In past articles, I have spoken at length about cultural fit and changing work environments, so now we are taking a step back to consider the big picture – the organisational culture within which all productivity and employee engagement falls. There is a clear and observable connection between workplace culture and employee engagement. We are safe to assume that this culture is established by those in the driver’s seat – you, the managers, executives and CEOs who set the pace and seek the results. The culture in which your team works, thinks and interacts with is the focal point for productivity, so it’s important to get it right.
Recent studies have shown an indisputable cause and effect relationship between strong employee engagement and organisational innovation, which essentially leads to positive team performance. Innovation discourse has dominated industry discussion over the past decade, as the era of ‘disrupt or be disrupted’ well and truly settles in. As such, it’s more important now than ever for leadership across the financial services sector, and other industries alike, to establish prosperous cultures among their employees that cultivate innovation from within and engagement across the board.
A study by Future Workplace found that 79% of employees in the financial sector felt that working for a company which considered innovation as an organisational priority was important. The stats strongly reflect an interest among employees in the capacity for creativity, hence more scope to be engaged from day to day. We need no reminding that engagement is key to team performance and the all-important end goal of hitting revenue targets, so what’s stopping companies from giving the green light to innovation?
- We need to dispel the myth that big companies can’t innovate. It’s often thought that KPIs and existing processes often steal the show in larger companies and limit their ability to be agile. Whether it’s looking closely at current research, kick-starting corporate accelerator programs or seeking partnerships that can inject new sparks of creativity, the opportunities are ready and waiting.
- At times, the tools and resources to bring an idea to life may be unavailable – internal change can be time-consuming and expensive, but never say never. What is unthinkable today may be tomorrow’s reality.
- Long-established companies aren’t start-ups – while traditional processes may prevail in well-established corporates, don’t close your mind to intrapreneurship. Like an entrepreneur does from the ground up, an intrapreneur emerges from their existing corporation brimming with ideas and practical experiences learned in the hub of the action.
Every situation is different, but one element is certain no matter the industry or circumstance, and that is that a good employee culture is your most valuable asset. Constant change, development and betterment are not only essential for capturing employee engagement, but for staying relevant and competitive.
A study by the Asia Pacific Institute of Advanced Research (2016) found that 99% of respondents were of the opinion that organisational culture played a crucial role in enhancing employee engagement and an employee’s motivation to innovate. That’s an enormous band of willing creators, thinkers and doers at the helm of your company that is ready to inject fresh ideas and strategies for improvement. In his 2010 book, Where Ideas Come From, theorist Steven Johnson captured this well, as he reasoned, “innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.”
It’s all possible, and it all starts with you. Employees want to trust that the leadership of their team will guide them towards a brighter, more engaging future. This kind of leadership requires hard work and commitment to the cause, and executive training can get you on that path. Whether it’s developing your own leadership style or working on your own engagement and managing its flow-on effects to your team, coaching can provide some imperative strategies geared towards shifting workplace culture towards one that cultivates productivity.