“It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious.” – Henry David Thoreau
I must preface this blog post by assuring you that you will not be enlightened on how to appear culturally refined nor will you be presented with a quiz that will evaluate your level of “culturedness.” Rather, your current thought process as it relates to your firm’s organizational culture will be challenged. In part 1 of this 2 part series, I explore why culture matters in enabling change and improving revenue growth and profitability for your organization. In part 2, I’ll discuss several actions organizations can take to establish a culture which embraces change and ultimately achieves improved financial and employee engagement results.
The Need for a Culture of Change
Today’s changing market conditions are forcing companies to shift and reinvent themselves at a quicker pace than ever before. Increased competition and innovation in the marketplace are uncovering a need for continual transformation. Consumers have access to extensive amounts of information at their fingertips and switching costs are very low, making competition fierce. Companies are required to creatively uncover new ways of doing business, making transformation a critical piece of their organization’s fabric. Transformation fundamentally shifts “business as usual” by removing the chains off of current processes and fueling innovation to define a future state solution which enables an organization to reach new heights. As you can imagine, transformation involves a significant amount of change for an organization, and not every organizational culture lends itself to effectively implement this type of change.
A strong organizational culture can positively influence companies in various ways, but it’s effect on employee engagement may be the most impactful. Engaged employees are empowered to establish stronger emotional connections with customers to deliver the firm’s brand promise, in turn directly improving customer engagement. And, it is customer engagement which boosts financial performance. All of this clearly points to the undeniable link between organizational culture, employee engagement and financial performance.
Let’s take a step back to better understand how culture is the key ingredient to transforming your organization.
Why Culture Matters?
As the opening quote implies, a true culture exposes the values and behaviors embodied by the individuals who are its foundation, and to be effective, culture should enhance the well-being of those individuals rather than inhibit or alter their innate disposition. Culture should be worked with and not against. Gallup Inc. is a research-based firm which provides data driven insights on a variety of topics including the well-being of employees. Many professionals used to gloss over articles related to well-being, categorizing them as “fluffy” and lacking any actionable guidance for organizations. This is no longer the case.
According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report in 2013 which highlights the results of a study performed across various workplaces in more than 140 countries, when organizations successfully engage their customers and their employees, they experience a 240% boost in performance-related outcomes. The largest predictor of profit for an organization is organic revenue growth, and a method to increase organic revenue growth is to improve customer engagement. Customer engagement includes forming more meaningful relationships with customers across all of their experiences with your organization. In one day, a customer may interact with social media, reach out to your contact center, and click to chat with a representative in order to meet their needs. All of these interactions require consistent customer experiences which should deliver on your organization’s brand promise.
Although consistent experiences may be enabled by enhanced technology, many of them will be by-products of interactions with your organization’s employees. And, it is employee engagement which is in fact the largest predictor of customer engagement. Increasing customer engagement by augmenting employee engagement allows companies to capitalize on their brand promise and deliver best in class service to not only their customers, but to all those hard-working individuals (employees) who are the brand ambassadors of your company.
There it is. Employee engagement not only impacts your ability to attract and retain those highly sought after professionals, but it actually impacts your bottom line. Although you may feel you have uncovered the silver bullet to sustained success, it’s not that easy. Employee engagement requires a supportive culture where employees can thrive: energized by their work while still continuing to learn and grow.
In Part 2 of this series, I will highlight what types of actions your organization can take to improve performance-related outcomes and financial results.
For further insight into how your organization can enable a culture responsive to change, reach out to Gordana Radmilovic at email@example.com.
Gordana Radmilovic is a leader within West Monroe Partners’ Transformation Center of Excellence and a Manager within our Insurance practice.