Every business is underlined by its work culture. It’s often viewed as something intangible, but that can sometimes be misleading, as it takes time and effort to build and maintain. So, when looking at the most successful, productive and engaged workplaces, there’s one thing they have in common - a high performance culture.
What is high performance culture?
There’s no simple answer to this question. Following the pandemic, the workforce continues to evolve and we find ourselves in a new ‘normal’. Therefore, how we measure success is also changing and the high performance culture of 2019 is significantly different from that of today.
Culture is the set of values, behaviors and beliefs that underline a business. When organizations have a high performance culture, both the business and its people can achieve growth and success.
At the center of this is a working environment where employees are encouraged to thrive, with all the resources they need to flourish. That means they’re well-supported by leaders and feel their goals align with those of the business. Often, the behaviors encouraged from the top down are facilitated by optimized tools and processes, allowing employees to be more efficient.
Essentially, high performance culture signifies a great place to work.
What characteristics make a high performance culture?
Organizations with high performance cultures typically have a lot of similarities. Here are 6 characteristics all businesses should look to implement to maximize employee motivation and efficiency.
1. Strong leadership
In high performing teams, there’s always a strong leader who consistently inspires and motivates. With businesses, there’s no exception. For employees to be excited and ready to outperform targets, they’ll need someone who keeps pushing them to be their very best.
A strong leader also shows enthusiasm to achieve challenging goals and demonstrates how to overcome any obstacles that could stand in the way. If they visibly work very hard to meet objectives, this will inspire employees to do the same. Conversely, any attributes you wouldn’t want to be emulated should be kept under control.
2. Engaged and empowered employees
Organizations that implement recognition and rewards successfully tend to have happy employees and happy employees tend to be more engaged, productive and motivated to surpass expectations and business goals. A key aspect of developing high performance culture is ensuring staff have access to any knowledge or tools that would help them make important business decisions.
It’s not just about making high-performing employees happy, though. Your personnel need to be empowered and comfortable responding to problems or opportunities. Therefore, your staff have to be trained well and given the trust and respect to make their own decisions.
3. Continuous development
To create a high-performance culture, you first have to lay the foundations by identifying any opportunities for learning and development among your employees. Their progress is your progress, especially individuals who will eventually move into senior positions, as they’ll be tasked with upholding your corporate culture in the future. Moreover, the most successful companies regularly communicate anything important to everyone in the organization, making sure all staff have access to the necessary information to drive growth.
Learn more: How to Foster a Culture of Continuous Improvement in Your Organization
Once your business has achieved a high performance culture, that doesn’t mean it’s time to put your feet up and toast your success. Instead, you’ll have to maintain it. Like every organization, what it means to have a high performance culture changes and adapts to new behaviors, technologies and competition.
Consequently, agility is fundamental for any company. If you plan for change in advance, or at least set out some kind of contingency, you won’t be set back when it comes. Don’t be afraid to opt for a different strategy or process to yield positive results.
5. A shared vision
In high performing organizations, every member of the team should be working towards one common goal, with their actions directed by the values and beliefs set by the business.
Every member of staff should be aware of how their work will affect the company, which in turn allows them to create SMART goals for future success.
6. Effective performance reviews
No business will be a stranger to performance reviews, but a lot of organizations don’t conduct them effectively. In a high-performing culture, team and HR managers collaborate to conduct regular appraisals. The purpose of this is to mentor, support and provide feedback to employees, but also give them a safe space to share their own thoughts.
Overall, building a high-performance organization means fostering motivation and designing an uplifting environment for employees to help them excel in anything they do. Creating that culture is one battle, but sustaining it relies on your people and strategies. Shifting the entire culture of an organization requires a large investment of time and commitment - but it all stems from senior leaders.