How to Create a Culture of Performance

Alexandra Levit, People Results
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(Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from Alexandra Levit of Inspiration at Work). 

On our thought leadership track at SilkRoad Connections, Aptitude Research Partners co-founder and CEO Mollie Lombardi described a culture of performance as a set of behaviors that are rewarded or discouraged by the people, processes, and systems within an organization. To create and foster a performance culture, Lombardi suggested focusing on the following conditions for success.

Alignment

According to new Aptitude research, alignment on culture is a major challenge: only 38 percent of organizations said that leaders and employees would describe their culture in the same way. On a related point, 53 percent of senior leaders said performance expectations are clearly communicated, but only 34 percent of employees said the same.  Leaders are in denial, and it doesn’t help that while 60 percent of companies have executive level oversight of client experience, only 37 percent have an executive level role focused on workplace culture and employee engagement.

Employee Experience

Eighty-one percent of top performing companies said they measure the experience of candidates, employees, managers, and leaders. When an experience doesn’t resonate, it’s often because we are using a one-size-fits-all model. Lombardi advised that we must do a much better job tailoring messages, recognizing that employees have a singular experience throughout their day. And the only experience that matters is theirs.

In addition to catering to the needs of the individual rather than the collective group, we can create a better experience by bridging the gap between employer and employee through more frequent and bidirectional communications, and creating an easier process for individuals to do their work, engage with others, and drive performance. The best employee communications are consistent in message but vary in format (depending on information consumption habits) and are supported by a strategic technology implementation.

Coaching

Organizations with performance cultures emphasize having quality coaching conversations as an integral part of every manager’s job. Top performing organizations are 48 percent more likely to have managers that offer frequent, informal feedback in addition to formal performance reviews. Organizations that trained managers in giving this type of feedback were 57 percent more likely to have above average productivity.

Automation

From wearables and virtual reality to chat bots and AI, human capital management is moving toward great automation and integration. Per Aptitude Research, top performing companies are automating succession planning, social collaboration, learning management, and performance management. And automation has been shown to positively impact engagement and turnover: 58 percent of top performing organizations using automated performance management tools have above average employee engagement, while 41 percent have below average turnover.

What does having a performance culture mean to you?

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