Readers of my blog know that organization culture is passion of mine – especially how to build a culture of recognition and then proactively manage it. I’ve heard many discount the ability to manage a corporate culture, but indeed you can. As my CEO Eric Mosley and I said in our book Winning with a Culture of Recognition:
“To say that corporate culture cannot be managed scientifically, with rigorous and authentic processes, is a myth with damaging consequences. An organization’s culture can be learned, encouraged, ingrained, and applied to every business process, in many forms and across many different parts of the organization. Applied correctly, culture management through recognition is one of the most powerful, effective and, most critically, positive ways to drive the success of your organization as measured by improvements in operating margins, income, and customer satisfaction.”
Kevin Sheridan’s book Building a Magnetic Culture is a perfect example of why this is true and an excellent guide for how to create a culture in which employees would choose to engage. Fundamental to this are the 10 Key Drivers of Employee Engagement, identified through the decades of research and analysis of millions of employee surveys conducted by the Research Institute within Mr. Sheridan’s company, HR Solutions. These are the 10 key drivers because 84% of employee engagement can be attributed to them. Of these 10 drivers, recognition is the one most responsible for engagement.
Throughout the book, Mr. Sheridan points out several interesting findings relative to recognition and organization culture:
- “Employee’s feelings about the Recognition she receives accounts for 56 percent of the variance in her level of engagement.”
- “Only 59 percent of employees say their supervisor lets them know when they have done a good job, revealing that many employees do not feel as though their managers acknowledge their accomplishments.”
- “When employees feel recognized in the workplace, they are statistically more likely to be Engaged employees, meaning they will work harder and produce a higher quality result… Even the most hard-nosed supervisors should be able to see the value in providing regular and meaningful Recognition since it is indirectly tied to revenue through Engagement.”
Building a Magnetic Culture addresses several other areas critical to employee engagement that strategic recognition strongly contributes to including making work more meaningful, communicating more effectively with employees, proper onboarding (“only 59% of employees believe their orientation was adequate!”).
Why Should You Care?
To combine and paraphrase several points addressed by Mr. Sheridan: 80 percent of employees never make it beyond the two-year mark. There is a steep decline of Engagement levels from 36 percent to 17 percent after one year of service. Appreciation is a key element to help those employed 1-5 years stay engaged. Millennials like to be recognized an average of seven times a day (even if just acknowledgement that an email was received and read).
And, critically to the bottom line: engaged employees are 10 times more likely to feel good work is recognized and 7 times more likely to feel they receive regular performance feedback. In terms of performance and productivity, nearly 80 percent of engaged employees received the best performance rating on their evaluation.
As you can see, Mr. Sheridan packs a great deal of knowledge, insight and analysis (as well as numerous informative case studies and application suggestions) into a highly readable and helpful volume. I encourage those who care about organization culture, employee engagement and recognition to give it a read and – more importantly – apply the principles in your own workplace.
One parting thought – Mr. Sheridan spends a good deal of time speaking to the importance of incorporating fun into the workplace. I couldn’t agree more, especially after reading this stat:
“Five-year-olds laugh an average of 113 times per day. As we get older, this number continues to decrease until it bottoms out in adulthood – from age 44 to retirement with only 11 times per day.”
Laughter is important to our well being in countless ways. It’s also core to a culture of recognition and appreciation in which everyone understands their value within the organization and to their colleagues. My challenge to you – laugh more every day. Give those around you reason to laugh and smile. Recognize and appreciate their efforts … and you may just change your culture in the process.
About Derek Irvine
The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.