Culture is defined as the attitudes and behavior that characterize a particular social group or organization.
Cultures worldwide shape societies and offer opportunities for different groups of people to find a common association. Business cultures are just as significant as societal cultures. The way people within an organization think and act has a tremendous impact on employee productivity in that organization.
The culture of an organization is what differentiates it from its competitors and other businesses. Cultural values form the founding principles of the company. That foundation affects every attitude and behavior built thereafter, and should be a reflective base for what the company stands for.
A culture can promote negative or positive behaviors that will affect employees at each level of the company. And although a strong organizational culture is generally considered to be a positive attribute, it is not adequate enough to enhance productivity on its own.
In order for an organization to maximize its employee productivity, leaders need to strive to promote a performance-driven culture. Creating an environment that promotes performance sounds easy enough, but most cultures are cultivated over time. How can an organization ensure that their culture promotes performance and efficiency?
The first step in creating a performance-driven culture is to create an understanding within the organization that the results of people's efforts matter. The entire workforce should strive to achieve the results most important to the organization.
The leaders of America's Most Productive Companies tend to have a consistent, shared understanding of both the company's current culture and its future culture. These leaders tend to promote individual initiative and high levels of teamwork, both of which are essential ingredients for achieving results.
This is especially true of the AMPC all-stars, such as Gartner, Delta Air Lines, and Dow Chemical Company. These companies have managed to not only rank highly within their sub-industry category, but also do so in consecutive years while continuing to increase employee productivity.
Additionally, leaders of America’s Most Productive Companies are likely to have defined the types of people who fit the company culture. This helps them identify precisely the people for whom they are looking and then present their culture and values to potential hires in order to evaluate fit. They are more likely to say "no" to a highly qualified candidate who does not fit into the company culture.
Consider someone from the Midwest being thrown into the middle of a busy street in China. This American is probably used to personal space, friendly greetings, and strangers willing to give directions in his native language. But in China, he is likely to experience people invading his personal space and very few people speaking English. The Chinese also associate facial expressions with different meanings. If the Midwesterner was to smile at someone, it could be misconstrued as offensive.
The same concept applies in the workplace. People who do not immediately fit the work culture face a learning curve of how to fit in and become a productive part of the team. This person is also more likely to feel the need to spend time adjusting to new people, rather than focusing solely on productivity. If organizations match their people to their culture from the beginning, then they are already taking steps to create an effective performance-driven culture.
Creating a Performance-driven Culture the America’s Most Productive Companies Way
How can you achieve the employee productivity performance standards reached by the AMPC? Here are five ways they distinguish themselves from their peers:
- Get crystal clear about the activities and the amount of each activity necessary for the organization to achieve its overall objectives.
- Translate these activities into job and performance requirements for your managers and their people, being sure to get their input and buy-in along the way.
- Create tools to help your managers communicate these requirements and track their team’s and individual team members’ progress toward these goals.
- Seek direct input from front-line employees in the form of employee surveys and 360-degree management assessments to determine if the message is getting through.
- Encourage open communication between employees and their managers to clarify job requirements and to stop low-value work.
Creating performance-motivated business customs can take time if the organization has never before focused on this aspect. Managers should keep in mind that their actions serve as an example for their employees. The way a manager leads his team inevitably affects the overall office culture. If a manager prioritizes results and productivity, then employees will begin to adapt their habits to match their manager's expectations.
The best business leaders, such as those among America’s Most Productive Companies, strive to create and sustain companies that are productive, effective, and efficient. The only way to ensure that your company is going to exceed its own expectations is to instill a performance-driven culture. Create a workforce that matches the culture the organization admires in order to avoid productivity gaps. Organizations should be mindful that a culture is a foundation, and that each portion of the business is built upon and around it.
Want to improve employee productivity in your company? Learn more
Visit www.americasmostproductive.com to read more about America’s Most Productive Companies.
Edited by: Jeff Meyers