How to Create a High-Performance Culture in your Organisation Right Now
Even if you hire the best people for the jobs in your organisation, it doesn't mean you will create and maintain a high-performance culture. It takes more than that. You need to create a culture where your employees can thrive and develop to be their best, even if you have the strongest talent.
Because if your people feel valued and engaged and experience a sense of purpose at work, you will be on your way to creating a high-performance culture. In addition, ideally, there would also be a culture of psychological safety for them to continually learn and develop. However, it's not an easy task to create a high-performing culture, and it takes time and effort to do so and to maintain it.
This blog will discuss the key ingredients you need to create a high-performance culture to allow your people to excel and boost productivity.
What is a High-Performance Culture?
We know from past blogs that your workplace culture is the set of values, behaviours and attitudes that make up your organisation. But it's not as simple as having high profit or productivity; there is more to measure when it comes to a high-performance culture. That's because a high-performance culture takes into account both the business’s success and also the success of its people.
And you, as the employer, have to find ways to satisfy your people in terms of career development and communication and create mindsets that allow them to flourish in the workplace. You can’t just talk about all the ways your organisation can develop your people and what you can offer them in return for their optimal input. You need to deliver in many aspects of the workplace.
What Does a High-Performance Culture Actually Look Like?
Unfortunately, there's no picture we can show you of the epitome of a high-performing culture, and that's because achieving one is not only complex but multi-faceted. It's about how your people feel about working at your organisation and whether the environment feels safe. It also needs to invoke a sense of belonging, trust and purpose.
How Do You Achieve a High-Performance Culture?
Destroy toxicity: no one wants to work in a toxic company culture, and it certainly won't contribute to a high-performing culture. Last year a study found that the main reason for employee turnover was a toxic culture. In fact, the findings show that a toxic culture was over 10 times more likely to be a contributor to turnover than compensation.
So, to retain your people and develop a high-performance culture, you and your leaders need to identify signs of a toxic culture and quickly make improvements. To gain a quick overview of what your people think about the culture, you could do an anonymous employee engagement survey to gain some honest feedback to see where your culture currently sits.
Then, you need to make the changes and reassess what people think. Identifying toxic workplace traits is challenging, and changing or eradicating them is probably harder. But toxicity has to go.
Encourage respect: your people want to feel respected. In one study, the best predictor of an organisation’s culture was whether the employees feel respected in the workplace. It was significantly ahead of the other predictors and was almost twice as important as the second most predicted factor.
Respect is difficult to master and often impossible to see but can be demonstrated (or not) by the language and behaviours of leaders, managers and peers. And it makes sense. If someone is working hard for your organisation and putting in their full effort and commitment, if they don't feel like they are respected for what they are doing, then employee engagement and motivation are likely to be low.
There is also respect for diversity and ensuring everyone in the organisation feels fully included. If you don’t have a diversity strategy that is practised by all, you need to get cracking.
Create purpose: employees need to know why. For instance, why they are working for you, why they are putting in the extra effort, why they come to work every day and many more whys. They need to understand what their purpose is, what they're bringing to work and how their contribution makes a difference to the wider company.
McKinsey research found that 70% of employees reported that their sense of purpose is defined by their work. Such meaning will improve engagement, yet are your managers actually having conversations with individuals about why they matter and why their work matters to the organisation?
Effective leadership: often, an organisation's culture is created and influenced from the top down. If your leaders or C-suite act as role models that employees can respect and trust, then it should enhance the high-performance culture. Leaders also need to be visible, live the organisational values, offer encouragement and support and listen to their people.
Continuous feedback: feedback comes in all forms and can be through feedback or praise for the work an employee does, or it can be from employees back to the organisation. Ideally, feedback needs to be continuous regardless of who the input comes from. If you only receive it once a year, it’s unlikely to have an ongoing impact.
To encourage a high-performance culture, feedback must be a daily part of your organisational culture and a two-way process that becomes the norm.
Learning and development: to be truly high performing, your organisation must develop your people to work as well as they can. If your people are the ‘best in class’ because you have carefully recruited the talent your business requires and also ensured they have received the necessary training and development, then you should have a high-performing group of individuals.
You must ensure that your people have the opportunities to develop their existing skills and learn relevant new ones. This way, your organisation should be more resilient to future challenges and be on top of new trends. Also, your people should be more motivated and loyal if they feel you are investing in their development.
Resources: if you want your people to perform at their best and exceed goals, they need the correct resources in place to do so. That's not to say that resources will guarantee a drive for success, but individuals need the right technology, systems and processes to enable them to achieve their optimal performance. In addition, they need the right management support and training to motivate them and help them learn and feedback and communication systems foster a culture of continuous learning and support.
As Gartner states, “A high-performance workplace results from continually balancing investment in people, process, physical environment and technology, to measurably enhance the ability of workers to learn, discover, innovate, team and lead, and to achieve efficiency and financial benefit.”
Communication: talk to your people. It’s that simple. Find different ways to communicate business strategy, performance or updates. Whatever you do, communicate with your workforce so that they don't hear about business changes from other people or from external colleagues.
One study found that 74% of employees feel that they are missing out on information and news about their organisation. So while employees shouldn't be privy to every piece of information, you do need to find ways of delivering timely and relevant communication and ensuring individuals aren’t excluded.
Sorwe has numerous ways to help you improve communication within your organisation, including mobile solutions, surveys and suggestion boxes.
Create a performance management cycle: performance management should form an essential component of your employee lifecycle. Managers should ensure that they are holding regular feedback conversations with each of their direct reports, and annual appraisals should not be the only part of the performance management cycle.
By holding regular performance management meetings with individuals, you are checking that goals are still relevant, ensuring that progress is occurring and motivating employees to take the time to review their performance. They also provide the opportunity to coach an individual to reach goal achievement. By holding regular meetings, the dreaded annual appraisal vibes should be a thing of the past. A feedback culture should encourage daily peer, team and direct report-to-manager feedback (and vice versa) as the norm.
We should all aim to achieve a high-performance culture in our organisations, but like any successful workplace, it takes time, commitment, and effort to achieve and maintain. If your people are motivated and engaged with a clear sense of purpose and feel like they have the opportunity to continually learn and develop, then a high-performance culture can be achievable.
Take a close look at your business and really ask if you are communicating as well as you could and question whether you have mastered a feedback culture with an effective performance management process.