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How To Cultivate Success In Real Time: Part 1
 

How To Cultivate Success In Real Time: Part 1

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Joseph Fung, CEO of TribeHR, a social HR platform, has published an e-book, “How to Cultivate Success in Real Time.” In the first installment, “How to Create and Measure High-Performance Company ...

Joseph Fung, CEO of TribeHR, a social HR platform, has published an e-book, “How to Cultivate Success in Real Time.” In the first installment, “How to Create and Measure High-Performance Company Culture,” Fung discusses the ingredients necessary to cultivate high-performance workplace cultures in today’s ever-changing world.

Headquartered in Waterloo, ON and Boston, MA, TribeHR is the first truly social human resources management software. Its easy-to-use tools are used by businesses worldwide, allowing companies to focus more on what they do best and less on things that get in the way. TribeHR was founded in 2009 and is funded by Matrix Partners and Relay Ventures. For more information, visit www.tribehr.com.

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    How To Cultivate Success In Real Time: Part 1 How To Cultivate Success In Real Time: Part 1 Document Transcript

    • HOW TOCULTIVATE SUCCESSIN REAL TIME PART How to Create and Measure High-Performance Company Culture 1 By Joseph Fung | CEO, TribeHR
    • How to Create and Measure aHigh-Performance Company CultureAbout TribeHRTribeHR helps companies achieve greatness by being the world’s first SocialHR Platform: The first to connect people, values, goals and results; The first toconnect employees to managers and teams to each other; The first to create anHR platform that helps leaders truly engage employees to the mission andvalues of the organization, and create engagement by helping celebratesuccesses in all parts of the organization. It does this with software that is a joyto use, delivers insights without the social media noise, and eliminates theusual drudgery of HR administration—so there’s more time to focus on what’simportant.Copyright © TribeHR Corp. 2012Waterloo, ON, Canada and Waltham, MA, USA.All rights reserved.First Published September 2012.http://www.tribehr.com
    • Contents About&TribeHR&...................................................................................................................& 3The$World$Has$Changed—Has$Your$Business?$.....................................................$5 What’s&Culture&Got&To&Do&With&it?&....................................................................................& 5 Ingredients&of&High&Performance&Cultures&........................................................................& 6 Clear&Vision&....................................................................................................................& 6 Shared&Values&................................................................................................................& 7 EndGtoGEnd&Culture&........................................................................................................& 7 Everyone’s&Job&...............................................................................................................& 8 Transparency&.................................................................................................................& 9 Communication&...........................................................................................................& 0 1 Learning&.......................................................................................................................& 1 1 The&Bottom&Line:&the&Value&of&Values&.............................................................................& 2 1 Adaptability&.................................................................................................................& 2 1 Enagement& ..................................................................................................................& 3 . 1 Return&on&Investment&(ROI)& ........................................................................................& 4 . 1References$........................................................................................................$18Endnotes$..........................................................................................................$22
    • How to Create and Measure aHigh-Performance Company CultureThe World Has Changed—Has Your Business?$Business has changed because our world has changed. Information moves at a break-neck pace, and accumulates even faster. Competitors morph in response to marketshifts as leaders strive to create business models that can pivot on a dime just to remainrelevant and preserve market share.Today’s employees are better informed and have higher expectations of theiremployers. At the same time, employers desperately need people with commitment,creativity, resilience and agility to succeed in this whirlwind of change.In response to these needs, the human resources industry is evolving; growing beyondits compliance roots to emerge as the primary driver of corporate culture and employeeengagement. Now more than ever before, business success is about finding, engaging,and keeping the right people.In this new world of business, there is a single question you need to ask yourself: Isyour business keeping pace?What’s Culture Got To Do With it?Whether or not you acknowledge it, your company already has a culture. Allbusinesses have one, either by design or (more commonly) by default. The challengelies in fostering a culture that is truly