Two-thirds of employees believe that company culture is very important to the success of their organizations, according to a recent Work Watch survey by Randstad of over 1,000 employed adults.
Over one-third of employees believe culture has its greatest impact on employee morale, followed by 22 percent who said its greatest effect is on employee productivity.
The five most critical components of culture?
- Employee attitudes (selected by 69% of respondents)
- Effective management (64%)
- Strong trust relationships (57%)
- Customer focus (55%)
- High accountability standards (50%)
Organizations that are serious about improving results – including employee productivity – also need to be serious about measuring culture (especially in light of the fact that three-fifths of respondents said their company culture had been negatively affected by recent economic events).
Traditional employee engagement surveys are insufficient for this purpose, as too often they don’t include important elements of culture such as accountability, customer focus, and trust. A more comprehensive human capital survey is needed to more broadly capture the elements that make up culture.
A whopping 19 percent of Harvard’s 2010 class applied to Teach for America (up from 14 percent in 2009). Overall, the teacher service corps has enjoyed three consecutive years of 30 percent growth in its applicant pool.
Without a doubt, the state of the labor market accounts for a portion of this growth. Turns out that hedge funds and investment banks (which have traditionally attracted the lion’s share of Harvard grads) aren’t hiring like they used to. But most Harvard grads still have plenty of options—they certainly aren’t forced to choose a demanding, low-paying job.
This is a choice. And it’s a harbinger of things to come. When (not “if”) the war for talent begins to re-emerge as a major concern for corporate employers, they will be well-served to take note of the increasing number of applicants seeking meaning as a primary element of their jobs.
In our ongoing research for the book we are working on (Good Company) we have done extensive interviews with executives as well as front-line employees. In these interviews we have been seeking to understand how the convergence of “meta-forces” (globalization, technology, demographic change, political and regulatory change, and environmental change) is shaping the future of business. No small undertaking.
This process has led us to the identification of six key attributes that organizations must develop in themselves (and their leaders) to thrive in the future. Companies that exhibit these attributes are also the types of companies with which we’d want to do business ourselves.
- Reciprocity—a mindset of seeking mutual benefit (rather than exploitation)
- Connectivity—using the fundamental need and emergent power of human beings to be connected, informed, and effective through new forms of electronic sharing and collaboration
- Transparency— a willingness to expose the reasoning behind decisions with stakeholders (essential to rebuilding trust)
- Balance— the wisdom to make judgment calls amid competing priorities, such as short-term versus long-term goals and the desire for transparency versus a legitimate need for secrecy (e.g., mergers or new products)
- Courage— doing what is right despite possible adverse consequences in the short-run
- A Purpose for Being—Henry Ford’s words of long ago are more true today than ever: “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.”