How Company Culture Shapes Employee Motivation

We all know that company culture can influence different aspects of daily work, but can it shape employee motivation? Here’s everything you need to know.

Building a high-performing cultural environment for your team, no matter its size, sets you apart from your competitors!

However, it isn’t easily achieved; otherwise, everyone would have an effective staff. Organisations need strategies to build work cultures that match their beliefs and drive growth while keeping them on track in their interactive, fast-paced environments.

Often, how strongly employees are motivated to finish their tasks indicates their willingness to do their maximum on a daily basis. Employee motivation is closely related to the culture of the workplace, and in this article, we’ll discuss this interconnection.

What is company culture?

As an important indicator of the employees’ relationships within an organisation, company culture can be defined as the set of beliefs or behaviours settled between the management team and the employees. This excludes the usual business transactions and work procedures.

Company culture stands as an essential characteristic of a business, but it is difficult to enforce because it highly depends on the traits of the people hired. It encourages employees to voice their opinions, and it impacts the outcome of any kind of business because the business’s culture is an important asset that keeps the organisation together and grows with it.

How well does your culture meet needs?

In order for a business to thrive, it should take into account all the needs of its employees and fulfil them. To examine these needs, let us separate them into categories.

Survival needs

The main reason why most people work is to cover their basic survival needs. But if they’re coming to do the work and then leave with only money in mind, you have a problem — another job with a slightly better wage would be enough for them to leave your company.

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So, while ensuring you’re fostering a supportive work climate, paying well makes a difference — especially in retaining experienced employees who are the heart of your business.

Security needs

Besides the pay, the second factor that strongly influences whether an employee feels motivated to be at their best is security. If an employee sees other colleagues established in a position for many years, and he/she receives affirmations from both them and your managers about a potential long-term career plan, the chances of more complete output in the work process are higher.

You can achieve this by showcasing strong leadership skills, being transparent about the performance of the company, and most importantly, setting rules that protect everyone from harassment or bullying.

Importance needs

An employee who feels important not only works harder but is also more likely to achieve the goals assigned. Every company has those workers who try the hardest to keep things from falling apart. Not appreciating their efforts could cause them to lose their spirit.

There are different ways to do this, both formally and informally — for example, setting up recognition programs, giving awards for achievements, or sharing their success stories.

Belonging needs

There’s nothing worse about being part of a community than the feeling of being separated and secluded from others, especially when it comes to the workplace. Creating that welcoming sense of belonging for both new employees and current ones by embracing their cultural backgrounds and making sure they fit in well with the other team members is important.

Also, management teams should pay attention to these features and employee gaps so they can structure more conclusive training for their needs as well.

Self-actualisation needs

Some people tend to find their careers motivational when they notice they’ve been challenged, helped to grow, and further discovered the best version of themselves. It’s important that organisations dedicate in-depth thinking and implementation for activities that help employees feel on track with their growth and self-actualisation journeys.

Such activities could include wellness programs or community service initiatives. But these don’t have to be physical activities. Implementing more flexible schedules and providing educational assistance through discounts on educational content or other alleviations that guide their learning process is beneficial too.

Benefits and pitfalls of organisational culture adaptation

Regardless of the efforts put into creating the ideal company culture, issues always emerge during the process, making it more challenging.

These issues correlate closely with diversity and how widespread it is within the organisation. However, adapting a novel culture for the organisation has its own benefits in terms of efficiency and employee satisfaction.

The benefits of having a motivated workforce

Happy employees tend to perform better at their jobs when they feel comfortable and motivated, but what aspects of their lives does employee motivation affect?

Increased employee commitment. A motivated workforce will be committed to finishing the given tasks on time. This will leave fewer tasks to be postponed. Also, it will affect the overall success of a project since a motivated employee will work with the completion of the project in mind;

Enhanced employee satisfaction. Satisfied employees contribute to the growth of a company. Higher engagement between satisfied workers creates a workforce with a strengthened retention rate, giving managers more time to spend on supporting existing workers rather than hiring new ones;

Ongoing employee development. Motivation plays a crucial role in the individual development of an employee. If workers are encouraged to reach small personal goals, they feel motivated to continue developing themselves further to achieve excellent results in both their personal and professional lives;

Improved employee efficiency. Surprisingly, the results of an employee depend not as much as we think on his or her qualifications or skills. The outcome depends on a combination of the actual skilfulness of the employee to complete the task and his or her motivation to finish it.

Common pitfalls companies make when trying to adapt their cultures

Establishing the culture of an entire company is quite a task in which some things might go wrong. Here are three of the most common pitfalls that could be expected.

Expecting everyone to fit in. Most organisations declare themselves open to hiring workers from diverse cultures and backgrounds, but then they expect everyone to fit into their existing company cultures. If you’re open to diversifying your staff, avoid following stereotypes about certain cultural traits, as that won’t create a climate of openness but rather one of seclusion.

