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What is the most crucial asset owned by an organization? In the modern business landscape, a company might possess a well-defined vision, mission, and set of value drivers, along with a carefully articulated strategy and aligned objectives throughout all levels of the organization. Nevertheless, employees may fail to adopt these values, as these are not inherently embedded in their actions due to the absence of a performance-driven culture.
Hence, the company must foster a culture that actively facilitates the execution of its strategy. This culture should empower every employee to operate in alignment with the established value drivers, behavioral norms, and competencies set forth by the organization to fulfill its mission while being consistent with overarching corporate goals.
Central to cultivating a successful performance-driven culture are leaders. They stand as key inﬂuencers, coaches, and role models. Organizations must shift their focus from having managers who assert authority to nurturing leaders who coach and guide. These leaders should serve as advocates for aligning and interpreting corporate objectives for employees at all levels. Proper training is fundamental in equipping them to effectively manage their subordinates.
To enable leaders to construct a thriving performance-driven culture, organizations can implement the following steps:
Additionally, they provide coaching and growth opportunities to empower employees. This creates an environment where everyone feels valued and engaged, forming the basis of a performance-driven culture.
- Build the desired organizational culture. For an organization to deﬁne the fundamental characteristics of its desired culture, it must translate its mission and vision into tangible value drivers, anticipated behaviors, and needed competencies. These elements must be communicated extensively to all employees, ensuring their adoption, with an emphasis on starting this process with the leaders themselves.
- Highlight a leader’s role in cultivating performance excellence. Leaders are essential in shaping the desired performance culture within an organization. They lead by example, embodying cultural values, behaviors, and skills. This sets a motivating tone for their teams and encourages others to follow suit. Effective leaders foster openness and feedback, which leads to transparency and collaboration. They recognize and reward behaviors that match the culture.
- Foster performance by promoting employees’ mental wellness. In creating a culture of performance, the importance of nurturing a healthy mindset and prioritizing employees’ mental well-being cannot be overstated. A positive mindset is crucial for a culture of excellence. Employee mental health directly affects engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. Providing resources like counseling, stress management, and ﬂexible work options not only demonstrates commitment to well-being but also leads to a focused, creative, and productive workforce. A mental health-supportive culture enhances individual well-being and aligns employees with organizational values, ultimately improving performance.
- Empower performance culture through data interpretation. Organizations have a wealth of data that offer insights into employee engagement, performance, and overall health. Leaders must use data analytics to guide culture development. By studying metrics like satisfaction, productivity, and alignment with values, leaders can spot improvement areas and measure initiative impacts. This data-driven approach reﬁnes strategies based on evidence, creating a ﬂexible culture. Regular data analysis shows employees that their contributions matter, boosting transparency and commitment to growth.
Google provides a noteworthy example of a strong performance culture as exempliﬁed by initiatives like Project Aristotle and Project Oxygen. Project Aristotle highlights team dynamics and psychological safety, fostering an environment where all members freely share ideas and take calculated risks. Meanwhile, Project Oxygen focuses on effective leadership qualities such as coaching, communication, and genuine care for team members. These initiatives underscore Google’s dedication to establishing a culture of collaboration, innovation, and leadership, creating a thriving workplace for both teams and individuals.
Another notable example is Netﬂix, which embodies a performance culture centered around “seeking excellence.” This entails encouraging each employee to excel and contribute to produce their best work. Netﬂix values individual responsibility and open feedback, creating an environment where high standards and innovation are prized. The company hires top talent and empowers them with trust and autonomy. This adherence to excellence shapes their decision-making and has contributed to Netﬂix’s success.
Creating the right organizational culture lays the foundation for success. Leaders drive performance excellence by setting an example and supporting their teams. Taking care of employees’ well-being adds to the positive atmosphere, and using data helps leaders make smarter choices. Combining these aspects builds a culture where everyone thrives, innovation ﬂourishes, and organizations prosper.
This article is written by Chadia Abou Ghazale, a seasoned banking professional with 24 years of experience and who excels in budgeting, sales performance management, data analysis, and resource planning. Beyond banking, she is a dedicated reader of self-development topics and passionate networker. Chadia believes that life’s purpose is the pursuit of knowledge. Her extensive expertise and unwavering enthusiasm are a dynamic combination, driving success in her career and enriching her life’s adventurous journey.
