9 (Proven) Ways To Influence Work Culture

March 29, 2016 Sarah Payne

The ROI of Recognition in Building a More Human Workplace.In a recent post on how to elevate the role of HR, I mentioned that culture and engagement ranked as the number one trend in Deloitte University Press’ 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report. The 2016 report was just released, and interestingly, executives were asked about culture and engagement separately this year (though both rank as top trends). The reason for the separate rankings, the report explains, is because “they are different concepts…Culture describes ‘the way things work around here,’ while engagement describes ‘how people feel about the way things work around here.’”

Further, only 12% of executives believe their companies are driving the right culture, and fewer than one in three executives even understand their organization’s culture.

Essentially, we know what culture is; we understand its importance; but we still don’t really know what to do about it. What actually works in driving culture change?

This is a question the Globoforce WorkHuman Research Institute explores in a new report, The ROI of Recognition in Building a More Human Workplace. Through a survey of 828 U.S. employees, the report shows which practices are most effective in creating a more human work culture. In this first of a five-part blog series, I’ll share highlights of the key findings from that report.

Finding #1: When employees believe leaders are striving to create a more human workplace, culture metrics improve.

Perception matters, and there are numbers to prove it. The survey asked workers: Do your company leaders care about and actively try to create a more human workplace, focused on employee well-being? When workers said yes, their numbers went up on nearly every other question we asked, including engagement, motivation, and willingness to recommend the company to a friend or colleague. Check out some of the most compelling stats below.

In organizations where leaders care about a more human workplace, workers are 26% more likely to say their work has meaning and purpose (which is a key to sustaining well-being and happiness at work) and 24% more likely to say they are highly engaged.

If perception matters, how can you change it? Recognition is one of the strongest influences on employees’ perception of a human workplace. Employees recognized in the last month are more than 2x as likely to believe leaders care (see figure below).


Interestingly, even the presence of a recognition program tied to core values can impact employees’ perceptions of a human workplace by 35%, compared to companies with no recognition program at all

Here are 8 other elements that strongly influence a human work culture, according to our survey:

  1. Employee voice
  2. Transparency
  3. Learning & Development Opportunities
  4. Gratitude
  5. Appreciation
  6. Fun Culture
  7. Respect
  8. Alignment with Core Values

Read more about how these elements impact perception of a human workplace in the full report. And stay tuned for our next post that will dive deeper into recognition and specifically how frequent recognition drives a more human work culture.

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