exceptional. Why? Because companies withexceptional cultures attract and retain the best employees, nurture strong and lastingcustomer relationships, and deliver consistently solid business results.In Corporate Culture and Performance, authors John P. Kotter and James L. Heskettshare evidence that companies with strong adaptive cultures based on shared valuesoutperformed other companies by a significant margin. Over an eleven-year period,companies that emphasized all stakeholders grew four times faster than companies thatdid not. These companies also had job creation rates seven times higher, stock pricesthat grew 12 times faster, and profit performance that was 750 times higher.In Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras show that over a period of severaldecades, companies that consistently focused on building strong corporate cultures
    • outperformed companies that did not by a factor of six and outperformed the generalstock market by a factor of 15.iIronically, the pursuit of these successes often sets the stage for a poor culture, whichin turn undermines any chance of business excellence.It is an unfortunate truth that the importance of building and maintaining a greatculture often gets lost in a deluge of other business tasks that are perceived to be moreurgent. While driving revenues and controlling costs are important to the success andgrowth of a business, when a company’s culture erodes (and it will, if unattended!),profits and overall performance will soon deteriorate. A weak or uninspired businessculture leads to unsatisfied and despondent employees—disengaged, unhappy peoplewho do not foster excellence.In other words, while the lack of an exceptional culture may go unnoticed for sometime, the negative impact of a poor business culture will eventually destroy competitiveadvantage and can lead to business decline or failure. Conversely, investing time andresources into developing a culture of success early in the life of the business will payimmediate and sustained dividends.A poor or deteriorating culture is common when the workplace is chaotic, companyvalues are unclear, employees feel unappreciated, and managers are ineffectual. Theseconditions often occur when management focuses solely on bottom line results, ratherthan on culture, the basic driver of high performance.The evidence shows that businesses are stronger, healthier, and more profitable whenleaders and managers pay attention to developing a high performance culture.Ingredients of High Performance CulturesSimply saying, “we want an exceptional culture” doesn’t create one; it takes time,focus, and a few key ingredients. While the specific details of your high-performanceculture will vary depending on your leadership style, company brand, and businessidentity, the essentials remain the same.Clear VisionHigh performance culture begins with clarity of vision that springs from clarity ofpurpose. Everyone in an organization needs to know what they are striving to achieveand why. People work best when they believe in the vision of an organization; whenthey can make decisions on their own in pursuit of that vision; when they have theskills, knowledge and training necessary to be successful in their roles; and when theyunderstand the purpose of their jobs and how they contribute.
    • As a leader, you know that you must always be driven and passionate about your“why”, but you can’t be everywhere all the time. You have to rely on each individualin your organization to effectively represent the company to partners, customers, andthe community. If they cannot explain why the company exists, your vision will notpermeate throughout the organization to create the necessary foundation for the high-performance culture you need. It is not enough to articulate what the company doesand for whom—you must also clearly explain why the company is in business. You’llhave to persistently communicate this vision in a way that helps employees at all levelssee how the vision relates to their jobs and enables them to pass the message along toothers.Shared ValuesAt its most basic level, business culture springs from the character, beliefs, andbehavior of decision makers. Values, expressed verbally or in writing, that are notreflected in the actions of company executives and managers will not become part ofthe organizational culture. In fact, any contradiction between what is communicatedabout company values and what is done by management will generate cynicism andmay result in significant backlash from employees.To prevent this, as a leader you must examine your own values and address anyinconsistency between what you want your organization to stand for, what youpersonally believe, and your day-to-day actions. Having established clearorganizational values and gained a commitment from everyone in a leadershipposition to operate by those values, it is essential that you communicate what isexpected from your entire team—and make sure to be the first to lead by example.In high-performance cultures, core values are shared by everyone in the organizationand are demonstrated daily through the actions and decisions made at every level. This“lived” value-based foundation becomes the spirit and driving force of the workingculture at a fundamental level. In the most effective organizations, shared valuesextend beyond the company to reflect a common perspective with suppliers, partnersand customers.End-to-End CultureCompanies with high-performance cultures know that combining culture and brand isa recipe for success. Integrating corporate culture and branding means exposing yourcustomers and business partners to your internal culture. Do not hide what goes onbehind the scenes, but instead take every opportunity to openly express what it is thatmakes your company great.Just as company values are more than words on the reception room wall, your cultureis more than something you talk about when interviewed by the media. Deliberately or
