A positive work culture is paramount for today’s organizations. It provides a competitive edge by enhancing employee satisfaction and productivity, which in turn boosts employee satisfaction and retention. A positive work culture helps to foster employee engagement, contributes to employee well-being, motivates employees to succeed, and cultivates a culture of collaboration. Let’s take a closer look at how a positive work culture influences each of these factors to impact employee satisfaction and productivity.
Employees who work for a company with a positive work culture are more likely to be engaged because they feel valued and supported by their colleagues and managers. Factors that contribute to a positive work culture that foster employee engagement include having open lines of communication between employees and managers and the ability to provide feedback and input on work processes and projects — and have that feedback taken into consideration instead of feeling as if it’s brushed aside, among others.
When employees feel as though their needs are being met, their concerns and ideas valued and considered, they feel like they’re making a valuable contribution to a greater cause. And because they feel like valued contributors, they’re more likely to engage with new projects and opportunities, and they’re more likely to take part in non-mandatory activities such as after-hours team-building activities. This increased engagement helps to foster stronger connections and trust between coworkers and management, ultimately creating a more collaborative, supportive environment in which everyone feels they can succeed.
Behavioral data can help companies improve employee engagement, employee satisfaction, and productivity by providing insights into what motivates individual employees, informing leadership behaviors and initiatives, and implementing data-driven strategies to improve collaboration and performance. For example, one multinational technology company leveraged Humanyze’s workforce analytics solution to measure the impact on the shift to remote work due to COVID-19. The data revealed that employees were working significantly longer workdays, on average, after shifting to remote work.
While this data may initially be alarming, further analysis reveals deeper contextual insights to help companies make more informed decisions. In this case, the company discovered that employees were spreading their work out over a longer time span, taking more breaks throughout the workday to attend to personal matters — which can actually increase employees’ sense of work-life balance. Without the benefit of deeper, more contextual insights, the company may have misinterpreted the initial findings and implemented engagement strategies targeting employees at a high risk of burnout, which would likely have been ineffective.
Work culture is about more than just employees’ and managers’ attitudes while at work and when interacting with coworkers; it’s also about flexibility, collaboration, health and safety, and more. All of these factors contribute to a positive work culture and influence employee well-being. A flexible work schedule or remote or hybrid work model can offer greater work-life balance, allowing employees the flexibility to keep up with work and personal tasks. This enables employees to engage in hobbies and other activities that support mental and physical health, resulting in fewer sick days and better productivity at work.
While flexible work arrangements can contribute to employee well-being, and in turn boost employee satisfaction and productivity, it’s crucial to measure the impact these types of work culture initiatives have on employees. For example, one leading auto manufacturer adopted a remote-first work model in which employees worked from home most of the time but allowed them to utilize the office when needed to improve flexibility. Leveraging the Humanyze Organizational Health Platform™, the company found that employees were struggling to balance finding time for focused work during the 8-hour workday while also finding time for meaningful interactions.
Data collected over a 9-month measurement period found that more than half (55%) of employees were working more than 10-hour days, on average, by the end of the 9-month period, and the data also indicated a decrease in employees’ sense of connection and trust with colleagues and management. Additionally, an increase in meetings and time spent emailing, coupled with declines in metrics related to social connections with peers and management — which impact employees’ ability to gain the information and context they need to prioritize their work and meet deadlines — indicated that employees had not yet found new ways of engaging with colleagues and leadership to the face-to-face interaction they were used to in the office.
Armed with these insights, the company was able to make data-driven decisions to modify work processes and communication pathways to better support employees’ needs and allow them to maintain a better work-life balance, contributing to employee well-being and productivity.
In companies with a positive work culture, rewards and incentives are often offered for exceptional performance. Achievements are recognized by colleagues and managers, and successes are celebrated both for individuals and as a team. Like engaged employees, those who feel recognized and rewarded for personal and team accomplishments are motivated to succeed. And motivated employees are more likely to put their best foot forward and bring their best effort, skills, and talents to every task.
Not every employee is motivated equally by the same rewards and incentives, however. Leveraging a workforce analytics solution can help leadership identify the biggest motivators for individual employees and measure the impact on rewards and incentives on productivity and performance, allowing leaders to create targeted initiatives for rewards, recognition, and incentives that have the biggest impact on employee satisfaction and productivity.
In a recent survey conducted by Humanyze, 73% of respondents said that not being able to collaborate with colleagues in-person was the biggest challenge they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. A lack of collaboration makes it difficult for employees to obtain the information and context they need from coworkers and managers to perform their jobs and prioritize their tasks. This can result in miscommunication, leading to frustration, or unnecessary time spent tracking down information that could be more easily obtained in a work culture that prioritizes collaboration.
However, collaboration isn’t only a concern in remote and hybrid work environments; it impacts employee satisfaction and productivity in in-office work environments, too. In many modern organizations, it’s not only necessary to communicate with colleagues on your team but also colleagues from other teams, departments, and even work sites. Unfortunately, teams commonly end up working in silos and find it difficult to communicate with others outside of their primary teams, whether because they don’t know who they need to collaborate with or they don’t know how to reach them. In some cases, it’s a case of out of sight, out of mind; colleagues who don’t see each other that often, may be less likely to think about sharing information that may impact their work.
Multiple factors can impact collaboration, from the office layout to the collaboration applications used by teams. For example, one large European bank found that a poor office layout was contributing to differences in communication patterns and performance between a high-performing branch and a low-performing branch. In the low-performing branch, a multi-story office layout restricted communication patterns and limited opportunities for collaboration throughout the day. By utilizing workforce analytics, the bank identified success patterns such as having more face-to-face interactions throughout the day, supported by a more collaborative office layout.
In another case study, one sportswear company leveraged workforce analytics to measure the impact of recent changes to building assignments. The data revealed that most collaboration was occurring between employees in the same or nearby buildings and that the greater the distance from one another, the less likely employees were to collaborate even through digital channels such as email. Armed with these insights, the company was able to reassess and reconfigure its building assignments to align team locations to support better collaboration and decrease the amount of time required for employees to get to and from meeting locations, contributing to an increase in efficiency and productivity.
These are just a few of the ways a positive work culture contributes to employee satisfaction and employee productivity. By ensuring that employees feel heard and valued, motivating employees to succeed through targeted rewards and incentives, and demonstrating that employees’ well-being is a priority, companies can cultivate a positive, supportive work culture that drives success.