For the first episode of Culture Over Coffee, not only do we highlight the various reasons why company culture and employee engagement should be top of mind for every organization, but we also consult the results from our own ENGAGE 2022: The Company Culture Report to get a feel for the current cultural climate as we head into the new year.
Joining Beth for the conversation are Matt Sunshine, Managing Partner at The Center for Sales Strategy, and Deborah Fulghum, Employee Engagement Specialist and Culture Coach here at Up Your Culture.
Together, they bring so many awesome insights to the table. Such as:
- How improving your company culture and employee engagement can help with one of the most common pain points: Recruitment
- Why company culture must be more than merely “words on a wall.”
- And how living by the “platinum rule,” not the “golden rule,” might be a boon to your employee engagement efforts.
Why Company Culture is Important
To kick the conversation off, Beth simply asks, “Why is company culture important to you?”
With a background steeped in improving sales performance, Matt brings a unique perspective to the topic. He says, “Every company has a culture whether you pay attention to it or not. If you pay attention to it, constantly improve it, improve the work experience, then a lot of really special things happen.”
According to Matt, chief among those “special things” is “you become a destination place to do business with.”
Deborah agrees about the importance of company culture and adds, “So many companies think of culture as ice cream socials. It’s more than that. It’s really about engaging your employees and wrapping their heads around what their companies do. Culture should be at the top of the to-do list.”
Problems with Recruitment? Check Your Culture.
“Almost everyone I speak to shares that their biggest pain point is recruitment,” Matt says. “They can’t find qualified people. Every client has suffered from some sort of turnover.”
“The great resignation is real, and that really happened.”
However, he explains many of these companies suffering from critical recruitment problems also admit that company culture is the most important aspect of their organization that they need to work on.
Matt says, “They’ll even make the jump and say that good engagement would help make [them become] an employer of choice.”
“Fixing your company culture is not a fad diet or a cleanse that you can do for 14 days, and it’s done. Too many leaders pay culture lip service and don’t do much else.”
The Value of Core Values
Deborah puts it beautifully, "Core values are our North Star.”
“It’s important to think ‘where are we going?’ and ‘how do we get there?’”
She continues, “Core Values tell us how we’re going to treat each other, how we share information, how we’re going to work together, how we communicate. They have to be part of something bigger so that I feel that I’m part of that.”
And like Matt referred to previously, Deborah believes that clearly communicated core values can help in attracting top talent.
A company’s core values can cause many viable applicants to think, “‘If this is who a company is, and this is who I am, then that’s where I want to work.’”
But Deborah also makes one point clear, “[Core Values] have to be more than words on a wall.”
“If you think of a company like Enron, which had the word ‘integrity’ on their lobby wall. That CEO walked by that [word] every single day, and we know how that ended. It was just a word that he didn’t live by, but he felt like ‘we need to have a fancy word on that wall.’”
And when Beth points to the fact that, according to ENGAGE 2022: The Company Culture Report, only 43% of employees knew that their company had core values, Matt demonstrated how fully a company’s core value should be lived by its employees.
He says, “Our core values, [at The Center for Sales Strategy], are Quality, Integrity, and Responsiveness. They’re important enough that if someone is not showing quality, integrity, and responsiveness, they’re not going to work here.”
Feedback and People Development Need to be Consistent
Again referring to ENGAGE 2022: The Company Culture Report, Beth asks if any stats or findings jumped out to him.
Matt says, “Nearly half of the people said they received feedback within the last week...I was like, ‘that’s pretty good!’ Until I read the rest of the stat.”
“21% had not received feedback in the last six months, and 15% have not received feedback in more than a year.”
“So, more than 1/3 of the people haven’t received any sort of feedback in the last six months!”
“If you’re really focused on growing and developing the people that you work with and work for you, and getting the most out of them, and you’re not regularly giving them feedback? You’re missing out.”
“You know what you have? You have a culture of... ‘you’re just going to get the work done until you don’t get the work done and you don’t mean anything to me, and when you can’t you do it anymore, I’ll just replace you with someone else who can.”
“If that’s your culture? You’re not going to be a destination of choice. You’re just not.”
And in terms of strategies that can help leaders improve feedback, therefore raising engagement, Deborah has a certain tool worth considering.
“People want to develop,” she says. “They don’t want just to do a job; they want to grow.”
“It’s so easy as managers and leaders to live by the golden rule, ‘how do we want to be treated?’”
“We feel so differently. We live by the ‘Platinum Rule.’ ‘How do they want to be treated?’”
“And there’s only one way to find out. Ask them.”
“We have a tool that we use that’s called a Growth Guide, and it’s all about the individual...everybody wants to grow in different ways.”
“We need to uncover what’s important to them, what motivates them, where they want to grow, what their goals are.”
“If we use a guide like that, we can really develop people a lot faster than just guessing what they need.”
Improve Your Company Culture
In One Sentence, What is One Piece of Advice You Would Give Your Best Friend to Improve Culture and Engagement at Their Company?
Deborah: “Everyone wants to feel important.”
Matt: “Make culture and engagement a top priority today.”
Listen to the full episode now at https://cultureovercoffee.buzzsprout.com/.