Robin Ely and David Thomas recently published a study in the Harvard Business Review. They explain different approaches towards workplace diversity and state that a culture where everyone should “fit” hasn’t resulted in success, but rather a culture where all contribute to its co-creation is what companies truly need;

A lack of diversity in leadership roles. This depicts an organisation as culturally closed. Diversity should be found not only in the entry level of the workforce but also in management staff and basically all functions within the organisation. It will motivate both the outsiders and the workers to support the company’s mission and vision;

When diversity lacks inclusion and mutuality. The third pitfall encountered within organisations relates to inclusion and mutuality. Organisations should focus on diversity, not only in terms of creating a workforce that allows people of diverse cultures to join the organisation.

It also should make them feel included and motivated to do their best with a long-term career in mind. Such culture should take into account mutuality, which relates to the impact of an organisation’s diversity on that of the community as a whole.

Paying attention to cultural elements within an organisation for all employees to feel comfortable increases their motivation and produces more satisfying outcomes.

Even though diversity issues might arise during the process, they can be tackled if observed with attention. What matters is that you evaluate the ongoing interactions and make changes when needed.

Employee motivation tips

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How can you tell if your company culture motivates employees?

Finding out whether your current company culture is yielding results and creating a positive work environment is the first step in enhancing employee motivation. So what would be some indicators for us to keep an eye on when enhancing a company’s culture?

Lower absenteeism

Engagement shows a lot about employees’ participation in the company’s vision, especially when it comes to making decisions. The simple act of choosing between two different options makes them think of themselves as part of the business and be more motivated to contribute to its growth.

Having flexible schedules or wellness programs makes employees value the company more and participate in its decisions, knowing the potential it has to make a positive impact.

Improved retention

Retention is an important metric for showing whether an organisation has fostered a warm climate of communicative and understandable workers who wouldn’t leave unless it was for strong reasons.

We used to think that better pay could fix retention rates, but a recent survey from Glassdoor reports that workers place financial benefits among the last decisive and motivating factors. It was found that organisational values and culture are what motivate employees. They simply want to feel appreciated in a promising company.

Happier customers

Establishing a functional and effective work culture doesn’t reflect only on your employees’ interactions with you and each other but also on the experiences of customer service, ratings, and a direct increase in sales numbers.

Increased profitability

Motivated employees will keep searching for ways to find solutions, even to unseen problems, because their productivity will increase. Consequently, productive employees are dedicated to getting more results, which leads to profitability increases.

Better quality candidates

Good news spreads fast, they say. Building a positive and diverse work culture not only keeps workers motivated and gets more results but also secures you better potential candidates for vacant positions.

Employees discuss their successes with their relatives and networks of professionals who may be an exact fit for your company culture when you hire. If a company becomes popular, you win the trust of both employees and customers and set yourself as an authority in the area.

Improve the total motivation of your employees

After reading a bit about the importance of employee motivation, maybe you’d prefer to learn some applicable tips for your teams. To get there, we have to first understand what drives us to complete work. Researchers have identified three essential reasons:

Play. This happens when the work itself is fun, joyful, and motivating. Ask your employees to answer this question to see whether they have found their work enjoyable: “What did I learn this week?”

Purpose. The joy of work comes from the fact that the purpose of the project or task is related to a cause you’re deeply passionate about. A good question for your employees would be: “What impact did I have this week?”

Potential. Our third factor relates work with the direct enjoyment we get for working on a specific task or project. Progressing in personal growth is motivating. A good question for your employees would be: “What do I want to learn next week?”

Explaining the reasons behind projects

Have you ever been asked to complete a project only because it was needed, but no one told you why? Or have you simply been told that a certain project is for your boss or a special client, but you were given no further clarification?

Sounds intimidating. It’s suggested that you explain to employees whom a task or project will benefit, so they will feel more motivated to work on it.

Having a well-designed team

Lastly, is your team well-organised within itself? The question is whether or not everyone has their own space to express and experiment. Make sure you’re not putting them into an isolated corner with just a computer screen in front of them.

Make sure the team is designed well and that the team members gather together to discuss their vision. Keep notes and see how you can assist them in reaching their goals.

In Summary

Companies that have built or are working towards building a diverse and inclusive high-performance culture aren’t contributing only to the professional and personal lives of their employees but also to their own output. As long as employees are empowered, supported, and recognised for their achievements, companies will have motivated workers on their teams.

Motivated employees aren’t simply satisfied people who do their work because the wage is rewarding. No, they’re motivated to achieve maximal results in their tasks because they want to develop themselves through their achievements and reach the company’s objectives.

It sounds improbable at first, but HR teams can build this high-performance culture by focusing on constant communication, diversity, employee training, and the company’s vision.

About the Author

Kasia Slonawska is a content marketer who writes for SaaS companies from different niches: email clients, social media management, SEO, etc. With broad professional experience and educational background in writing, she creates unique, engaging texts that win the Google ranks.

Team 6Q

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