Image Source: Tumisu | Pixabay
Like a captain steering a ship through a stormy sea, leadership plays a crucial role in shaping the organizational climate, which in turn affects the individual’s level of commitment to the organization, job satisfaction, and productivity (Oktem, 2022). Creating a positive organizational climate requires management to focus on promoting autonomy, freedom, and support. Organizations can use internal environment scanning methods such as employee surveys, focus groups, and organizational culture analysis to gain insights into how leadership affects the work environment—knowledge that can then be used to create a positive climate to enhance employee knowledge, behavior, and effectiveness.
Critical factors such as interaction with team members, behavioral patterns, and the quality of the leader’s information—which covers updates, decisions, and strategic plans that they need to communicate to their team—all shape the organizational climate. Leadership behavior can significantly influence employee attitude and behavior. Studies have shown that managers who acknowledge their team members’ accomplishments can improve the perception of the organizational climate and leadership quality.
Conducting an internal environment scan can help assess the current state of the organizational climate and identify opportunities for improvement. The organizational culture analysis, a method of internal environment scanning, involves reviewing the values, beliefs, and behaviors of employees and aims to gain insights into how leadership is perceived and how it is influencing the culture of the organization.
One company that values its organizational culture and recognizes the significant role of leadership in shaping the work environment is Netflix. The company empowers employee decision-making by widely sharing internal documents, such as memos on title performance, strategy decisions, and product features.
Additionally, Netflix prioritizes open and direct communication by investing in coaching and modeling behaviors. To promote good decision-making, the company emphasizes the need for highly effective people and fewer management layers. The company encourages a “context not control” culture where leaders are expected to coach, set context, and provide feedback instead of micromanaging while employees make their own decisions. To foster this culture, Netflix values certain behaviors and skills in its employees, such as good judgment, selflessness, courage, communication, inclusion, integrity, passion, innovation, and curiosity.
The company employs a feedback system that includes surveys and focus groups to continuously improve its operations. A recent initiative to promote work-life balance involved the implementation of an unlimited vacation policy, which was contingent on fulfilling job responsibilities and goals. To set a precedent, leaders take vacations themselves and urge their teams to do likewise.
As we can clearly see from Netflix’s example, leadership has a significant impact on the organizational climate. This highlights the importance of internal environment scanning to identify opportunities for improvement.
Improve your organizational climate by enrolling in our Certified Strategy and Business Planning course. Gain valuable insights into the process of internal environment scanning and learn how to identify areas for improvement within your organization.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever altered how organizations around the world operate. In the IBM Institute for Business Value’s study “COVID-19 and the future of business Executive epiphanies reveal post-pandemic opportunities,” 55 percent of respondents say the pandemic has resulted in “permanent changes to their organizational strategy.” An even larger 60 percent say COVID-19 has “adjusted their approach to change management” and “accelerated process automation,” with 64 percent acknowledging a shift to more cloud-based business activities.
In planning, one of the most important aspects organizations nowadays must tackle is workplace strategy. According to Gallup’s most recent survey on what employees want going forward, five in 10 say they want hybrid work arrangements for the future. For organizations worldwide, this means planning and managing moves to hybrid work environments.
What is a hybrid work strategy?
Hybrid working environments are the out-turn of the COVID-19 pandemic and refer to corporate arrangements by which some employees operate on-site while others work from home. The manifestation of more flexible working conditions in times of the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted employee expectations and desires greatly as far as the perceived benefits of in-person work. Consequently, organizations who do not embrace remote working conditions as part of their overall short-term and long-term workplace strategy may be at an increased risk of employee turnover, disengagement, and inability to attract and retain talent in the future.
