Imagine a workplace where everyone is on the same page and thinking the same way, working in harmony towards a common vision. Sounds challenging, right? It doesn’t have to be! In making culture a top strategy to improve, you can proactively work towards creating a high performing culture and transform your organisation into a profit centre.
Alright, so I can hear your thoughts and concerns already. “How can I possibly make my team share my vision? How do I ensure they all love what they do? Where would I even start to help my team be more engaged at work?”
The truth is, there are simple underlying elements that when acted upon will generate a united positive culture. People share the same values when it comes to their heart. Everyone wants to feel connected, and studies show that people are the happiest when they are spending time with people that they care about and when they have multiple and meaningful relationships.
So what does this mean for your organisation? Let’s identify and discuss the core areas that affect culture because the stronger the team culture is, the more engaged the employees become.
- Look at the heart of your business
Let’s compare your organization to a human body. Your functions are controlled by both the brain and the heart, but have you ever heard the saying, “Follow your heart but take your brain with you”? The heart of an organisation is the culture, leadership, relationships, communication and behaviours. These should be the foundation of every organisation. With the heart leading, the brain will organically develop a solid governance in systems, processes and procedures.
What you must do first is find out from the people in your organisation what they believe needs to be changed. If you look at all the people in your team as people on a boat, they should all be rowing in the same direction but global studies show that only around 10-20% are actually rowing hard to get the boat to where it wants to go. The majority (56%) are just sitting there, neither rowing nor sinking the boat (and in effect not contributing to the success of the team) and the remainder are highly disengaged employees who are actually sinking the boat. Gallop’s latest report in Australian engagement statistics show that only 24% of the workforce is highly engaged. That’s all, and I’m sure we can agree that’s a pretty alarming fact.
When considering the success of your business, in monetary terms, for every $10,000 in wages spent on disengaged employee, $3,500 is wasted. This means if you have a team of 10 people where 2 of those people are highly disengaged, $35,000 of their combined annual wage of $100,000 is literally being poured down the drain as a result of their disengagement. This happens year after year, until changes are made. Isn’t that astronomical?
So how can you bring upon change? You should start by looking at the science of motivation. In considering human behaviour, we know that people value developing purposeful, meaningful relationships so your organiastion must provide that opportunity, together with the opportunity to mentally grow and be in service to something bigger.
- Develop meaningful relationships
How much do your team value the relationships of the people that they work with?
The most successful organisations across the globe have a strong focus on building multiple and meaningful relationship and put that as part of their strategy to work on ways to get that engagement level up.
What does it actually look like and what does it mean when you’re spending time in your organisation building multiple and meaningful relationships? Engagement is like fitness, it needs to be worked on every day.
Make an effort to learn more about the people you’re working with, get to know them and their experiences, their challenges in life, and understand how to work better with them. What skills do they have, what are their values? In sharing experiences, as human beings, we develop empathy and define friendships and it becomes easier to help people and be part of something together. People start to feel like they’re part of a family, and want to be actively involved in each other’s success and steer the boat in the same direction.
People become not just “some guy at work” but a valued team member, a friend, and someone that you continue to grow your relationship with.
Developing internal relationships is about the organistion coming together as one, knowing one another on a deeper level as a person and in turn, totally changing the dynamics. Everyone becomes more engaged and more efficient as, like a cycling team that work off each other’s draft, they work together in greater harmony.
- Work together as a team
Every organisation should not only have points of culture but also agreed behaviours that align with the culture. How many times do you stand in the reception of a business and you can see that “Customer Service is Number 1” but you wait there for 10 minutes with some grumpy person that doesn’t want to help you?
The quickest way to get thriving success in your organisation is by improving the culture. It must be agreed upon, as a team, what areas of the heart need to be activated, they should align with the team values and people should be held accountable to upholding the behaviours. In having everyone involved, everyone starts to live and breathe the culture of the business and the organisation is led by its heart. Deloitte says that companies that are heart focused are eight times more successful than companies that are not.
Deloitte also tells us that company training is the least most desirable way to learn. It’s often likened to taking dirty fish out a dirty fish pond and sending it off to get some training done, it may develop a sense of happiness whilst in the clean tank, but then it must come back to work and jump back in the same dirty fish tank. This brings it back to step one, where the environment is still negative, there are still team terrorists who are self-sabotaging the organisation and creating toxic situations in the workplace.
With this in mind, you must work together as a team to identify the heart-based actions that will have a positive impact, and work on fixing those heart areas of the business first. Naturally, once people are working in alignment together and become fully engaged, the brain areas of the business follow because people are working as part of a unified team.
I urge you to think about what can be done to activate the heart of your organistion and how powerful this can be. Once you get the culture right, people care about each other and move forward together. It’s like a runaway train and success becomes astronomical.