.
Without getting into the nitty gritty of salaries, compensation, work-life balance and stability. We need to take a step back and reinstill psychological safety into teams and that starts with managers becoming leaders.
In an environment where psychological safety is lacking employees are less likely to engage, fear speaking up, avoid difficult (but necessary) conversations, keep their heads down and just get the work done.
Without psychological safety - company culture dips and employees are less engaged and less productive.
Dr. Amy Edmondson, a professor at Harvard Business School, uses the term "psychological safety" and defines it as "a climate in which people are comfortable being (and expressing) themselves."
Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. Psychological safety in teams is a shared belief held by individuals that others on the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish you for speaking up.
A lack of psychological safety at work also has huge business and culture repercussions. First, when people don’t feel comfortable talking about initiatives that aren’t working, the organisation isn’t equipped to recognise and prevent failure.
“When you have psychological safety in the workplace, people feel comfortable being themselves. They bring their full selves to work and feel okay laying all of themselves on the line,” David Altman says.
“Psychological safety at work doesn’t mean that everybody is nice all the time. It means that you embrace the conflict and you speak up, knowing that your team has your back, and you have their backs.”
“People need to feel comfortable speaking up, asking naïve questions, and disagreeing with the way things are in order to create ideas that make a real difference,” says Altman.
Gallup's data reveal that just three in 10 U.S. workers strongly agree that at work, their opinions seem to count. However, by moving that ratio to six in 10 employees, organisations could realise a 27% reduction in turnover, a 40% reduction in safety incidents and a 12% increase in productivity.
Now they’re numbers we can all get excited about right?!
So how can managers effectively improve culture and increase psychological safety within their teams? The short answer… Through human connection and having a human-centric approach to everything they do.
Starting with these four questions (in this order) leaders and managers can encourage participation and honesty within teams while building trust, clarity and purpose.
1. How can we best support each other?
2. What is our team's purpose?
3. What is the reputation we’re building?
4. What do we need to do to achieve this and fulfill our purpose?
Talking about, and strategizing, your organisational culture and EVP is the easy part. Implementing it naturally comes with challenges. But maintaining a positive culture where psychological safety is a daily practice requires dedication and commitment from all areas of the organisation.
Yes, it’s hard slog.
And no it won’t happen overnight.
But with your managers leading the charge the benefits will be felt across the whole organisation.
So invest in your people, and they’ll invest in your organisations HAPPILY.
Peptalk is a unique team engagement and action platform that enables teams to perform at their best. We provide teams with monthly data, insights and actions, available at a touch of a button, specifically aimed at enhanced teamwork and increased engagement. You can find out more about what we offer HERE.