Many employees report feeling disengaged at work. They may be focused on simply collecting a paycheck and may even dislike working for the company. Though this is not encouraging news, is it really so hard to believe?
If you look at a large enterprise with an old-school, bureaucratic system in place, would you expect a majority of employees to be satisfied with their position? Even some of the better-performing employees may be disengaged at work; they may be suffering from burnout and looking for another job.
What defines an employee-centric culture?
An employee-centric culture is an environment where ideas, creativity, free-flowing communication and innovation are encouraged throughout an organization. Employees in an employee-centric company culture feel safe making suggestions and challenging a structure they may feel is interfering with productivity and performance.
These employees have a connection with their team and organization, as well as a strong, secure sense of identity at work. They have a stake in, and take pride in, the business. This is because both challenges and ideas are received positively, which allows the employees to feel valued, respected and like there is an opportunity to grow in the company.
Employee-centric culture and the solution to disengagement
As we are in an era in which employee performance can be measured and improved, human resources departments are using top HR software platforms that provide people analytics to engage their best employees.
This reinvention of human resources departments asks us to stop eliminating low performers or dissatisfied employees and, instead, seek ways to engage them.
To see where your company's disengagement problems lie, you must look at three things:
- Current turnover rates
- Overall employee engagement levels
- If your employees can grow within their roles
Many companies understand the benefits of a great company culture, what it brings to an office and how it affects employee happiness. The way to create an employee-centric office is simply determining weaknesses, addressing them and coming up with solutions. It is easier said than done, which is why it is beneficial to give your employees a voice during the analysis stage. The roles of management and HR during the fact-finding stage are to manage the initiative and respond to any requests.
This completely goes against the usual "management is always right" approach, and it may sound radical, but companies promoting this kind of creative autonomy are the ones considered progressive and forward-thinking.
Benefits of an employee-centric culture
Employees are the backbone of a business, so encouraging a positive work experience is crucial for your company's growth. An employee-centric culture allows you to give more to your employees without risking significant costs to the company. Building a plan that is designed with the best interests of your employees in mind may not only save you money, but it may increase your profits. These are some potential benefits of employee-centric culture:
- It can increase productivity. Simply put, happiness creates productivity; when your employees are happy, they pay attention to whether or not their input is being accepted, which encourages them to be more invested in their jobs. When your employees are happy and content, it shows in their level of productivity.
- Employees are better matched to tasks. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your employees allows you to match them to tasks they are better suited for, which ultimately improves team camaraderie and performance.
- It gives you the ability to attract top talent. Companies that offer good benefits attract superior talent. Even companies that offer less pay but encourage employee ideas, suggestions and challenges can attract workers who are more likely to stay loyal to the business and put 100% into their work, because they feel invested with the company.
- It improves customer interactions. If your business has customers, your employees are more likely to display the enjoyment and engagement they feel when they are dealing with those customers.
How to create an employee-centric workplace
After measuring the overall level of engagement, you need to set up an action plan to create an employee-centric work environment.
1. Analyze the current company culture.
Your analysis will expose common patterns and issues across one or many departments. Once you are able to identify those departments and the common complaints employees have about or within those departments, come up with a strategy.
There are a variety of ways to determine the current culture within your company and then figure out what needs to be changed. Anonymously surveying your employees is an excellent way to learn what needs improvement, but if there isn't trust between employees and the employer, people might be hesitant to give honest answers. Encourage honesty by having your HR department review the survey responses, not a higher-up at the company.
2. Make data-driven decisions.
Sometimes you don't even need a tool or suggestion box to know that there are obvious flaws within the workplace. Whether it is a process, workflow or project that can be improved upon, analyze the best practices within other organizations and see if they are appropriate for yours. Creating an employee-centric workplace does not have to be complex; however, it should be based on data-driven observations.
3. Take action.
A company can improve by simply listening, taking action and letting their employees be people. Something as simple as giving employees the autonomy to make their own decisions and come up with their own projects can go a long way. Who knows what kind of workflows and unique concepts employees may bring to the table if they are given more autonomy.
Not all changes can be made at once. Start with the most pressing issues and work your way through the list. Company culture takes years to develop, and it will take months to years to change a company culture that is so deeply established.
The changing HR landscape
The future of human resources is looking bright. Companies are becoming more data-driven and tech-friendly, and decisions are being based on employee feedback instead of management's ideas.
Companies now have a lot of data proving that employees are more productive than ever. However, they are investing in engagement because they recognize that employee satisfaction and health matter to companies – not just their bottom lines.