Improving Company Culture is a Must for Leaders
#evolve Magazine
April 26, 2023

“Revenue is all that matters,” said all the ex-CEOs from 2018, who left employee experience on the back burner. Amid today’s uncertainty, that kind of thinking couldn’t be more wrong. If you’re among the organizational leaders who feel that workplace culture isn’t a priority focus, get ready for a wake-up call.

Economic downturns denote critical times for organizations. These situations couldn’t be more staggering for companies that rely heavily on their people. That’s why improving company culture matters.

Leaders must aim to be innovators and take advantage of the latest corporate culture trends being shaped in the post-pandemic era. After all, when leaders treat their people well, that will be reflected in how employees treat their job responsibilities and clients.

But first, leaders must ask themselves: “Do I know what employees want?”

At eLearning Industry, our recent Future of Work report revealed how the focus for employees and employers is shifting towards the need to improve company culture and employee experience.

When employees constantly hear about compensation reductions, the rise in layoffs, changes in management and reorganization, it affects their morale. And sure, anxieties like these make some quake in their boots, while others might work “harder” to avoid consequences. But usually, the end result doesn’t have a good outcome. Why? Because working in a fear-based environment will eventually make top talent flee. The good ones will seek rescue in a company culture that respects them and celebrates their efforts and accomplishments. So, it’s time to prevent your employees from feeling like they are walking on eggshells.

Additionally, our recent findings blow the whistle on leaders that latch onto employees’ underlying fears, preventing teams from driving value and achieving ambitious goals. Don’t fall into this trap. Hindering connectivity and collaboration are sure to make your business suffer and take more time to recover from challenges.

Our Future Of Work report revealed 50% of employees believe that company leaders do not understand what employees want or what motivates them. Be it employee development or organizational growth, engaging in successful culture-building initiatives capitalizes on new opportunities. Eventually, you can keep your employees happy and beat your competition.

Why Some Leaders Struggle to Connect to Their Workforce

Leadership should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, there are many factors that lead to leadership failure. Be it a lack of experience or poor communication skills, things can easily go sideways. More often than not, leaders struggle to communicate with their team members, and conflicts arise among workers and even with other leaders.

Here are some factors that lead to a lack of connection between leadership and other team members:

  • Lack of active listening skills
  • Not understanding the organization’s goals
  • Failures in communication with employees
  • Inability to form a functional team and drive performance
  • Taking problems personally and not taking responsibility

Keeping motivation high is key. But when leaders can’t connect to their workforces, havoc occurs. You have to make sure that employees feel welcomed and respected. To do that, you need to build strong, genuine relationships.

One thing that connects all the above is ensuring good communication and embracing feedback. And that’s when focusing on company culture comes to the rescue. It’s all about improving employee morale and increasing engagement.

Starting with clear priorities and goals and having transparency in decision making is vital if you want to succeed. And of course, having integrity as a core value is essential.

Let’s take a look at some best practices that can help create a positive work environment that’s far from intimidating team members to do the work. Instead, leaders can create a code that everyone abides by and pledges to bring out the best for the greater good of the team and your company. 

Best Practices for Forming Stronger Connections 

Forming stronger connections is what will help you lead a true team that shares the same vision and values. Most importantly, it’s how high performing teams are built. If your goal is to attract and retain top talent, there are some steps you can take towards building stronger connections with team members.

Here are some best practices to make it happen:

  • Have one-on-one conversations
  • Host brainstorming sessions
  • Prioritize cross-level conversations
  • Build connections through shared activities
  • Create opportunities for interaction and foster a collaborative environment
  • Listen to employee feedback on business decisions and maximize employee recognition
  • Note employee advice, and act on good ideas

Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to improve connections and balance the needs of your organization with the needs of your employees’ well-being. That’s how you create an efficient, productive workplace culture. 

How Leaders Can Better Listen and Respond to Employees’ Needs

If you’re worried about transforming culture, don’t; these tips will apply in any type of working environment. Even if your employees are no longer face-to-face every day, you can build a high-performing company culture anywhere. Hundreds of leading companies around the world are already accelerating culture efforts, so it’s important not to get left behind.

Why should leaders care about culture and what employees want, you may ask. Let’s consider an example. How many of your employees would quit if you told them they can’t work remotely anymore? To prevent employees from leaving, you could be more flexible and stop forcing employees back to the office, especially since employees say they want remote work because it helps them feel more productive and have a better experience. In fact, according to our report, 40% of employees would quit if they were required to return to the office full-time. And most of them would consider quitting even if they’re asked to come into the office once per week. Now that says something about the importance of employee feedback.

Being a good manager is challenging. However, by developing fundamental communication skills and getting employee feedback, you can improve leadership styles and employees’ well-being. Another tip is to consider adding leadership training programs to the mix.

Here are some ways corporate leaders can use to better listen and respond to their employees’ needs:

  • Understand your biases and provide a safe space for employees to speak up
  • Conduct regular surveys on employee experience
  • Offer workshops on company culture and team building
  • Effectively inspire professional development
  • Engage employees in tracking and achieving KPIs

Becoming a better leader means focusing on how well you listen to your employees. When employees feel they are heard and they can voice their opinions on business decisions and actions, you can only grow as a business.

This is how we created an environment of improved employee morale and engagement here at eLearning Industry. And I trust that our proven culture-shaping strategies can help you promote and improve teamwork by leading responsibly.

Key takeaway? Your employees will step up, if you listen up.

Editor’s Note: Additional Content

For more information and resources related to this article see the pages below, which offer quick access to all WorldatWork content on these topics:

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