Does your company have a top-down, management-centric culture? At one time, this was the most common type of business culture. Executives made decisions, communicated them down the ranks and ensured employees executed their tasks appropriately. However, research has shown that this type of culture leaves organizations vulnerable to concerning weaknesses, including high employee turnover, excessive absenteeism, less employee engagement and lower profits.
Shifting to an employee-centric company culture can help solve these problems. After all, businesses are composed primarily of employees. When team members feel cared for, respected and valued, the entire organization benefits from deeper engagement and employee loyalty. We’ll explain more about employee-centric cultures and share tips and best practices for creating a thriving workplace where all team members contribute.
Did you know? According to Gallup data, employees who strongly feel connected to their organization’s culture are 3.7 times more likely to be engaged at work, 68 percent less likely to feel burned out and 55 percent less likely to seek another job.
What defines an employee-centric culture?
An employee-centric workplace culture is an environment where ideas, creativity, free-flowing communication and team innovation are encouraged throughout an organization. Employees in an employee-centric company culture feel safe making suggestions and challenging a structure they may feel interferes with productivity and performance.
Employees in an employee-centric culture have connections with team members, managers and stakeholders and enjoy a strong, secure sense of identity at work. They know they have a stake in the organization’s success and take pride in the business.
In a successful employee-centric organization, employees, managers and leadership accept challenges and ideas positively. Everyone is receptive to input and puts the good of the company first. This strong company culture creates an atmosphere where employees feel valued and respected and understand that they have numerous opportunities for career and professional growth in the organization.
Did you know? An empowered employee culture helps you recruit top employees. In fact, according to Glassdoor, 86 percent of job seekers screen prospective employers according to their company culture.
How to create an employee-centric workplace
Many companies understand the benefits of a happy and productive work culture that unifies teams and boosts productivity. However, if your business isn’t quite there yet, there are ways to change your workplace culture and implement the tenets of an employee-centric workplace.
It starts with pinpointing your office’s current weaknesses, addressing these issues and creating solutions. After measuring the overall level of employee engagement, you must set up an action plan to create an employee-centric work environment.
1. Analyze the current company culture.
Your analysis of your current company culture will expose common patterns and issues that must be improved across one or many departments. First off, determine how engaged your employers are currently. What is hindering their engagement levels? Do managers listen to their input? Are they recognized for effective contributions? Do they feel overworked and underpaid? Once you identify the problems your employees face, you can create a strategy to change their workplace culture.
You can evaluate your current company culture and determine what needs fixing in several ways. Surveying your employees can yield valuable information; however, if there isn’t sufficient trust between employees and the employer (in itself a sign that your culture urgently needs to be improved), people might be hesitant to give honest answers. Anonymous employee surveys may give employees more incentive to answer honestly. You can also glean informal feedback by chatting with employees spontaneously.
Tip: Encourage honesty in survey responses by having your human resources department review your employee surveys, not a C-suite executive.
2. Make data-driven decisions.
Creating an employee-centric workplace does not have to be complex. However, it should be based on data-driven observations. Evaluate the information your employees share and make improvement-focused decisions based on the data you gather.
Sometimes, you don’t even need a tool or suggestion box to know there are obvious flaws within the workplace. Whether it’s a process, workflow or project that can be improved upon, analyze the best practices within other organizations and see if they are appropriate for yours.
Tip: Use the information you collect as a starting point for your improvement strategy and then consider both your gut instinct and hard data when making decisions.
3. Take action to implement company culture improvements.
You may create a more employee-centric organization with concrete workflow and infrastructure improvements. However, something as straightforward as giving employees the autonomy to make their own decisions and determine their own projects can go a long way toward creating the workplace culture you desire. Who knows what kind of workflows and unique concepts employees may bring to the table if given more autonomy?
Not all changes can be made at once. Start with the most pressing issues and work your way through the list. Company culture takes years to develop and it will take months to years to change a deeply established company culture. However, some improvements will be immediate and get your organization steered in the right direction.
Benefits of an employee-centric culture
Employees are the backbone of a business, so encouraging a positive work experience is crucial for any business with a growth mindset. Potential benefits of an employee-centric culture include the following:
- An employee-centric culture can increase productivity: Happier employees are more productive. They know their input is valued and respected and organically become more invested in their jobs. Increased productivity is a natural offshoot.
- An employee-centric culture matches employees to tasks: When you understand your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, you can assign them tasks they’re suited for and put them in situations where they can shine. Successful, respected teams enjoy increased camaraderie and improved performance.
- An employee-centric culture helps you attract top talent: It’s understood that companies with top-notch employee benefits packages attract superior talent. However, an employee-centric culture is a unique, intangible benefit that can lure talented team members seeking positive work experiences. When your business encourages employees’ ideas and suggestions and challenges them with exciting opportunities, employee loyalty can flourish.
- An employee-centric culture improves customer interactions: If your business has customers, happy, empowered employees can better serve their needs quickly and efficiently. With an improved customer experience, your business’s bottom line can grow stronger.