Four Ways to Align Corporate Culture & Employee Engagement

By: Annie Harvey

Corporate culture and employee engagement have become big buzzwords. How do companies achieve both positive company culture and productive employee engagement? And, what’s the difference?

Corporate culture is how things actually happen and get done in an organization. Employee engagement is how employees feel about the way things work there, and their motivation and desire (or lack of) to do their job as a result.

According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace, only 33% of U.S. employees are engaged at work. Corporate culture affects employee engagement, which can lead to a company’s overall performance. If your employee engagement is lacking – investigate the culture first.

Here are four ways to positively align culture and employee engagement:

  1. Evaluate your culture

What currently exists? Audits and surveys help companies understand what employees really think about the organization and provide valuable information to determine a plan of action. Value-added “perks,” such as workout facilities and bringing your pet to work, will not solve a culture problem if communication is a mess or employees are not empowered to solve problems. Don’t put “lipstick on a pig” to cover-up issues. Find innovative solutions and be prepared to get outside, expert advice when needed.

  1. Improve Communication

Only 13% of employees strongly agree that the leadership of their organization communicates effectively (Gallup 2017). Know what’s important to your workforce and create clear, transparent communication. Consider new channels of communication that reinforce the strategic vision and connect with all generations. Employees want to know what the company strategy is and how they contribute to it every day. Authentically engage employees, showcase leadership, celebrate successes, and recognize shared challenges through your communication. Complete an objective communication audit of your current reality and develop strategic plans that provide two-way communication.

  1. Offer Leadership Development

Mentoring and employee development is important in the workplace. Giving and receiving feedback focused on career development should be a part of the daily life of the company, not just for yearly reviews. Leaders should practice coaching and developing teams, not just “managing” processes and people. Research shows only one in five employees say their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work (Gallup 2017). Make sure employees have development opportunities that have a purpose and can be implemented immediately in their work. Invest in your leaders so that they motivate and lead their teams effectively to gain results. This helps organizations retain their best employees and gain knowledge to improve and grow the company.

  1. Appreciate Employees

Sometimes the easiest thing to do gets overlooked. Make sure your employees feel appreciated and valued on a regular basis. Recognize leaders and employees on all levels. In addition to employee appreciation events, thank employees on the spot and acknowledge hard work. Be sincere and authentic. Tell them they bring value to your team and tell them how. Give public praise. Learn about their motivators and get to know them personally.

What works to create a great workplace culture and high employee engagement can vary by region and industry. There’s not one mold that works perfect for every organization. Having an outside perspective, leveraging proven best practices and customizing solutions can accelerate your efforts. The readiness of an organization and its leadership also impacts how change takes place in culture and engagement.

Executive Aura is a boutique-consulting firm in Nashville, TN that provides business strategy, leadership development, and culture solutions that engage employees. We work with CEOs, senior management and emerging leaders to Think, Lead and Act like a CEO. Our services include: executive coaching & advising, employee engagement, culture and communications audits, and a variety of leadership development topics and keynote speeches. Our services are customized, providing unique solutions for our clients.