Any organisation, small or big, should focus on creating self-sustaining ecosystems for its associates (employees). A superior work culture, in fact, can not only retain talent, it can also propel an organisation towards its goals. The key to creating a superior work culture is focusing on building the elements of competence and character within the organisation.
Purpose: Every successful organisation and its top executives are generally passionate about creating the right direction for the organisation. Often the mission and vision of an organisation is crafted to include all possible key/power words that can create an impact on the minds of clients and shareholders. However, it is equally important to align this to the associates (the significant other stakeholders). Associates are often not aware of the direction, leading to lack of confidence in the organisation. Clearly outlining the purpose of the organisation and the associates’ ability to play a significant role needs to be established.
Need: While every organisation has a history of initiatives and practices, but they need to have the capability to think beyond today and have the courage to alter or recall their practices based on the need. It is beneficial to “be realistic” of the situation by gathering data from diverse populations.
Life-life balance: At ADP, we strongly believe in the concept of life-life balance, where we consider work as an integral part of your life without defined boundaries. This helps in setting the tone and creating a culture where work is considered “home away from home.” If an associate is in known surroundings and has the ability to do more than just work, the level of engagement is bound to be greater.
Communication: Trust is built on the foundation of direct and transparent communication followed by the required action. This is critical to the culture and has to be driven diligently across all levels and grades in the organisation.
Empowerment: Associates must be empowered with the ability to voice their opinions and the scope for committing genuine mistakes should be enabled. This will ensure an open and transparent culture, building immense trust in the system. The top-down approach is the best way to showcase commitment towards associates in the organisation.
Every leader must be committed to the growth and empowerment of all associates in respective groups.
It is said that people leave their leaders, not the organisation. A leader at every level must be empowered to create opportunities for their people within the organisation. After all, if there is an opportunity within, why look outside?
Creating an array of opportunities for associates to move laterally and vertically can help reducing job hopping and lead to retention of talent.
Recognition: Another key element is in valuing relationships and connecting associates to the larger purpose of the organisation. It is an innate human trait to have a purpose in life and be recognised for their existence. This is true for every human being regardless of the role and designation. This needs to be acknowledged in both words and actions.
Feedback: We live in the world of social media and history has taught us that the right to express is an intrinsic motivator. Also, the litmus test for knowing your culture is to hear first-hand from your associates. We need to create multiple avenues to check on associates’ engagement with the organisation. Knowing what your people think is a great start, but responding and action on feedback is what builds the confidence. Absence of any one of the elements will not have the desired positive effect on building a self-sustaining ecosystem.
In the end, it is all about the culture.
By Vipul Singh
The author is vice-president & head of HR & Communications, ADP India