2 New Studies Reinforce Why Company Culture Is So Important
Families share distinct collections of habits and idiosyncrasies, unique ways of talking and values that underscore who they are and what they want out of life.
Your work family is much the same: by drawing together a collection of skilled individuals, you created a culture of your very own. Your team works, speaks and coexists in a unique way.
But while company culture is bound to happen regardless of whether you manage it or not, you can also take measures to ensure your employees are growing into a cohesive team with a shared vision.
Two recent studies underscore just how important this process can be.
Study #1: Happiness
The first study comes to us from IZA World of Labor and Dr. Eugenio Proto, who represents the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick.
In his report, Dr. Proto reminds us of the key causal relationship between employee happiness in their workplace and their general productivity. It’s a timely reminder that worker well-being needs to be a central tenet of any company culture initiative.
Dr. Proto draws on an abundance of research, gathered over a span of years, concerning worker productivity. Study after study has confirmed that individuals who “frequently experience” satisfaction, enthusiasm and genuine interest, among other emotions, are more likely to succeed in the workplace. Indeed, this type of emotional fulfilment is directly linked to higher incomes, according to the research.
Angela Ahrendts (Senior Vice President, Apple)
Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first
This applies to management in a very direct way, and suggests there’s an attractive return on investment available for any company that takes worker happiness and satisfaction seriously. It encourages business leaders to invest in wellness programs, get on board with the modern consensus concerning paid sick and maternity leave and cultivate a general attitude that, when workers are happy, company-wide success isn’t far behind.
On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee.
Study #2: Collaboration
There’s a second report available that offers another useful take on company culture and its vital importance on modern business. This one took four years to compile, and was a joint effort between the Surrey Business School and France’s Grenoble Ecole de Management.
As any business leader likely knows, retaining key staff members is vitally important. It’s no secret that losing a team member can be costly: as much as $45,000 for an individual salaried at $60,000. As a result, getting employees to invest their lives and their futures with your company goes a long way toward a healthier bottom line.
But how can you encourage your workers to think of their jobs as full-fledged careers? According to this study, one of the keys is building a culture where your employees have lively, high-energy interactions with one another on a regular basis.
In other words, it’s all about relationships. As a business leader, there’s plenty you can do to create this kind of open and collaborative atmosphere. You can encourage employees to cross-train and pick up skills from other teams, and you can go out of your way to encourage or create social events, like team excursions to happy hour.
Frankly, nearly anything that creates more face time between your employees and gets them out of their own heads — and away from their computer monitors — can help create a workplace that crackles with enthusiasm and atmosphere, and which encourages dialogue, understanding and cooperation. No man or woman is an island — and a company full of islands won’t be long for this world.
Maybe it sounds new-agey, but it’s really not. Again, we can turn to the idea of family: Your nuclear family gets along because you all know how to speak to one another and you have key things in common. It can be a little more difficult to make those types of connections in a professional environment, but you can do wonders as an employer just by taking an interest.
What these two reports show us — and remember that they were drawn from years of deliberate and peer-reviewed research — is that just about any measure that improves the life and satisfaction of an employee will in turn improve their performance at work and buoy the organization as a whole.
Simply put, it pays to think from the bottom up when you’re building a company, and to make sure worker happiness is one of your primary exports