Why bother with the impact of employee engagement on culture? What’s the fuss?

Globally, leadership, culture and employee engagement are regarded as THE drivers for sustainable growth in organisations.

It makes you think, isn’t this obvious anyway because of the competitive nature of our business environments? Isn’t it a known fact that employees are responsible for delivering the brand promise and they are the ones who ultimately generate profits?

Granted, from a leadership perspective we have to focus on task excellence and achieving results and while this is absolutely necessary it may not be sufficient if we want to stay on top of our game. We have to seriously focus on developing people and cultivating relationship excellence to ensure we stay relevant from a leadership and employee engagement perspective.

The challenge leaders are facing is not ONLY related to the operational or cognitive culture of the employees (how we do things in the organisation) but also how they relate to them on an emotional level (how we make people feel) to achieve sustainable results.

As leaders, we are responsible for the entire human being and our employees are first human beings and then they are employees. Employees thrive when they are treated with kindness in the workplace because as social creatures we need more than just a transactional exchange in the workplace. We have an intrinsic desire to connect, communicate and collaborate. We are wired with emotions and it is said that all decision making is 30% rational and 70% emotional and it is the emotional side of the decision making process that creates connected, passionate and engaged customers and for that matter engaged employees.

Although we have good intentions when we develop strategies, processes, policies and procedures (needed to drive consistency within brands), it is our culture (how we do things and how we make people feel) that will impact how these very best thoughtout rational processes and strategies are implemented. Peter Drucker understood this principle clearly when he said that culture eats strategy for breakfast!

As Grant Driver, CEO of Captivate International said “Your product can make you a good brand but to become a great brand you need highly engaged employees”. I have to agree because brands or companies are no longer what they say they are but what others say they are and the customers’ perception is formed by the behaviour of the people representing the organisation.

Thus organisational culture and levels of employee engagement are becoming lifeline issues within organisations because it is clear that emotionally connected employees simply perform better.

Highly engaged employees get results with energy, passion and purpose because they engage better with customers, innovate faster and execute more reliably.

Highly engaged employees represent the ultimate competitive weapon for the future and employee support is becoming a major social currency in organisations.

Successful brands understand that to build a strong corporate brand you need highly engaged brand ambassadors, employees who are passionate, engaged, committed and authentic.

Are we over complicating the subject matter of employee engagement and culture; at times I think we do.

Based on my experience, employee engagement is driven by the following key drivers within organisations.

  1. Personal identity (Self-awareness)
  2. Corporate identity (Culture)
  3. Emotional connectedness (sense of belonging)
  4. Inspirational leadership in support of strengths based and purpose driven culture within the organisation.

More than this employee engagement runs the risk of becoming more complicated and time consuming than what is necessary.

Author: Elmarie Vos