    • by default, company culture is expressed in everything your company does, everythingit creates, and every interaction that takes place; it is demonstrated at all levels of yourorganization, both internally and externally. From suppliers to customers, fromtechnical support to accounting, from the CEO to the receptionist: company culture iseverywhere and it pays to make defining and communicating your end-to-end culturea priority.Everyone’s JobIf you call GoDaddy’s customer service line you will quickly get a feel for thecompany itself. When talking to a customer service representative (CSR), you soon seethe company’s culture shine though. The person on the other end of the line has apersonality, doesn’t sound like an automaton, and generally sounds happy with theirjob. All-in-all, when talking to a GoDaddy CSR you get the feeling you are talking to ahelpful friend. They offer exemplary customer service.You can multiply that positive experience in your organization by making customerservice everyone’s job. When all employees consider themselves to be CSRs, yourcustomers benefit. But when all employees consider themselves to be CSRs and theyembrace that everyone is someone’s customer, every person in your organization and everyperson connected to your organization benefits.In high-performance cultures, people think about how their jobs affect both internaland external customers, and they are given latitude to make decisions and solveproblems in alignment with company values. The idea that employees who have nodirect interaction with customers can ignore customer service cannot co-exist with aculture of success. Leadership must do whatever it takes to erase this idea and replaceit with the belief that customer service is everyone’s job.Imagine your company’s CEO spending a day working directly with your most junioremployees. This kind of job swapping can be one of the most powerful tools in a highperformance culture. To implement it properly, senior employees (the CEO, COO,CFO, etc.) temporarily take on the roles of front line employees and vice versa. Thisaccomplishes three important goals: Management gains direct insight into the dailyexperiences of employees; employees see management experiencing their reality; andemployees get first-hand experience of what management does. This creates a verystrong symbiotic relationship and reinforces the recognition of internal customerrelationships.To be effective at building the perception that customer service is everyone’s job (andeveryone is a customer), job swapping requires commitment. If the CEO is answeringthe customer service line, she has to stay there and work a full shift, just like everyoneelse, and take standard breaks, just like everyone else. Likewise, employees can’t abuse
    • the day of “power” they have been granted by going golfing. Within the limits requiredby issues of confidentiality, employees filling executive level and upper managementpositions should be given the opportunity and authority to deal with real situations.Zappos.com is ranked as one of the top ten companies to work for and is a leader inhigh performance culture. The CEO of Zappos.com, Tony Hsieh, regularly works thephones and it has inspired his employees. His employees are faithful, happy, andproductive because Tony is one of them (even though he happens to own the place). “For%me%as%a%team%member,%knowing%that%my%CEO,%who%is%in%the%media%talking% about%our%exceptional%customer%service,%is%one%of%the%people%that%make%it%happen% is%huge.”% –%Corey%Schreiber,%Zappos%Sr.%Representative% % %Tony is not new to business success. At age 24, he sold his first company,LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million. Zappos.com was started in 1999 and isnow worth more than $1 billion. Tony credits his employees and their acceptance ofcustomer service as everyone’s job for most of that growth. In turn, his employees feelthey are an integral part of the company’s success and project a positive energy andmindset that is immediately evident to all customers, internal and external.Transparency“Transparent organizations must share information that allows stakeholders to make informeddecisions regarding their relationship with the organization. This is true of all stakeholders,internal and external. This does not mean that they must share all information, but thatinformation is substantial and useful to the stakeholders. Transparency also requiresaccountability. Transparent organizations are accountable for their actions, words, and decisions,because these are available for others to see and evaluate.”iiA 2009 studyiii of the relationship between organizational transparency and employeetrust concluded that the results “…provide strong evidence that trust and transparencyare positively related. As employee perceptions of organizational transparencyincreased so did trust… Additionally, the three components of trust (competence,integrity, and goodwill) and three components of transparency (participation,substantial information, and accountability) are positively related, while the fourthtransparency component, secrecy, has an inverse relationship with the othercomponents.”In other words, “Because I told you to” won’t cut it if you want a truly high performanceculture. For that, you need trust—and trust can’t grow in the dark.
