It’s no secret that motivation is important to doing good work. “Company culture” has become a popular term among corporate leaders; more and more companies are focusing on creating a culture that fosters motivation in their workforce. This is more than a simple fad: According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), “Why we work determines how well we work.” Motivation is the key to unlocking performance.
In a study conducted on the effects of motivation, groups were given the same task (to find anomalies on medical images), but with different motivating factors. One group was paid more but told their results would be discarded, while the other group was paid less and told they were looking for signs of cancer in patients. The second group consistently outperformed the first. High work performance is more than a factor of pay.
Characteristics of High Performance Culture
While people can be motivated to varying degrees by different forces, there are some common factors that affect motivation in most people and settings. HBR cites factors used by several high performing companies — like Trader Joe’s or Southwest Airlines — to achieve Total Motivation. The goal of Total Motivation is to reduce employees’ motivation because of factors like economic pressure or emotional pressure and to increase the impact of factors like purpose and play. Simply put: High performing companies work to make sure their employees want to do their jobs.
There are five main characteristics that high performance companies have in common.
Emotional pressure often comes from not knowing what to expect from your company, managers and fellow employees. When team members are unsure how their performance is measured, what’s expected of them or how their work product affects the bigger picture, motivation (and performance) can suffer.
At Credit Karma, transparency and open communication form the basis for the company’s culture. The company has an “open door” policy, encouraging people to ask their managers questions. Honesty is present in every conversation; managers don’t hide things from their employees, and employees are encouraged to share information with each other. And management is always upfront about why decisions are made and how they affect the company and its employees.
Because Credit Karma has a culture of transparency and open communication, employees are aware of the context in which their work exists and aren’t afraid of what’s coming. They have the information they need to make good business decisions, and they understand how their performance affects the company and their coworkers.
Customer satisfaction is critical to a business’ success. According to statistics compiled by Salesforce, 89 percent of consumers stop doing business with a company after a poor customer experience. Forty-five percent abandon online transactions when their customer issue isn’t resolved quickly. Further, a 10 percent increase in customer retention results in a 30 percent increase to a company’s value.
To make sure the customer has a good experience and remains a customer, companies must become customer-centric. This means making the customer experience a part of your company’s core mission and values, prioritizing the customer experience over other concerns, and ensuring employees understand how their work impacts the customer experience and are rewarded when they provide a good experience for customers.
Empowered Employees and Leadership at All Levels
Richard Branson of The Virgin Group famously said, “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business.” A big part of taking care of your employees is allowing them to be in control of their own lives at the company. Empowered employees are able to make decisions about how they accomplish their goals and have control over their day-to-day experience at the company.
Empowered employees are also given the support and tools they need to do the job. They’re given training, authority and access to resources that allow them to be effective in their roles within the company. Virgin goes on to say, “By taking care of their people, companies create a workforce with the physical energy, mental focus, and emotional drive necessary to power their businesses and impact those critical metrics.”
Great Performance Management Process
To improve employee performance, you must be able to measure that performance. A performance management process does just that. By using metrics that are measurable and meaningful to the company, you can track employee performance, make corrections as needed and reward employees for good performance.
A performance management process is typically a replacement for a standard review process. Rather than checking in on performance annually, a performance management process is continual and ensures the employee has specific, measurable, achievable goals to work toward. This both reduces employee stress and creates a tangible sense of progress and achievement that can boost morale and motivation in the company.
Invested in Employee Growth
Investing in employee growth has many concrete benefits for companies. In addition to building necessary skills in your workforce, an employee you’ve invested in is more prepared for promotion and can start taking on more and more responsibility within the company. Such employees also tend to be more loyal; this is vital to increasing employee retention. The cost of employee turnover is high, and it’s usually better for a company to invest in existing employees rather than find new ones. Investing in your employees also increases their engagement, makes them feel more valued and forces you to think about the future of your company.
An online business degree can give you the tools you need to create a dynamic, high performance culture at your company. Campbellsville University’s online programs allow you to earn the degree you need in a flexible environment, on a schedule that works for your busy life.
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