How Company Culture Shapes Employee Motivation (& Other Tips for Improving Performance)

January 17, 2023 Workhuman Editorial Team
how company culture shapes employee motivation

Having a strong company culture is critical for the success of the workplace as a whole. In fact, a report by TinyPulse found that employees who don’t feel recognized are 21.5% more likely to quit their jobs and look for another employer where they can feel more appreciated.

However, the importance of company culture doesn’t only stop at retaining your top talents It can also have a massive impact on your employees’ performance.

If you want to know how company culture shapes employee motivation and inspires them to innovate, this guide is for you.

Understanding the connection between workplace culture and employee motivation

While many business leaders and executives are often concerned about employee satisfaction, it’s technically not the key to achieving results and reaching goals.

While it helps to have a satisfied employee, you also need to make sure that your employees are motivated to give their best, and that’s where company culture comes into play.

good company culture that emphasizes the appreciation of employees’ achievements and makes them feel supported will also motivate them to perform.

In fact, Officevibe found that up to 69% of employees have higher motivation if their efforts are recognized at their workplace. And higher motivation leads to higher performance. A 2013 study by McGregor and Doshi tasked over 2,500 employees with analyzing medical images for “objects of interest” to study the impact of meaningful work on workers’ motivation.

In the study, employees were compensated based on the number of images they analyzed.

When given their task, one group was not given context; one group was told their images would be discarded after review, and another was told they were labeling tumor cells for medical researchers.

What researchers found was that the latter group (“meaning group”) earned 10% less than the “discard” group because they spent more time analyzing each image.

However, their quality of work was also higher than the “discard” group because the impact of their work mattered. Reshaping the motivation of the workers resulted in better performance. 

Benefits of a motivated workforce

Having a motivated workforce comes with a variety of advantages, including:

1. Improved Productivity and Innovation

Employees who are motivated are driven by their sincere passion more than anything. For that reason, it’s natural for them to have a higher level of productivity.

These employees will also show a higher drive to solve problems and innovate to stand out since they know their efforts are appreciated.

Various studies also confirmed these findings, including a report that found that engaged and motivated employees will have up to a 12% pump in their productivity levels.

2. Lower Turnover Rate and Better Employee Retention

A poor organizational culture where workers feel under-appreciated is one of the main reasons many employees leave their jobs.

However, if you build and maintain a healthy company culture that awards and recognizes employees, you’re more likely to see a reduction in turnover rates by up to 31%.

3. Attracting Better Talent Through Referrals

Retaining your top talent isn’t the only advantage you can get from fostering a healthy culture in the workplace.

Motivated employees are also more likely to refer other talent to your company to have better-quality teams capable of achieving business goals.

4. Better Company Image and Brand Recognition

In today’s world, sharing experiences online, whether positive or negative, is quite common. 

Almost anyone can anonymously add reviews of their experience while working at your company, and there are tons of dedicated sites for that. 

better work culture will give your company a better image to the public, which can boost your reputation and attract high-value customers.

How to tell if your company’s culture is motivating employees

Participation in a team-building exercise can shape employee motivation

Employee motivation is fairly easy to notice, as it greatly impacts the workplace. Here are some of the most obvious signs that you have a robust corporate culture that is encouraging and motivating your employees:

Noticeable enthusiasm and increased productivity

The first and easiest sign that employees are motivated is the active vibe of enthusiasm around the workplace, which usually comes with greater productivity.

Higher talent retention

Employees who are motivated are much less likely to leave their job. In fact, many job seekers are willing to accept a slight pay cut if they’re offered a job in a company with a positive culture.

Taking initiative

A motivated employee is willing to take the initiative because they’re aligned with the values and goals of the company.

Supportive work environment

This is a natural by-product of enthusiasm, where employees are always open to giving feedback and supporting each other toward achieving their goals.

Better communication

A healthy workplace culture will see a fluid network of communication among all employees with minimal conflicts since everyone is familiar with the goals and values of the company, which facilitates cooperation on projects for better results.

Seeking continuous feedback

Motivated employees are always open to feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, in order to improve their skills and work on their shortcomings.

How can you use/change your company culture to motivate employees and increase performance?

Now that you know more about the signs of motivated employees, here’s how to use your company culture to achieve these results:

1. Identify clear goals and core values

By setting clear goals and company core values, your team will be able to work toward achieving those goals. Additionally, your employees are able to align their own goals to match those values.