    • This doesn’t mean that confidential or sensitive competitive information should bebroadcast, or that employees should be made to stress over every obstacle the companyfaces. It does mean that employees need to know what impacts them directly and why.It means that they should have access to as much information as can be shared aboutcompany strategy so they can understand what drives the vision, and contribute in ameaningful way. It means that informed employees should be encouraged to askquestions and offer feedback in an open dialogue.Extending this environment of openness beyond the boundaries of the company alsoallows customers and other external stakeholders to make informed decisions aboutdealing with you and builds your reputation as a trusted organization.CommunicationCommunication has always played a significant role in the workplace in variousforms, including phone calls, meetings, memos, one-on-one conversations, reports,and more recently, email and text messages. In recent years, the requirement forcommunication has expanded, beyond a largely top-down management-driven flow ofinformation, to become a matrix of vertical and horizontal channels each carrying asteady, bi-directional stream of data.Employees at all levels are finding that the ability to communicate effectively plays anincreasing role in their success on the job. This is especially true as our economy reliesmore and more on knowledge and service workers and increasingly requires evenproduction workers to incorporate collaboration and teamwork into their work and tomaster complex technologies.
    • Communication is more than just a tool for getting a job done—it is also a significantfactor in the development of trust and organizational culture. Timely, accurate, anduseful information communicated in an open environment that encourages feedbackand participation supports a culture of success.Of course, for true communication to happen, the intended message must be receivedaccurately. A recent blog post by China Gorman discusses MetLife’s 10th AnnualStudy of Employee Benefit Trendsiv. The finding that caught her eye was the wideninggap between employer and employee perceptions of company loyalty towardemployees (reproduced above). The study results show that more employers feel a verystrong sense of loyalty to their employees, but these same employees perceive anopposite trend. To ensure that communication reinforces a culture of success, make itclear, make it unambiguous, and confirm that it was received as intended, becauseperception is reality.It is also important to note that more is not always better. Increased communicationthat is contradictory or inaccurate creates distrust and apathy. On the other hand, ifincreased communication consistently demonstrates and reinforces company values, itis an antidote to apathy and help build trust.Research into the role of communication in fostering trust and employee involvementshows "that in the relationships with coworkers and supervisors, it is quality, notquantity, of information that best predicts trust. In contrast, in the relationship withtop management it is the quantity, rather than quality of information, that issignificant. In all cases, trust was very closely tied to perceptions of organizationalopenness, which in turn predicted employee involvement."vLearningHigh performance cultures recognize that “Learning is valuable, continuous, and mosteffective when shared, and that every experience is an opportunity to learn” vi. It isgenerally agreed that ‘Learning Organizations’: • Provide continuous learning opportunities • Use learning to reach their goals • Link individual performance with organizational performance • Foster inquiry and dialogue (making it safe for people to share openly and take risks) • Embrace creative tension as a source of energy and renewal • Are continuously aware of and interact with their environmentviiOne accepted definition of learning organizations states that they are “characterized bytotal employee involvement in a process of collaboratively conducted, collectivelyaccountable change directed towards shared values or principles.”viii In these
