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Workplace Culture, Employee Engagement & Recognition

We recently attended a seminar presented by Bersin by Deloitte. Bersin by Deloitte is a leading provider of research-based membership programs and advisory services in the human resources, talent, and learning market. Our takeaways from this powerful seminar were too good not to share.

First, we must understand these three terms are not one and the same but rather they work together hand in hand to improve the health of an organization

So how do we define Culture and Engagement?

According to Josh Bersin

Culture: An implicit rewards system that defines how people act or what they do when no one is looking.


Engagement: The way people react to culture.  It should be measured on a regular basis, and it can help predict individual performance.

Creating a Positive Workplace Culture

What is the ROI of creating a positive culture?

A recent New York Times article demonstrates the ROI of positive workplace culture through this company’s example.  Aetna had a 60% turnover rate, and after its CEO decided to invest more into employee appreciation, it increased their profit by 1.5%.

Glass Door also reports that culture & leadership were 3X more important to employees than salary.

3 Tips to Consider When Evaluating Company Culture

Considering Millennials & a Culture of Collaboration

Research shows that millennials look for these characteristics in an organization: they want to give feedback, receive feedback, have opportunities for promotion and creativity, and collaboration is very important to them.

What Do Millennials Want

Like millennials, many organizations value collaboration which is causing many companies to move from a hierarchical structure of leadership to more of a collaborative team-based approach.  Studies show that you spend more time with co-workers in your immediate proximity. Developing strong bonds between co-workers is linked to an increase in employee morale.

These team structures allow for more frequent feedback & recognition.

Corporate Responsibility & Goodwill

Bersin summed this up by saying “people want to work for a company who does good things.” Be an example of this to your employees by getting involved in charities and providing opportunities for them to volunteer. When you value giving as a part of your company culture, it connects employees to a mission and purpose. Companies like Salesforce do a great job of demonstrating a culture of goodwill.

There is a direct correlation between corporate responsibility and employee engagement. The engagement level is twice as high (54% vs. 25%) among those who say they are proud of contributions their organization has made to the community.

Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is an important factor to consider when evaluating the values of your company culture. The fact of the matter is we are working more not less. When we value work-life balance as an organization, it will keep employees from burning out and allows for higher productivity.

Why is work-life balance so important

An excellent example of a company that demonstrates this value in their company culture is GE. Fastworks is a GE program that combines a set of tools and practices that help to build better products for their customers, faster. The GE Fastworks program is going through a culture change where they are coaching their leaders to teach their employees to do less, giving them permission to do fewer meetings and other related tasks to be able to focus more on customers.

Quick tips on attempting to change your company culture

A principal at Deloitte, Sonny Chheng, says you should consider these main tips when working to change your company’s culture.

  1. Don’t try to change it all at once. Tackle one issue at a time and then move on to the next.
  2. Define your organization’s core values & behaviors, then translate them back into the work your employees do.

Ask yourself this question: How can I shape my culture to where our organization’s values are embedded in our everyday work processes?

Increasing Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement Stat

“Leaders in business and HR need to raise employee engagement from an HR program to a core business strategy.” Josh Bersin.

What is the ROI of successful engagement?

A Dale Carnegie study demonstrated 29% of workers who are fully engaged, do more in less time than their co-workers. This increase in productivity causes a ripple effect throughout the organization to greater customer satisfaction, repeat business and can result in higher profit.

Another stat from this same study showed 69% of disengaged employees would move to a new employer for as little as a 5% pay increase, whereas it would take a 20% increase in salary to attract an engaged employee.

Coming up with a successful employee engagement strategy can be tough. Josh Bersin created an employee engagement model to help simplify the process.

According to Bersin, many factors that contribute to healthy employee engagement are:

Josh Bersin Simple Engagement Model

Creating a Culture of Employee Engagement & Recognition

Science shows that when you thank someone it releases oxytocin, a hormone that makes people more relaxed, collaborative, and happy. This results in an increase in employee morale. The more people you thank, the greater effect it can have on your organization, thus, creating a culture of employee engagement and recognition.

What is the ROI of a great employee recognition program?

Bersin by Deloitte did a study on this topic and found that “high recognition companies” have 31% lower voluntary turnover than companies with poor recognition cultures. The higher scoring recognition companies built a culture of recognition through using tactics like social reward systems, providing frequent thank-you activities and appreciating all staff from top to bottom.

This study states that a key in developing a recognition culture is to:

“Create a social environment where recognition can flow from peer to peer, freeing managers from being the judge and jury of employee recognition.”

MTM Recognition Expert Mike Ketcherside says that another important factor to consider is to make sure the recognition you give is meaningful.

When recognition becomes engrained in your organization’s culture, it helps not only to increase employee morale but also can help to boost employee engagement.

We hope you gained some insight from reading this article. If you have ideas on these topics, please share them in the comments below.

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