Crafting the hybrid work strategy
One of the main aspects organizations must understand about hybrids is that there is no standard approach to it. Short-term planning will most likely imply experimenting with working schedules and juggling on-site and remote working arrangements to find the best fit for the organization. As for long-term planning, organizations will have to agree on their strategic position regarding a hybrid working model and relate it to their specific organizational context. A strategy plan that embraces the future outlook of a hybrid working environment should therefore consider the following:
- The overall strategic position of the organization towards hybrid working as well as the development of internal policies and procedures to support that position;
- A communication plan to share the organization’s hybrid working model with all employees and other stakeholders of the organization;
- An approach to the adoption and dissemination of new technology as well as reviewing existing systems and equipment for updates and renewal;
- A plan to put in place the necessary security measures that ensure system integrity and data protection;
- A training and development plan for managers to enhance their skills in effectively coordinating remote individuals and teams; for employees to understand the operational and legal implications of hybrid working
Performance management as part of the hybrid work strategy
As part of a hybrid work strategy, organizations generally have to adapt to increased remote working requirements. In this context, performance may become harder to observe, and managers will ultimately have to admit that they can no longer monitor every aspect of performance, nor should it be necessary for them to do so. Planning for a hybrid strategy would therefore have to consider the following:
- The re-configuration and re-design of the performance management system and processes to fit the purpose of a remote working environment;
- A shared organizational culture that embraces flexibility encourages presenteeism and stimulates the right remote working approaches and behaviors;
- The re-shaping of managerial skill and aptitude to manage performance based on outcomes, contribution, and value;
- Principles of communication that promote regular social and human connection opportunities to support employee engagement and team building
Measures introduced to ensure staff safety in the workplace
In terms of physical working place, many organizations may feel the need to proceed in a cautious wait-and-see mode while taking active steps to increase the safety of their working environments and ensure the well-being of their employees. Some straightforward actions in this respect can refer to the following:
- Altering working space layouts by moving workstations apart and having employees work back-to-back or side-to-side (rather than face-to-face);
- Staggering shifts – having employees start and finish work at different times – or staggering break times as a way of reducing the number of people in the workplace or taking breaks at any one time;
- Reducing the number of meetings or the duration of such meetings as a temporary measure to maintain social distancing
Short-term vs. long-term hybrid strategy
The last question one has to answer here is: “Does our organization plan for a short-term hybrid strategy or a long-term one?”. When planning a hybrid strategy short-term, an organization must absolutely think “workplace value proposition.” This involves the benefits employees have for returning to on-site work. It’s quite clear that pointing to job requirements as the primary reason employees must return to the office will not work. In this context, organizations may need to focus on the distinct opportunities that an on-site environment creates as opposed to a remote one and find the best way to effectively communicate them.
When planning for a hybrid strategy long-term, executives have already accepted that pandemic-related changes in strategy, management, operations, and budgetary priorities are here to stay. These are generally organizations with an international structure with employees working from different parts of the world, companies that operate through digital tech and cloud adoptions, and entities that are more project-based and service oriented, rather than product-based with intricate supply-chain networks.
So when adopting a hybrid working model and strategy, it is mainly important that one considers the organization itself, the roles that meet remote work criteria, the interdependency level of team members, and individual comfort with work from home conditions and protocols.
CIPD (2021), Planning for Hybrid Working, Advice on how organizations can plan and manage a move to hybrid working. Available at: Planning for hybrid working | CIPD
CIPD (2020), Embedding New Ways of Working: Implications for the Post-Pandemic Workplace. Available at: Embedding new ways of working: implications for the post-pandemic workplace (cipd.co.uk)
IBM Institute for Business Value (2020), COVID-19 and the future of business Executive epiphanies reveal post-pandemic opportunities. Available at: COVID-19 and the future of business (ibm.com)
Change is the only thing sure in the world, they say, and in the past two years, we are forced to adapt to change with an amazing speed.
Whether we discuss big organizations or few-people teams, resilience quickly becomes part of our vocabulary, and we have the same response: fight-or-flight-or-freeze. But how much adrenaline is too much, and how does this affect us as individuals and employees in our organizations? How do organizations manage and perceive the phenomenon called “The Great Resignation” or “The Great Attrition”?
More than 19 million US workers—and counting—have quit their jobs since April 2021, a record pace disrupting businesses everywhere. This has also affected countries in Europe or Australia and seems to be spreading around the world. Many companies struggle to understand and react, but the reaction is usually disproportionate and sometimes even inappropriate.
What Actually Happened?
If the past 24 months have taught us anything, it’s that employees crave compassion and making work more human. People are not robots with tasks or responsibilities, and more than ever, people need to be seen as imperfect and have the space to feel imperfect. Employees are tired, burnt out, and grieving. During the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has suffered losses. For some, it’s the loss of loved ones; for others, the loss of familiarity — missed family gatherings or coffee with friends, canceled vacations and postponed events, or going to the office every day. The sources of loss, big and small, influence our work and personal lives.
