What the world’s best cultures look and feel like
Here is a brief excerpt from an article co-authored by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. To read the complete article, check out the resources at their website, and sign up for free email alerts, please click here.
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If you’ve worked in enough jobs, you’ll know that cultures can vary dramatically. There are workplaces of outright dysfunction, of contention, of coasting, and even of backstabbing. There are some cultures that produce impressive financial results but also high employee turnover and burnout.
The most profitable, productive, enduring cultures are places where people lock into a vision with conviction, where they maintain excitement not out of fear but out of passion. And we have the research to back that up.
In 2009 and 2010, during the worst of the recession, Towers Watson conducted a global research study of 300,000 people to show the way the most profitable companies work—on the inside. These “high-performance” organizations outperformed their competitors in financial measures by as much as two and three times.
Towers Watson allowed us unprecedented access into this data to determine what levers managers of these organizations pulled. The core finding was that in the highest-performing cultures, leaders not only create high levels of engagement—strong employee attachment to the company and a willingness to give extra effort—but they also create environments that support productivity and performance, in which employees feel enabled. And finally, they help employees feel a greater sense of well-being and drive at work; in other words people feel energized.
This triumvirate of Engaged, Enabled, and Energized (E + E + E for short) was found in every highly profitable culture studied. These E + E + E cultures saw average annual operating margins twice as high as organizations with just high employee engagement and three times higher than those with low engagement.
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Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton are the co-founders of The CultureWorks and co-authors of several books including their latest, All In: How the Best Managers Create a Culture of Belief and Drive Big Results, published by Free Press (2012).
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