Matt Stephens, author of Revolution in a Heartbeat, and creator of the Heartbeat app, shares his business insights into the best way to build culture into your organisation and team:
Over 500 HR and Internal Communication practitioners have taken part in the trial of Heartbeat, a revolutionary online surveying tool. This has provided us with fantastic insight into what these leading practitioners view as important elements when building an organisation’s culture.
1 Good leadership
Looking at the comments, the most important thing for respondents is that their leader shows that they care about them and values their input. Employees need to feel that their leader has their best interests at heart and recognise the value that they bring to the team, the organization, and the customer.
Our insight indicates that showing you care is best shown through listening. It can seem such a small act, but simply taking time to listen to the team member and getting to know them (by asking questions unrelated to work) is a highly impactful way of forming a strong connection with the employee. Then, recognising that their work makes a difference gives them a sense of purpose and appreciation within the team/organisation.
A second key element concerning leadership is that the leader shows trust in their team member. This trust can be displayed in a variety of ways, however, from the comments gathered in the survey, the most effective way is through delegating responsibility and not micro-managing team members. Trusting team members can be tough as it means loosening the reins and letting go of some control, yet it can have a huge impact on the engagement of team members.
From work we have also found the most common barrier to engagement is communication. Employees with regular, clear communication are far more engaged than employees that feel uninformed and rarely communicated with. A lack of communication, particularly in times of change, causes severe disengagement. Uncertainty and lack of clarification can lead to rumours and a feeling of disconnection, with many respondents stating that they hear about company news around the office rather than from their manager. Regular face-to-face communication to keep employees informed and with the opportunity to ask questions is essential for building an engaged and effective culture.
Employees want to know where they are heading and that they are working towards something worthwhile. Not only do they need to see the destination but they want to see how their work fits into achieving the vision and reaching the destination – what’s their role?
Why is a vision so important? Firstly, it gives clarity about the future of the company and a target for employees to work towards. Secondly, it motivates them – as they can see how their work fits within a bigger picture and has a purpose.
These are the elements that HR and Internal Communication practitioners believed were most important, yet this doesn’t always mean that their organisations were performing in these areas. When asked which one of the elements they thought their organisation does best, the results were interesting. The top 3 elements were:
- People committed to the values
It is no surprise that values and vision are the top two because they are often intertwined, as values are the behaviours required to achieve the vision and deliver the strategy.
What has this insight told us? That HR and Internal Communication practitioners view that good leadership, communication and vision as the top elements for building culture, yet they feel that leadership, in particular, is not what their organisations do best. Helping leaders be clear on their role and equipping them to perform it is clearly a key requirement in many organisations.
Revolution in a Heartbeat is available to buy here.
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