2. Start from the recruitment process

In order to make it easier for your team members to stick to your core values and goals, you have to start from the recruitment process. 

One of the benefits of having a well-established company culture is that you’ll be able to pick those employees whose goals and values align naturally with yours.

3. Give each employee specific responsibilities 

Having unclear responsibilities can make it harder for your team members to understand and align with your company’s cultures and core values, which might drive them to leave their job. 

On the other hand, employees are up to 23% more likely to stay in their job if their managers clearly explain their roles and responsibilities.

4. Involve employees in the decision-making process

A study by Fierce found that 86% of employees blame workplace failures on a lack of communication and collaboration.

One of the easiest ways to encourage teamwork and keep your employees engaged and more familiar with the workflow is by involving them in the decision-making process. 

5. Celebrate achievements and career highlights

One of the best ways to retain your employees and encourage them to give out their best is by making them feel appreciated. 

In fact, when a sample of employees was asked, “What can employers do to improve employee engagement and increase workplace performance?” around 58% of respondents mentioned recognition of achievements as the main answer.

A company culture that celebrates its employees is essential to a business’s success. Find out how you can integrate Workhuman’s Community Celebrations and Life Events into your organization. Let’s go!

6. Keep track of your employees’ satisfaction and feedback

A high-performing employee sets and achieves ambitious goals

Staying in touch with your employees is a huge step toward increasing productivity and performance in the workplace.

If employees can share their feedback, it will encourage them to be more proactive and ready to take initiative when asked to. 

According to a report by Zippia, companies with healthy and consistent feedback channels have seen up to 14.9% lower turnover rate, 12.5% higher level of productivity, and up to 8.9% higher profitability.

Elements of effective high-performing company culture

Several elements of organizational culture can drive high performance, employee development, and productivity among employees. Here are some factors that affect culture:

  • Fostering a positive work environment by rewarding those who stick to the core values and goals of the company 
  • Encouraging communication and feedback with a smooth and unbiased line of discussion
  • Conducting surveys and polls to keep track of the workforce’s opinions and experiences at work
  • Embracing and encouraging collaboration, teamwork, and working with larger groups.
  • Creating an empowering work environment where employees are allowed to innovate and including employees in the decision-making process

What leaders should do for greater performance success

People work harder when they feel their work makes a difference. However, a motivated employee willing to give 100% requires an equally motivated leader. 

Here are some essential tips that can help leaders generate higher levels of performance and success in the workplace:

  • Always connect and communicate with your team members
  • Encourage professional and individual growth of each employee separately 
  • Create a rewards system that includes promotions, job enrichment, internal and external stipends, and monetary and non-monetary compensation
  • Create a steady channel of feedback and assessments (tools like Workhuman Conversations® are ideal for that purpose)
  • Maintain a positive attitude 
  • Stay committed to the core values of the company and align your team’s efforts to achieve its goals
  • Set clear responsibilities and expectations for every team member 
  • Be open to new suggestions and ideas
  • Channel your own motivation into the team’s and always show enthusiasm

Culture considerations for multicultural or global organizations

A diverse group of people working collaboratively in a modern office space.

Building a company culture in a global organization that includes employees of different ethnicities and backgrounds can be tricky. 

Here are some essential considerations that you need to keep in mind to foster an inclusive environment and a supportive company culture:

  • Hire experienced leaders from different cultural backgrounds
  • Create a supportive environment that accepts all kinds of employees
  • Recognize and reward employees for their outstanding achievements
  • Use third-party tools to keep track of important life events of your employees, such as Workhuman’s Life Events®
  • Handle feedback (upward or peer-to-peer) with extra care
  • Avoid single culture bias while planning professional events, such as meetings, training sessions, and seminars.


Wrap Up

There you have it! A brief guide that shows you how company culture shapes employee motivation and impacts their professional careers!

Having a solid organizational culture in your workplace that supports and recognizes its employees has a massive impact on the performance levels of the whole team.

Additionally, an appreciated employee is always motivated to give their best when it comes to innovation and problem-solving.

One of the easy ways to create such a culture is by using a peer-to-peer recognition app to help everyone feel appreciated for who they are and what they do, so make sure that you check out Workhuman’s Social Recognition®.