We all know how hard it is to attract, retain, train and replace great employees. When you factor in the currently low unemployment rate, though, that struggle becomes even more difficult. Employee engagement is a popular topic, in terms of both productivity and retention, but is driving culture really as important as we've been told?
The short answer is yes! Driving culture—that is, building and nurturing a healthy climate within your company—does matter when it comes to employee engagement. Let's take a look at some research on the subject.
1. Job hopping and employee dissatisfaction are a vicious cycle.
O.C. Tanner is an employee engagement company that helps companies cultivate a healthy culture. In 2017, the company conducted a study that spanned numerous countries and nearly 10,000 participants to gain an understanding of the relationship between employee retention and culture. O.C. Tanner then isolated data from more than 5,000 respondents who were millennials.
According to the report, "millennials who have a tendency to change jobs frequently feel underutilized, stagnant, stressed out and bored at work." What's more, "there is a strong association between the number of jobs that millennials have had and their discontent with their current organization."
Why? The study found that these respondents didn't trust management, didn't feel like their skills were fully used and didn't think their company sets goals.
Since job hopping is a reality for many millennials, it's important for employers to understand how to tackle the emotional fallout.
Every single one of O.C. Tanner's recommendations for addressing millennial discontent is about driving culture. They suggest maintaining open communication, focusing on employee appreciation, building a sense of purpose and giving employees a chance to make a difference.
Driving culture, according to engagement experts, is the solution to retaining employees and improving their quality of life.
2. Boredom and culture clash drive employees away.
Management consulting firm Korn Ferry surveyed 4,900 professionals in 2017. The firm wanted to know how workers look for jobs and their reasons for leaving the jobs they already have.
Company leaders typically have assumed that money matters more than anything when it comes to retaining employees. As it turns out, based on the Korn Ferry survey, driving culture matters a whole lot more.
Of the survey respondents who indicated they intended to look for work in 2018, 33 percent said they were leaving because they were bored and needed new challenges. Twenty-four percent indicated their departure would be because the company culture didn't fit with their values. Only 19 percent intended to leave for a higher salary.
What does that mean for your business? Driving culture is vital!
Finding employees who fit with your established culture and cultivating a culture that matters to your staff can help you retain employees. Taking the time to ensure that your staff feels challenged and good about the work they do is important.
3. Happy employees work harder, better and longer.
One4all Rewards is a company that offers companies the opportunity to provide employees with gift cards as incentives or rewards. They conducted a survey published in 2018 of 1,024 full-time UK-based employees, and learned that driving culture can be profitable.
Thirty-nine percent of workers responded that if they're happy in their job, they will work harder; 30 percent said they'd be willing to work longer if they're happy. (That same amount reported they'd be willing to leave their job if they're unhappy.)
And how happy are these employees? The average worker reported a happiness rating of 6.81 out of 10. Only 21 percent of workers believe their boss cares about their happiness at work.
Perhaps the most interesting revelation in the One4all Rewards survey is what constitutes driving culture in a meaningful way. Forty-six percent of workers said they'd been made to participate in activities that were intended to be fun but ended up being awkward—52 percent of workers reported that they disliked engaging in team-building activities.
The major takeaways from this recent research is that while driving culture is important, it needs to be authentic to be meaningful to your employees. A healthy company culture can help keep employees feeling invested and happy.
Read more articles employee retention.