Now, employees want companies to understand this loss and see a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work. Employees want to feel a sense of shared identity, of community. Yes, they still want pay, benefits, and perks, but more than that, they want to feel valued by their organizations and managers. They want meaningful—though not necessarily in-person—interactions, not just transactions. Most employees have questioned everything during this period, including the meaning of life and work. What is the new meaning that your organization is willing to offer for work? What is the purpose that your company is offering to your employees? Is your company vision only related to profit, or do you have a higher purpose?
The pandemic brings new opportunities and urgency, and the idea of being agile and always ready to change is very good for business. However, people need time to adjust and make peace with this sense of loss. Indeed, the prolonged levels of uncertainty will only add to the grief and anxiety that employees experience. None of us knows exactly what will and won’t be coming back in a post-pandemic workplace. Therefore, we don’t know yet what is gone for now and what is gone forever. This influences performance or productivity.
What Can We Do?
If companies make a concerted effort to understand why employees are leaving and take meaningful action to gain them back, they can turn things into their favor. By seizing this unique moment of uncertainty and offering meaningful purpose and identity, your company could gain an edge in the race to attract, develop, and retain the talent you need to create a thriving post-pandemic organization.
If you’re a CEO or a member of a top team, your best move now is to hit pause and take the time to think through your next moves. But don’t think through your next moves in a vacuum; include your employees in the process. Start thinking about implementing a performance management system in your organization and do it with the help of your people. If you want to keep people by your side, include them in your plans, include them in setting the performance standards, and show them that their insight is valuable.
As you implement the performance management system at the employee level, ask the following questions:
- Do we have a toxic organizational culture? It’s very important to understand if in your organizational culture, you may have missed some points with toxic leaders. This could put people down before even having the chance to perform.
- Do we have the right people in the right places (especially managers)? Many employers face the problem of having the right people but not necessarily in the right places. When it comes to managers, this problem can be particularly damaging, especially in hybrid environments, where new leadership skills are required. Skills such as coaching and training capability are very important to develop for managers since in the new reality of work, people need coaching more than ever.
- How was our organizational culture before the pandemic? If you think that going back to the office means returning to the same culture, you may expect your people to leave very quickly. You should remember that although the needs of your employees have changed, your culture may not have kept up, and any prior organizational weaknesses are now magnified. Employees will have little tolerance for a return to a status quo they didn’t like before.
- Is our organizational culture based on the idea of transaction? If your only response to attrition is to raise compensation, you’re strongly telling your people that your relationship with them is transactional and that their only reason to stay with you is a paycheck. Your talent in the organization will always have a better cash offer somewhere else. Our suggestion is to solve the problems of the whole person (not just their bank accounts) and the whole organization.
- Are our benefits aligned with employee priorities? If before the pandemic you offered free parking or Christmas parties as special benefits, you might want to consider adapting and changing these benefits also. In a recent survey among people who left their jobs, 45 percent cited the need to take care of the family as influential in their decision. A similar proportion of people who are thinking of quitting cited the demands of family care. Expanding childcare, nursing services, or other home- and family-focused benefits could help keep such employees from leaving and show that you value them.
- Employees want career paths and development opportunities. Can you provide it? Employees are looking for jobs with better, stronger career trajectories. They desire both recognition and development. Smart companies find ways to reward people by promoting them into new roles and into additional levels within their existing ones. This is one way companies can quickly reward and recognize people for good work.
- How are we building a sense of community? Remote work is no panacea, but neither is a full on-site return. In-person connectivity continues to have massive benefits for your organization. But it will require considerable management attention to be right as health and safety concerns continue to evolve, particularly because employees’ needs and expectations have changed. For example, employees with unvaccinated young children may feel unsafe in large in-person gatherings.
One organization took an inclusive approach by sending out themed staycation packages: a movie night with popcorn and a gift card; a game night with family-oriented games, chips, and salsa; and a virtual spa day complete with face masks, tea, and chocolate. The company created a Slack channel for posting photos and stories, encouraging employees to share these experiences. Another organization encouraged connectivity among employees by offering coffee gift cards to those who signed up to participate in one-on-one coffee chats with employees they didn’t know—a perk that improved connectivity and helped people expand their networks.
Employee engagement should focus now more than ever on employee experience. If you want to learn more about employee engagement, employee experience, how to implement a performance management system at the employee level, and how to align the company’s values, strategy, and objectives with employees behaviors, follow our Certified Employee Performance Management System Professional course.
If not, should it be?
Culture is an intriguing component of the organizational system, wouldn’t you say?