Social and economic unrest can test even the strongest of organizational cultures.
Is your organization’s culture built to withstand turbulence?
Chances are your culture has been put to the test over the past year and a half due to all of the challenges organizations face with regard to attracting and retaining talent and navigating all of the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meeting those or any other organizational difficulties head-on often is made easier when your culture helps place your business on a solid foundation. Any weaknesses will manifest themselves quickly in times of trouble.
For some, organizational culture is an afterthought. However, those who take the time to foster their culture tend to be best positioned to overcome challenges.
“Having a strong culture is important at all times for any company,” says Connor Cross, director of human resources for Syndeo, a Wichita-based outsourced HR provider. “However, in times of crisis or challenges, a strong culture may be the single most important contributor in a company’s ability to overcome the challenge or persevere through a crisis.”
That’s right, the single most important contributor.
Conducting an employee engagement survey at least once a year – perhaps more frequently if needed – can help you test the health of your company’s culture to determine areas of weakness that should be improved upon.
Cross says an employee engagement survey is easy to use, highly impactful and can be deployed whether an organization is embarking on cultural initiatives for the first time or if they are trying to determine the effectiveness of improvement efforts.
“The easiest way to get this valuable data is to ask employees,” she says.
Employee engagement surveys should be as anonymous as possible because, right or wrong, individuals tend to offer a more honest assessment when they don’t have their name attached to something. Employee engagement surveys also should ask important questions regarding overall satisfaction with an employee’s work environment, pay and benefits. Additionally, those types of surveys should create a channel to gather feedback on things the employer can change, such as job flexibility or division of responsibilities.
Ask thought-provoking questions and don’t rely solely on numerical rating scales.
Cross says what employers do with the feedback is more important than just asking the questions. Timely action is key.
Publish the results and communicate them with employees along with any upcoming projects, initiatives or changes that are being brought about from feedback generated through an employee engagement survey.
The Society for Human Resource Management says being responsive to employee feedback can lead to higher retention rates, lower absenteeism, and increased productivity in the workplace. Employees who feel their voices are being heard also typically have higher morale and provide better customer service.
SHRM also encourages managers to use feedback from employee engagement surveys to gain insights into issues affecting their departments or business units. Senior managers need to take the feedback seriously and be willing to act on some or all of the suggestions from their employees.
An internal HR team can facilitate employee engagement surveys. However, you may be better suited eliciting a third-party service provider to customize an employee engagement survey, administer it to employees, and analyze the results if maintaining objectivity is a concern. That same service provider also will be able to make recommendations based on the results of the survey.
Other actions to reinforce organizational culture
Aside from employee engagement surveys, your business also should incorporate other measures to reinforce its organizational culture.
Promoting the mental health of your employees is one way to contribute to a strong workforce culture. Remove the stigma of talking about mental health and create avenues for people to confide in their co-workers or seek professional help when needed without fear of repercussions.
Another measure of organizational culture involves organizing company gatherings outside of normal work parameters. That could include organizing a company picnic, an after-work happy hour, or attending a local sporting event as a group. Volunteering to benefit charitable organizations or serving in the community are also aspects that can help reinforce the culture of your business.
Regardless of what you do, make the health of your organizational culture a priority.
It will benefit your organization overall in the long run.
About us: As the Heartland’s leading employer services company, Syndeo partners with local business owners to help them minimize risk, improve efficiency and maximize profitability allowing them the freedom to focus on growth and fulfilling their mission. Syndeo fulfills its mission by taking on all of the HR responsibilities for our clients’ workforce, including employee relations, benefits, risk management and payroll.
~Josh Heck is Syndeo’s marketing manager. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (316) 440-9940.