With no real framework in place to lay down its fundamentals, the performance culture is rather a holistic impersonation of the strategy and performance management system itself. While more than many organizations associate a high performance culture with the right working environment, there is a great deal more to the concept than a nice office, random perks and casual benefits. Although there may not yet be a secret formula for creating a high performance culture, we have managed to put together some sensible criteria for nurturing performance driven employees:
– a discreet statement of motivation and commitment, employee engagement is actually the by-product of effective leadership, open communication, high level support and encouragement, personal accountability and talent management.
2.Continuous learning and development
– one of the building blocks in creating a high performance culture, a learning culture is the main driver of performance within an organization. Investments in training, education and other educational opportunities will most certainly build mission critical skills and competencies.
3.Aligned Performance Management System
– a structured and coherent framework for measuring and monitoring both collective effort and individual contributions to the achievement of organizational goals; an ongoing process of defining and refining strategic objectives, setting and recalibrating KPIs and KPI targets, gathering, analyzing and reviewing performance data to drive improvement and optimization.
4.Inclusive environment and workforce diversity
– forward-thinking organizations capitalize on diverse backgrounds, multi-faceted experience and manifold practices to develop, guide and retain an inclusive and diverse workforce. High performance cultures are representative of various segments of society, building on diverse knowledge to drive progressive initiatives.
5.Effective leadership and relationship management
– a high performance culture is often the result of fully functional partnerships between top/middle management levels and bottom line employees. Successful management of such relationships bridges communication gaps, while helping to build and maintain efficient and effective operations at all levels of the organization (strategic, departmental and individual).
6.Sustainable work-life balance
– often overlooked in the process of generating expected results, the work-life balance is a highly sensitive concept when it comes to maintaining and strengthening the performance culture within an organization. As much as it may seem that the work-life balance can be maintained by close control of workloads and overtime, the concept is generally much more comprehensive. It sometime takes special work-life programs, policies and initiatives to feed into the employees’ need for balance, happiness and well-being.
– a fundamental concept high performance cultures are based on. Discipline is based on principles of governance, responsibility and high accountability. When linked to clearly articulated strategy and strong organizational values, discipline can overcome the need for hierarchy. Moreover, it can lead to the creation of multi-functional teams and it can nurture inter-changeable capabilities.
When it comes to creating winning performance cultures, best performing organizations all exhibit several attributes that make it easier for them to nurture and reinforce alignment. These core attributes work together to continuously strengthen the performance culture of the organization, while effectively enabling it to achieve desired results:
- Honest and integrous – employees within an organization will dispassionately contribute to its success, provided they are allowed to contribute. When openness and candor are encouraged, free expression will most likely generate the most valuable ideas. An organization generates more benefits from uninhibited talent, than by fostering an environment that is obstructive and authoritarian.
- Performance oriented – many organizations believe that a performance culture is about people feeling content with the workplace and their working environment. However, a high performance culture is just as much as producing the expected results as the performance management system itself. The performance-oriented organization will, therefore ensure that strategy is cascaded down to all employees, while the performance measurement system stays focused on the results and achievements of all members within the organization.
- Accountable and responsible – high performing organizations will ensure that ownership over performance results is correctly and justifiably distributed across all organizational levels. Effective leadership will be sure to create and maintain a motivated workforce working at its full potential.
- Lenient and collaborative - building a lenient and collaborative organizations relies on several success factors such as: putting individual interest first before corporate benefits, raising focus on strategy and encouraging employees to voice out their beliefs, encouraging collaboration to make a better work place, leading by example, measuring what matters and creating a supportive working environment.
- Adaptive and agile – long term success organizations will have the ability to deliver value through knowledge. Adaptive and agile organizations rely on a high performance culture that delivers value through continuous learning.
- Innovative – an increasingly dynamic market place requires the modern organization to not only be flexible and adaptive, but also make innovation its competitive advantage. A high performance culture seeks to use knowledge in order to ideate and get ahead of its competitors.
- Forward-thinking – high organizational cultures are forward-thinking in the sense that they are future oriented. Such organizations will rely on long term planning and will inspire their employees and stakeholders through their vision. Knowing the organization’s future orientations will enable the performance culture within to build on collaborative effort to live up to such aspirations.
Effecting a successful implementation of a high performance culture within the organization, relies on several best practices intended to bring about desired change. A holistic approach to creating a high performance culture should be aimed at fusing together a coherent and reliable Strategy and Performance Management System founded on the core elements of a performance driven culture:
Integration into the overall Strategy and Performance Management System - turn “organizational culture” into a measurable concept by developing and implementing specific measurement tools and techniques that are aligned and integrated to the overall strategy and performance management system within the organization.
A systematic approach towards creating the performance driven culture - After the strategy and associated objectives have been decided upon, adopt a step by step approach towards reaching the goals set forth. Avoid focus on all improvements at once, and rather learn to prioritize them. For instance, assign a one year – one year and a half period to designing a sound Strategy and Performance Management Architecture and improving the Communication and Leadership Support process. After progress on these initiatives has been assessed, another year can be dedicated to increasing Employee Motivation and Engagement. All these elements of organizational culture should be deconstructed into sub-components utilized as milestones towards improvement.
Changes in performance culture blended in to performance improvement initiatives - In order to ensure the success of creating a high-performance culture, associated endeavors should be integrated with business initiatives. If culture-related goals and objectives are monitored by themselves, chances are that they will be neglected by management and employees. One culture related objective, such as “Create a culture of continuous learning” can be combined with a strictly business oriented objective, such as “Increase Sales”. Adequate initiatives for reaching this fused objective could be adopting mentoring programs or enabling communities of practice. Such initiatives will lead to sale increases through knowledge transfer from experienced, high-performing sales agents to the newly hired, while at the same time building a positive learning environment and fostering communication.
Organizational culture is more than often categorized as a soft topic when it comes to performance. However, people analytics and data driven approaches are starting to provide clearer insight into what an organization actually needs to build a high performance culture. Some useful recommendations into using people analytics and data to drive a winning performance culture include:
1.Measuring culture with KPIs
- making use of KPIs to measure culture is one of the most important steps in transforming organizational culture from the soft topic it used to be to the core strategic pillar that it should be. KPI results can help identify both strengths and weaknesses in the existing organizational culture, and then facilitate decision-making so as to drive improvement.
2.Actively using culture surveys
- simple, yet meaningful culture surveys, are one of the easiest, most effective ways by which to collect on employee sentiment and feedback. Given their hardly complex and engaging format, when appropriately designed, culture surveys can become the perfect internal assessment tool.
3.Building on Talent Data and HR Analytics
- such technology allows organizations to make their way through better management and decision making for the organization. When correctly employed people analytics drives organizational culture by equipping leadership with insight data on talent recruitment and development, employee performance and retention.
4.Relying on the Performance Management System to strengthen alignment
- the one element that separates winning organizational cultures from fragmented ones is alignment. A structured and coherent Performance Management System will ensure that the performance culture is aligned to the strategic mission and values of the organization, while building focus, agility, communication, collaboration and well-being. By capitalizing on these cultural qualities the Performance Management System itself will benefit from a strong and to make it functional and effective.