pensive woman
Employees need to be engaged and willing to fight through hard times because they are on board with the company’s goals. PHOTO: Ishai Parasol

A good culture is the foundation of any successful company, but sometimes it’s not enough.

Companies go through ups, downs and growth cycles that can make employees feel unsettled, or even undervalued.

During those times, employees need to know their role in the company’s future, as well as be engaged and willing to fight through hard times because they are on board with the company’s goals.

Creating True Employee Engagement

This is why there’s a profound difference in a good culture versus an "all in" culture. The "all in" culture goes beyond surface-level perks.

It views every person as a key stakeholder within the organization, creates alignment across the company and gives employees the tools they need to succeed.

This is the type of culture that keeps employees engaged, and it’s widely known that engaged employees are a company’s greatest assets.

According to a recent study by The Harvard Business School, engaged employees are far more productive than their unengaged counterparts.

In fact, the top one percent of productive employees adds approximately $5,000 per year in profits, while toxic employees cost companies just over $12,000 per year. But building the kind of “all in” culture that fosters this level of engagement isn’t easy — brands must actively work towards it every single day.

6 Ways to Create an All In Culture

Here are six ways to create an “all in” culture.

1. View Culture as Part of the Bottom Line

In the midst of meeting sales goals, addressing customer retention and any other day-to-day activities that directly contribute to revenue and profits, it’s easy for culture to fall off the priority list.

To keep culture firmly in the asset column, leadership must develop a strategic plan and set culture-driven goals. Without a detailed and measurable plan, culture may slip away during times of chaos or busyness.

2. Build Trust in Leadership

Leadership sets the tone for company culture — and the trust employees have in leadership’s vision is a direct reflection of buy-in and productivity.

When leadership is honest and transparent, employees won’t question where they may fit into the future of the company, which can increase motivation and decrease turnover. Communicating corporate goals and mapping tactics to achieve those goals will help employees set their sights on the future, understand their roles, and motivate them to contribute to the company’s success.

3. Keep Your Ears and Mind Open

Creating a culture of listening is imperative to creating an “all in” culture of engagement. By listening, observing and asking the right questions, leadership can facilitate open communication where employees can share ideas, questions or concerns without fear of repercussion.

This open dialogue creates a collaborative learning environment and allows companies to gather the right information to either validate existing strategies or change course before it’s too late.

4. Give Them the Tools

Providing an environment that promotes your desired culture isn’t enough. Arm your employees with the tools and tech they need to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Tackle projects quickly and efficiently without the burden of manual tasks. And achieve an optimal work/life balance.

In the world of contact centers, for example, workforce management technology allows agents to select the hours that work best for them, creating a sense of ownership over their schedule and enabling a more flexible, employee-centric workplace.

5. Stay True to the Business

Culture isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept, so it’s important to define what culture will look like within the context of your unique business. Some companies might consider assisting with student loan repayment, while others may look toward retirement planning or vacation days as ways to elevate employee engagement.

However, the business chooses to define culture, the most important thing to remember is that it should be a direct reflection of what matters most to the organization, leadership and employees.

6. Rethink the Hiring Process

Building the right team is imperative to creating the synergy required for an “all in” culture, which makes the hiring and onboarding process critical to cultural success. By choosing the right candidates the first time, companies can avoid termination, which creates unrest among other employees.

When hiring, it’s important to take the time to vet candidates and have them meet team members across different levels and departments, in both a business and relaxed environment. This can help determine mutual fit and allow existing team members to have input. After all, the last person hired is often the one who recruits the next, so choose employees who will epitomize and uphold your culture.

When companies have successfully created an “all in” culture, employees are engaged, productive and excited for what’s to come because they have a real stake in the company.

This type of culture doesn’t happen overnight, but the return is well worth the investment. With the right effort and right steps, companies can cultivate an “all in” culture and transform the organization from the inside out.