    • organizations, learning begins with an employee’s first onboarding experience andcontinues through every stage of his involvement. In a learning organization,employees look to their leaders for direction, and see a demonstrated commitment tolearning and personal growth in both policies and actions.The Bottom Line: the Value of ValuesWhen employees, customers, and even suppliers recognize that a company stands forsomething, believes in something, and pursues a worthy vision with a passionate senseof purpose, they all try harder to make it succeed. Employees become focused andfully engaged in the mission. They adapt to change with astounding nimbleness andbecome a continual source of creativity and innovation that fuels growth and valuecreation. Adaptability, employee engagement and improved profitability are the truemeasures of the value that values bring to your company.&AdaptabilityA company that accepts a default culture often operates much like a Flintstones cartoonrerun. Fred shows up to work unenthused and begrudgingly stamps his timecard.Boring work is punctuated only by his daily summons to the boss’s office for thestandard bullying tirade over something that is entirely out of his control. At the end ofthe day when the whistle blows, Fred yells “Yabba Dabba Doo!” in celebration as heescapes one more day of tedium with his paycheck clutched in his hand.If your business culture is ailing, this likely reflects the typical workday for youremployees. With little to motivate them beyond a paycheck, employees are listlessabout their work and give little thought to the company’s success or survival. Worsestill, when employees and managers are just punching time-clocks and saving theirenergy and creativity for the weekends, a company becomes rigid and inadaptable.Changes in products, procedures, and processes, which may be vital to continuedsuccess, are met with feigned enthusiasm at best and more often with resistance oroutright subversion.That’s why the top companies in the world, such as Boeing Aircraft and Zappos.com,put substantial resources into maintaining exceptional business cultures. They don’t doit because it is the chic thing to do; they do it because they recognize the value of aloyal, committed and adaptable workforce. Every employee, from the CEO down tothe most junior intern, is part of a family committed to seeing the company grow,which translates into better opportunities for everyone. This commitment shinesthrough, not only in behavior in the office, but also through interactions with externalparties. Consequently, an exceptional culture translates into greater customersatisfaction – the cornerstone of successful businesses.
    • When a business culture is exceptional, employees enjoy going to work. They are therefor more than just a paycheck. They are part of a team that has a common interest, acommon goal. Their coworkers are their friends. They know that if they succeed intheir individual tasks on a regular basis, the company is more likely to succeed overall.They know that the company’s success will translate into even more positive energy,as well as perks, bonuses, raises, and recognition. Employees know this, not because itis written in the staff handbook or posted on the wall; they know it because theyexperience it in the way things are done every day, by everyone in the organization.Culture permeates an organization. When the resident culture is one of success andhigh performance, it makes a company extremely adaptable. Employees readily acceptchanges that push them outside their comfort zone because they know that stretchingis needed, recognized and rewarded. They know that being adaptable leads to successfor them and the company. They know that they are an integral part of anorganization that excels by taking on new challenges. When all employees feel thisway, the adaptability of the entire company is boundless.High adaptability is one of the strongest advantages that companies realize fromdeveloping and maintaining exceptional cultures because exceptional business culturesare the most effective breeding grounds for adaptability and resilience.EnagementAccording to Inc. magazine, disengaged workers cost companies approximately $350billion dollars a year in the United States. But what exactly is employee engagement?In 2006, the Conference Board reviewed the extensive volume of research available onthe subject and distilled the following definition: "employee engagement is aheightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization,that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work"ix.From the data, the Conference Board identified a number of recurring themes,representing factors that contribute to or support employee engagement, including; • Trust and integrity: How well managers communicate and walk the talk. • Nature of the job: Is it mentally stimulating day-to-day? • Line of sight between employee performance and company performance: Does the employee understand how their work contributes to the companys performance? • Career growth opportunities: Are there future opportunities for growth? • Pride about the company: How much self-esteem does the employee feel by being associated with their company? • Engaged coworkers/team members: Engagement is contagious.
