It is intangible, implicit, never fully intentional, yet it has a significant impact on organizations, the people working for them and the results they achieve. Corporate culture affects a host of important metrics. Employee morale and productivity, turnover rates, customer satisfaction levels, and profitability: all are affected, be it positively or negatively.
For example, companies with unhealthy cultures fail to adapt to change. According to research by management consultants McKinsey & Company, a total of 70% of all unsuccessful attempts at transformation fail precisely because of culture. On the other hand, companies with scores in the top quartile (in a study measuring company culture and performance in more than a thousand organizations) have reported return on investment 60% higher than the ROI by companies in the median and 200% higher compared to organizations in the bottom quartile.
A strong and healthy company culture matters even more in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and with the advent of remote and hybrid work. Increasingly, healthy company culture is defined as connected company culture: one that fosters a sense of belonging, ensures that company values and employees’ values are in sync and favors collaboration, rather than competition.
What Is A Company Culture?
Company culture influences the attitudes of employees and management and defines which behaviors are desired or undesired. It defines the atmosphere in a company and the ways things are done there. In other words, “culture is the tacit order of an organization”.
While company culture is a powerful influence on behavior, cultural norms are never (fully) spelled out. The best way to find out about an organization’s culture is to experience it.
Traditionally, organizations have relied on hierarchy and competition to boost productivity. However, a strong emphasis on hierarchy is not conducive to agility and innovation. In addition, a cut-throat, overly-competitive culture is counterproductive in the long run. The high stress levels experienced by employees in very competitive organizations typically translate into more health issues and more workplace incidents. There are higher levels of absenteeism and higher turnover rates, less innovation and lower levels of employee engagement.
The good news is that organizations can purposefully foster positive cultural norms which support productivity and ensure a positive employee experience.
Connected Company Culture And Why It Matters?
As the name suggests, connected culture, also referred to as connection culture, emphasizes relationships over competition. Employees are encouraged to communicate, collaborate and support each other. One advantage of such an approach is that employees are more productive, as shown in numerous studies. According to one estimate, companies promoting collaboration are five times more likely to be high-performing.
Another advantage of company culture that focuses on connection is that employees experience less stress and higher engagement levels. In addition, connected workplaces are more likely to cultivate a sense of belonging among employees. According to the Achievers Workforce Institute, belonging at work is “a crucial component of individual and organizational success”. In fact, compared to employees with an average sense of belonging, those who feel a strong bond are more than twice as likely to recommend their company to jobseekers and feel supported, safe, competent and able to manage any challenges and obstacles that arise.
Connected culture also helps employees to relate in a meaningful way to the work that they do and to the company. Employees feel their work has meaning and are happier and more motivated.
Besides a focus on collaboration, there are four other key elements that distinguish workplaces with connected culture:
- They are safe spaces: Human beings are wired for connection and collaboration, but there is a key aspect without which genuine relating is not possible – psychological and emotional safety. Safe workplaces allow employees to be authentic. These are settings where vulnerability is not judged, and neither is questioning superiors nor disagreeing with them.
- They are diverse: Companies with connected cultures welcome diversity. They take active steps to engage with members of communities with unrepresented talent and to provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary for success.
- They are inclusive: Different viewpoints, backgrounds and ways of doing things are welcomed in inclusive workspaces. Differences are viewed positively, rather than regarded as problems that need to be managed.
- They maximize the individual human potential in a group: When employees feel safe, respected and included, they are not afraid to engage in discussions or take risks. Such work environments are associated with higher degrees of learning and innovation.
Use Mentessa to create a connected company culture
Mentessa is an innovative learning platform which aims to remove barriers to workplace collaboration. It helps HR teams scale and streamline onboarding, mentoring and upskilling. Just as importantly, Mentessa also empowers staff to expand their circle of connections within a company.
Most employees typically interact with their line manager and direct colleagues. With Mentessa, they can easily meet and collaborate with colleagues from different departments or in different locations. Here is how Mentessa helps foster a culture of connection:
- Provides a skills marketplace: Just like social media platforms, Mentessa connects employees with their peers in an effortless and engaging manner. However, a key difference with social media is that connections are not made on the basis of sharing content, but on the basis of interests and skills. Employees simply list the skills they can confidently share with others and are expected to help anyone who gets in touch. In turn, they too can ask for help when the need arises. In this way, Mentessa functions like an internal talent marketplace Besides helping to foster a culture of connection, the platform gathers accurate, real-time data about the skills of the workforce. Skills mapping shows company leadership the things that employees really know how to do, not the items they post on their resumes. It also provides important insights about hidden skills. All of this is essential for strategic planning in terms of evaluating skills gaps and rolling out effective training and upskilling.
- Empowers people to learn and grow: Mentessa can be a tremendous help for staff facing challenging tasks, for example when doing something for the first time. In such situations, people typically turn to coworkers and line managers. But what if those colleagues are not immediately available? What if they don’t have the relevant expertise or their knowledge is not up-to-date? With Mentessa, employees can take the initiative and find colleagues who have really mastered the needed skill or are experts in a particular area. The best thing about this kind of collaboration is that it is organic and does not need direction by managers. However, with the interactions being fully transparent, structured guidance can be provided as needed, for example during onboarding.
- Builds bonds with rituals: Looking for creative ways to integrate new hires to the team? How about weekly Happy Hour sessions, in which staff are matched randomly and introduced to each other? Sports enthusiasts may opt for Buddy fitness, which will allow them to get fit and get to know a colleague at the same time. This is not all. Mentessa has a number of rituals for staff to choose from. Effective for long-time employees and newcomers alike, the rituals are highly-engaging and create connections without burden. They can also help people learn new skills or receive peer support in achieving predetermined goals. The end result is that staff have plenty of opportunities to feel noticed, to help others and to experience a deep sense of belonging. As each company has a unique culture and faces unique challenges, Mentessa’s rituals are fully customizable. Companies can create the types of rituals that best serve them and their staff.
To sum up, company culture is an essential driver for success. A connected culture enables companies to be more productive, more efficient and more agile and should be a priority for all forward-thinking organizations.
To find out more about how Mentessa can foster a culture of connection and create a happier, more motivated and productive workforce: