Organizational Culture, The #1 Reason for Employee Happiness!

Strong organizational culture increases employee satisfaction
Strong organizational culture increases employee satisfaction

Only one third of employees find the work environment and the organizational culture of their employer positive. A Wharton School of Business study lead by Dr. Alex Edmans revealed that employee satisfaction has a strong correlation with company results and shareholder value. Companies with a high employee satisfaction rate outperform their peers by a significant margin. Those on Fortune magazine’s annual list of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” between 1998 and 2005 returned 14% per year, compared to 6% a year for the overall market, according to Edmans.

What impacts employee satisfaction and happiness?

According to a TINYpulse report from 2014 analyzing some 200,000 individual responses from about 500 organizations, the

#1 factor is the corporate or organizational culture, yet 64% of participants perceive a lack of a strong organizational culture at work.

#2 is dissatisfaction with the direct supervisor. Almost half (49%) of the respondents indicated that they were not satisfied with the performance/behavior of their immediate leader.

#3 ranked are the opportunities for professional growth. 66% of employees do not see a chance for professional progress in their respective organizations.

#4 related to the provision of appropriate tools to get the job done. 25% of employees do not have the tools to do their assignments successfully.

#5 pointed to a lack of individual recognition, as only 21% of employees feel strongly valued by their leaders.

All of the above points to corporate culture and leadership!

Considering the culture aspect, it makes a lot of sense, as employees typically invest 40-50% of their waking hours into work activities and would strongly prefer to do so in a conducive, motivating environment. Yet, based on the study, only 36% of employees perceive the organizational culture they operate in as attractive or motivating. 64% consider their cultural work environment as undesirable.

What can be done about the culture of an organization?

The culture of a company is always defined by the leadership or lack thereof.  Effective leaders create and foster an array of self-sustaining patterns of behaving, feeling, thinking, and believing. Based on the actually demonstrated values, these patterns determine the way results get accomplished in a company. The organizational culture is a dynamic feature to which all employees contribute in different ways, with the leadership setting the standards.

With that in mind, any leader within an organization on any hierarchical level should reflect on questions like these:

  • What am I doing on a daily basis to mold and sustain a strong culture featuring a motivating environment?
  • How can I support those reporting to me to become the best they can be and perform accordingly?
  • How do I represent and live the declared values of my company to set the right example?
  • What do I do to engage those working in the area of my responsibility?
  • How do I recognize all the right things taking place every day to create and sustain a high performance environment?

Remember, leadership is not about the leader, but it is everything about those being led! The leaders within an organization are exclusively accountable for the culture of the company, and must therefore accept the responsibility for its existence as well as its qualities – good, bad or indifferent. It is all about how we communicate and interact with each other, reward and critique, lead by example, set goals, plan and create accountability, as well as demonstrate reliability, authenticity, trust and compassion.

Good luck in creating an awesome culture in your organization and stimulating high performance, satisfaction and happiness!

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