Op-Ed: Success in 2018 Requires a Purposeful, Positive, and Productive Work Culture


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Success is about more than just numbers and data. A successful workplace means developing a healthy and happy work culture.

Written by Chris Edmonds

How well is your organization performing? When I ask senior leaders that question, they’re quick to share performance metrics, market share, sales data, and more. They pay attention to results daily.

I then ask, “How well is your organization operating? In other words, is everyone – leaders, team members, customers, vendors, etc. – treated with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction?”

I get blank stares and pauses. Senior leaders are not on the pulse of quality work culture. And this type of hard data is in short supply (if it exists) in their company, at all.

Senior leaders are not at all as in tune with the health of their work culture as they are with their organization’s results. And, the quality of our work cultures is not very good. The hard data about that is undeniable.

Focus on the quality of the culture

A  2017 study on factors driving employee engagement, conducted by TinyPulse, which is a leading employee engagement platform, found 26 percent of employees felt they were strongly valued at work, a steep 16 percent drop from the previous year’s survey. 

Also that year, a State of the Global Workplace report conducted by Gallup, a global performance-management consulting company, found that 67 percent of employees are not engaged at work. That is, they are not necessarily poor performers, but may simply not contribute their best efforts or ideas. In other words, they are indifferent. Study results also found that 18 percent of employees surveyed were actively disengaged. What are the economic consequences of 85 percent of your employee population being disengaged? Approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity. work culture

Further, The Society for Human Resource Management has found, over the last four years, that the largest percentage of respondents indicate, “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” was important in job satisfaction. Two years ago, 65 percent of employees agreed with this statement. However, only 38 percent of workers reported being “very satisfied” with respectful treatment at work.

Younger employees like Millennials and Gen-Z’s want a positive, productive work experience. Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report indicates that 80 percent of executives rated the employee experience as either very important or important, but only 22 percent of those executives believe their companies made the mark at delivering a positive, productive work experience.

To attract and retain talented, engaged leaders and employees, senior leaders must create a work culture where values – how people treat each other – are as important as results, daily.

Achieve positive work culture

This begs the question: How can leaders create a purposeful, positive, productive work culture? They must change the rules by crafting an organizational constitution – and then align all plans, decisions, and actions to it.

An organizational constitution specifies your company or (team)’s servant purpose – its raison d’être, in addition to, creating wealth, products, or delivering services. Your organizational constitution then formalizes desired values and defines them with observable, tangible, measurable behaviours. It then includes performance expectations in the form of company strategies and goals.

work cultureDefining your desired culture is, to be honest, the easy part. The hard part is aligning all plans, decisions, and actions to these new expectations. Leaders must model the new servant purpose and valued behaviours every minute. Only then will these new rules be considered credible by employees, and worthy of those employees embracing those new rules.

Positive Results

It’s not science fiction. It’s what happens today in world-class organizations like WD-40 Company, Ritz Carlton, Starbucks, Assurance, Madwire, and others I’ve studied. It’s real – and it’s rather astounding.

When leaders align practices and behaviours to their desired organizational constitution, three things happen within 18 months of implementing the change. Employee engagement goes up by 40 percent, customer service goes up by 40 percent, and results and profits rise by 35 percent

These amazing transformations are within every leaders’ grasp. Don’t leave the quality of your work culture to chance. Be intentional with crafting and living an organizational constitution.

Chris Edmonds is the author of the Amazon best seller, The Culture Engine, and six other books. He is a sought-after speaker, author, and executive consultant who is the founder and CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group. After a 15-year executive career leading high performing teams, he began his consulting company in 1990. He has also served as a senior consultant with The Ken Blanchard Companies since 1995, and was a featured presented at SXSW 2015.