Each year, Deloitte publishes their Global Human Capital Trends Report based on over 3,300 surveys and interviews with business and HR leaders around the world. In 2015, Culture & Engagement was rated the most important issue overall, slightly edging out Leadership, highlighting the challenge and need for leaders to gain a clear understanding of their organization’s culture and then how to leverage it to better engage and empower people.
It’s not which comes first, the Chicken or the Egg
All too often I see Culture and Engagement lumped together like Peanut Butter & Jelly or Laverne & Shirley. It’s important to recognize the differences and understand there is a best place to start when addressing organizational behavior and intentionally defining the type of high performing culture you want. In my opinion, it’s not a debate as to which one comes first on the strategic pecking chart.
Defining Culture and Engagement
Culture describes “the way things are done around here.” Specifically, it’s people’s behavior on a day-to-day basis. Engagement, in contrast, describes “how people feel about the way things are done around here.” It’s a way of describing employees’ level of commitment to the company and to their work.
Pizza Parties and Water Balloons
Our last blog referred to the 2015 Gallup poll that made our socks go up and down to learn that up to 70% of our workforce was unengaged. Many of us reacted to this stunner by quickly organizing pizza parties and water balloon tosses in an effort to inject more fun into the workplace to improve the level of employee engagement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly one who believes in having fun* at work as shared in David Friedman’s book Fundamentally Different. (And I’m usually the first in line for pizza or water balloon toss!) But this is not where the problem should first be attacked.
Learning from a Farmer
Bear with me as I draw parallels with a farmer (CEO) and his/her crop (organizational success). For the farmer to have a bountiful crop, the first concern and challenge is that of the soil (culture). Before focusing on the seeds (employees) or the weather (competition), the farmer must do all in his/her power to make sure that the soil is as fertile as possible. After all, this is where the seeds take root. It’s where the seeds get their nourishment of oxygen, water and nutrients in order to grow and flourish (engagement). A lot of time and effort is invested in preparing the soil prior to planting the first seed.
Your 2017 Crop
Many of you reading this blog are well on your way to bountiful crops in 2017 because of the time, energy and commitment you’ve invested in your fertile soil – a high performing culture. Congratulations and continued success! For those of you that may be a little too focused on the party planning, it’s not too late to tend to your “soil” in preparation for a very successful and engaging 2017. We’d love to help you get there and share the stories of other farmers who are enjoying bountiful crops!
To learn more about how to put the power of the Fundamentals System to work for you and your crop, just give us a call or shoot us an email.