    • • Employee development: Is the company making an effort to develop the employees skills? • Relationship with ones manager: Does the employee value his or her relationship with his or her manager? xThe overlap between these themes and the ingredients of high performance cultures isimmediately evident. Indeed, a culture of success springs directly from deep employeeengagement, which in turn emerges from an environment that fosters trust and thealignment of vision and values throughout the organization.&Although implicit in the themes above, it bears noting that employee engagement isalso driven by recognition and appreciation. And it’s not always money that has thegreatest impact. Often the day-to-day acknowledgement of work well done andrecognition of the value it brings to the organization can mean as much or more.Encouraging peer recognition of achievements also bolsters employee engagement.Fully engaged employees are often so committed to the company’s success, they willeven stay with an employer that pays less than the competition.Committing the time and resources to develop a high performance culture paysdividends in the form of employee engagement. One last finding from the ConferenceBoard report that illustrates this fact: Engaged employees bring a 20-28% productivityand performance advantage to the table.Return on Investment (ROI)As the concept of high performance culture gains traction in the business world, therecan be little doubt about the correlation between culture and financial performance.However, actually quantifying how your culture is affecting revenue, net income,productivity or stock price can be challenging.In the absence of internal data, most companies first look for external examples tobegin to determine how a high performance culture might impact their financialresults. One such example is a 2007 proprietary survey of over 115,000 individuals in231 organizations conducted by McKinsey & Company. This study found strongcorrelations between organizational performance culture and financial performance.The survey found that companies in the top quartile of organizational performance, forexample, were 2.2 times likelier to have above-average EBITDA margins thancompanies in the bottom quartile of organizational performance. Comparing resultsacross nine measures of organizational performance, the study determined thatperforming well in at least five of these metrics (i.e. exhibiting a high performanceculture) “provides an 83% chance of beating median EBITDA margin”xi.
    • Another good source of information is Kotter and Heskett’s book “Corporate Cultureand Performance”, which shows that firms emphasizing input from all managers andpeople in leadership positions, regardless of level, performed much better thancompanies without those cultural features. Over an 11-year period, firms werecompared across multiple categories with the following results: Figure 1 - The economic and social costs of low performance cultures Source: John P. Kotter and James L. Heskett, Corporate Culture and Performance.Companies that actively fostered performance-enhancing cultures substantially out-performed those that did not emphasize culture, in every category. According to theirresearch, companies lacking an exceptional culture (i.e. performance-degradingcultures) inhibit the adoption of strategic or tactical changes, and generally experiencea negative financial impact. Kotter and Heskett conclude that corporate culture willlikely be a deciding factor for the success or failure of firms in the next decade.Surprisingly, corporate cultures that inhibit their own long-term financial performanceare not rare. In fact, performance-degrading cultures often develop slowly in thebackground, while a company is performing well, and go undetected until wellestablished. Once the negative culture digs in, like an invasive plant species, it beginsto strangle the organization and is almost impossible to get rid of.In a March 2012 NY Times op-ed piece, “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs,” GregSmith, the former Executive Director of Goldman Sachs’ derivatives business inEurope, the Middle East and Africa, shares the following impression of the culturaldecline within Goldman Sachs: It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility,
    • and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.Just as high performance cultures enhance financial performance, negative culturescorrode it. The resulting employee apathy and disengagement makes it almostimpossible to achieve corporate goals, leading to frustration and even desperationamong top-level managers who are responsible for delivering results.Unfortunately, many managers fail to make the connection between culture andperformance. According to a 2005 survey by the Aspen Institutexii, senior managementat 365 companies in 30 countries answered questions regarding company values. Mostof those surveyed believed that values can influence relations and reputations but didnot see a direct connection between corporate culture and growth. A majority ofsurvey participants indicated that adaptability, productivity, product quality andinnovation are important to strategy, but they have no real direct effect on revenue andgrowth. Essentially, their responses suggest that they believe culture has nothing to dowith the bottom line.The kicker—a full one-third of those surveyed were chief executives or boardmembers!In spite of this disconnect, there is a growing body of evidence that shows a direct andsubstantial connection between organizational culture and financial performance,primarily through improvements in employee effectiveness. And employeeeffectiveness depends on culture and the environment in which employees work.Company leaders and managers would do well to bear in mind the words of Dr. LloydM. Field, PhD, SPHR: “The successful company will also recognize that its humanresources are the only ones that can reason, and that its people should be treated withthe dignity and respect it affords its customers.”xiii ***If you are not ready to build a high-performance culture by defining and measuringyour company values, then stay tuned for Part 2 in this series, Why Real-TimeTechnology Matters to Human Capital, coming October 22nd.If you’re ready to unleash the power of your human resources, then get started withTribeHR for free today.
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