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Positive Workplace Culture:
A Critical Asset
to Develop and Safeguard
Alison Davis-Blake
Special Advisor to the Provost
Le...
Ensuring Appropriate Use of Corporate
Assets Is a Critical Role of the Board
Key Assets Monitored
by the Board
 Financial...
Ensuring Appropriate Use of Corporate
Assets Is a Critical Role of the Board
Key Assets Monitored
by the Board
 Financial...
Monitoring Use of Human Assets
Succession planning processes are typically quite detailed
and involve explicit training an...
Monitoring Use of Human Assets
What Directors
Should Know
 While at work, are
employees
– Using their skills and
abilitie...
Limitations of Typical Measures
Related to Human Assets
 Satisfied employees feel better than dissatisfied
employees, but...
Limitations of Typical Measures
Related to Human Assets
 Net promoter scores have many drivers and are not
indicators of ...
Organizational Culture: A Critical Indicator of
Effective Use of Human Assets
 Organizational culture is a set of shared ...
A Direct Measure of Organizational
Culture Would Be Useful, BUT . . .
 The beliefs that make up organizational culture
– ...
An Alternative to Direct Measures of
Organizational Culture
 Measure the key elements of culture that are known to be
rel...
Three Critical Elements of
a Positive Organizational Culture
1. Vitality—being excited about passionate about the
company ...
Sample Benefits of
a Positive Organizational Culture
 Employees who experience both vitality and learning
– Perform 15-30...
How Can Directors Assess
Positive Organizational Culture?
 Observe the top management team. If their team culture
is not ...
How Can Directors Assess
Positive Organizational Culture?
 Ask for periodic reports on the company’s HR practices.
Vitali...
Key Takeaways
1. Directors should seek and receive regular information
about how the company uses its human assets
2. Dire...
Questions?
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Positive Workplace Culture | Alison Davis-Blake Summit 2016 Keynote Address

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Positive Workplace Culture: A Critical Asset to Develop and Safeguard

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Positive Workplace Culture | Alison Davis-Blake Summit 2016 Keynote Address

  1. 1. Positive Workplace Culture: A Critical Asset to Develop and Safeguard Alison Davis-Blake Special Advisor to the Provost Leon Festinger Collegiate Professor of Management Office of the Provost and Stephen M. Ross School of Business University of Michigan
  2. 2. Ensuring Appropriate Use of Corporate Assets Is a Critical Role of the Board Key Assets Monitored by the Board  Financial Assets  Physical Assets  Human Assets 2
  3. 3. Ensuring Appropriate Use of Corporate Assets Is a Critical Role of the Board Key Assets Monitored by the Board  Financial Assets  Physical Assets  Human Assets  Reviews of Financial Reports, Audits  Approvals of Major Capital Projects and Expenditures  Succession Planning, Employee Surveys Typical Monitoring Tools 3
  4. 4. Monitoring Use of Human Assets Succession planning processes are typically quite detailed and involve explicit training and development plans for a few key members of management But what should the Board know about a company’s workforce more broadly, especially given that human assets are often a key element of strategic differentiation and competitive advantage?
  5. 5. Monitoring Use of Human Assets What Directors Should Know  While at work, are employees – Using their skills and abilities for important organizational purposes? – Doing so efficiently and effectively?  Employee satisfaction levels  Net promoter scores  Turnover rates  Hotline complaints What Companies Often Measure 5
  6. 6. Limitations of Typical Measures Related to Human Assets  Satisfied employees feel better than dissatisfied employees, but they are not necessarily – Focusing more of their efforts on organizational purposes – More productive (more efficient and effective)
  7. 7. Limitations of Typical Measures Related to Human Assets  Net promoter scores have many drivers and are not indicators of effort or performance  Employees join organizations and leave managers. Therefore, turnover rates are not typically uniform across an organization  Low turnover does not necessarily imply high productivity  Hotline complaints, unless they are numerous, typically indicate local rather than systemic problems  The absence of complaints does not imply high productivity
  8. 8. Organizational Culture: A Critical Indicator of Effective Use of Human Assets  Organizational culture is a set of shared assumptions about what is appropriate  These shared assumptions guide individual and collective behavior Organizational culture tells you what employees are likely to do “when no one is looking.”
  9. 9. A Direct Measure of Organizational Culture Would Be Useful, BUT . . .  The beliefs that make up organizational culture – Are not directly observable (unlike behaviors) – Are often preconscious and therefore not reportable  Good cultural audits are typically expensive, time consuming to review, and thus not something that can be provided to directors regularly and easily
  10. 10. An Alternative to Direct Measures of Organizational Culture  Measure the key elements of culture that are known to be related to whether employees are – Using their skills and abilities for key organizational purposes – Doing so efficiently and effectively These key elements often occur together in a positive workplace culture
  11. 11. Three Critical Elements of a Positive Organizational Culture 1. Vitality—being excited about passionate about the company and it’s mission (this goes beyond commitment). Companies foster vitality by providing information and authority that allow employees to act constructively on behalf of the organization and to see the results of their actions 2. Learning—gaining new knowledge and skills (best if this occurs as a normal part of doing one’s job) 3. Zero tolerance for uncivil conduct
  12. 12. Sample Benefits of a Positive Organizational Culture  Employees who experience both vitality and learning – Perform 15-30% better than employees who experience neither of these elements – Experience 125% fewer instances of burnout – Score 54% better on composite health indices  More than a third of employees who regularly experience uncivil behavior at work report intentionally decreasing their work effort
  13. 13. How Can Directors Assess Positive Organizational Culture?  Observe the top management team. If their team culture is not positive, the organization’s culture is unlikely to be positive  Request that employee surveys focus on employee engagement rather than satisfaction  Observe employee vitality and learning during site visits, perhaps by asking one or two critical questions
  14. 14. How Can Directors Assess Positive Organizational Culture?  Ask for periodic reports on the company’s HR practices. Vitality and learning are more likely to occur when employees – Have timely and accurate information about key business metrics – Have discretion to take action (without unnecessary layers of approval) – Get regular, timely (ideally real-time) feedback on individual and team key performance indicators
  15. 15. Key Takeaways 1. Directors should seek and receive regular information about how the company uses its human assets 2. Directors should focus relentlessly on indicators of a positive organizational culture rather than more traditional employee satisfaction/dissatisfaction measures 3. Large-scale employee surveys (e.g., of employee engagement) are not the only indicators of a positive organizational culture. Direct observation of behavior and information about the company’s HR systems can also be very useful
  16. 16. Questions?

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