How a company’s identity can drive productivity and affect the bottom line

A strong company culture can not only attract employees, it can boost the bottom line, says Stephanie Martinez, PHR, Director of HR Services at Benefitdecisions, Inc.

“Disney and Google have very successful businesses and much of that success is due to their culture and how they on-board their employees. Other companies are trying to emulate them to see if it will impact their bottom line,” Martinez says.

Smart Business spoke with Martinez about corporate culture and creating an environment for success.

How do you define and shape culture in the workplace?

Culture is the identity and personality of the organization. Drivers include leadership style, establishing well-defined policies and procedures, and a clear structure that allows employees to know their roles and how to perform their jobs. General demographics, the kind of population in your workspace, will affect your culture. Some companies cater to younger employees with foosball and pingpong tables, and want them to have fun at work. Other organizations may be more conservative, so their activities may be more focused on community events.

Your business 
may not be conducive to having a flexible work environment, like those you see in the technology space. Leadership needs to decide what they want exhibited in the corporate culture, and then model that behavior. It’s not just in character and behavior, but it’s also the way they manage issues. Practice what you preach. Another important consideration is ensuring that there is alignment between values and behavior. What do you stand for as a company? How do you differentiate yourself from competitors? What is your target market? Why do you do what you do? 

Defining your mission, vision and core values, and communicating that to employees enables them to relay that to stakeholders and clients. That can really affect your brand, as well as employee engagement. A great book to read on this topic is, “Start with Why,” by Simon Sinek. Align business goals and objectives as well as define the organizations long-term goals. Employees need to be able to articulate what the company is trying to accomplish and how they fit into those goals. That will show employees how their goals and accomplishments impact the organization and in turn make them more productive.

Make sure you promote appropriate behavior by rewarding achievements. Employees will feel that they make a difference, which increases success and the bottom line. Training and development also is important. If you haven’t taken time to properly train employees, they’re going to be at a disadvantage in managing challenges they face. From an HR standpoint, a good benefits package plays a key role in attracting and retaining employees. With so much going on with health care reform, employees are seeking companies that have a competitive benefits package.

This starts with having the benefits they are seeking, that are reasonably priced, and that encourage the well-being of the employee. This will aid in recruiting and retaining top talent.

What are the benefits of a strong company culture?

It creates the foundation for success by establishing your brand, which helps attract and retain top talent, and increases employee engagement. When employees are happy and committed, they go above and beyond to be successful in their roles and provide exceptional service to clients. Employees also tend to talk about their work in interactions with clients and stakeholders. When they’re happy, that spreads to everyone they encounter. If they are not happy, it can be like a plague that spreads throughout the organization.

The bottom-line impact of having engaged employees was recently measured by Towers Perrin. It estimated that high-engagement firms grew earnings per share at a rate of 28 percent, while low-engagement firms saw a decline of 11.2 percent. When you have a strong culture and a clear business strategy, your workforce is aligned and employees are able to bring new ideas to the table that generate revenue. That gives you happy, engaged employees who provide excellent customer service, creating better client retention rates.
Stephanie Martinez, PHR, is the Director, HR Services, at Benefitdecisions, Inc. Reach her at (312) 376-0465 or [email protected]
Insights Employee Benefits is brought to you by Benefitdecisions, Inc.