planning your workplace culture strategy for 2018

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With the end of the year fast approaching, it’s time to consider what strategies you’ll employ in 2018 to make your workplace culture the best yet.

Given our recent research indicating that, on average, employees only rate their current workplace culture at 65 on a 100-point scale, it’s little wonder why corporations across the globe are investing significant resources to improve their organization’s culture.

Let’s get tactical.

Are your culture-building efforts creating an engaging employee experience, retaining and attracting top talent, and driving business results?

Based on qualitative and quantitative research, O.C. Tanner has defined the successful culture landscape, breaking it down into six key focuses, or talent magnets. Here are some strategies that you can put into place within each.


Only 54% of employees say their organization’s purpose motivates them.

Make certain you have clearly articulated your organization’s reason for being and the vision for the future. Because research indicates that employees are no longer satisfied simply going into work each day and leaving with a paycheck, help them to understand how the organization is positively changing the world. Encourage management to meet with team members, and explain how individual roles are effectively making a difference.

If you don’t already have one, craft a meaningful mission statement. Meet with your employees to ensure they understand what it means.

You would also do well in helping team members link personal goals with organizational ones. In this way, they better “see” how their roles fit within the greater company.


Only 55% of employees agree that they regularly learn new, valuable things in their current role.

Employees yearn to be stretched in ways that allow them to learn new skills and help them learn, grow, and be challenged. It is impactful for them when they have the opportunity to work on special projects, enabling them to feel as though they have a say in important decisions.

Provide opportunities for employees to participate on cross-functional teams, and allow them to weigh in on the meaningful conversations.

Regardless of title, enable your employees to expand individual responsibilities so as to get exposure to other business functions (and be sure to recognize appropriately). Provide ways that they can continually be growing their skillsets, such as conference attendance or education reimbursement.


42% of employees believe it goes unnoticed when they reach a goal.

People love the idea of being on a winning team. According to the research, the most powerful level of success is centered around the individual employee and the great work he or she does and witnesses others doing. Employees want to feel like they have everything needed to do great work, which means that they have to be provided with some sense of control over not only what they do, but how they do it.

Let your employees know that they are encouraged to innovate and have the freedom to fail. Build goal-oriented workgroups where everyone can bring their best work to the table, and grant employees autonomy to make decisions. Doing so will ensure employees feel armed to reach their goals, and inspired when wins are achieved.


Almost half of employees believe their organization takes them and other employees for granted.

It is imperative that your organization shows its employees that they are valued. Beyond benefits packages, appreciation is also giving genuine recognition for their output, talents, and contributions.

Emphasize both formal and informal employee recognition. Encourage management to foster team dynamics that allow for verbal praise and regular celebrations. Because when employees feel appreciated for their work, they feel the organization respects them as well as the quality of work they do.


40% of employees agree that their job creates a great deal of negative stress in their life.

Employees want their employers to respect their physical, emotional, social, and financial needs. They have a strong desire to better connect with themselves, the people around them, and the world as a whole.

Provide for opportunities for employees to connect with your organization so that they feel comfortable in saying, “I need a day off,” and validated in their demands for an environment conducive to health and happiness.


More than 1 in 4 employees do not trust their direct manager.

Employees do not want bosses who tell them what to do, but rather leaders who do their best to help them accomplish something.

Employees feel enabled to do their best work when the organization delivers on its promises. And because, in the current workplace environment, leaders are not successfully motivating employees, sharing responsibilities, or advocating for their them—they’re also not driving passion and commitment.

Emphasize the importance of leadership—not management—to your executives. Encourage them to motivate the employees with whom they work, delegate tasks, and fuel individual passions.

Key takeaways.

The more your organization tries to force loyalty and engagement on your employees, the less you’ll get. Instead, work to create an attractive workplace culture employees want to engage with—one where they want to stay. By doing small things in each of the above six areas—even marginal efforts—staggering improvements ensue, such as the fact that organizations are 25 percent more likely to have teams growing in size instead of stagnating or decreasing in the last year.

Focus on what matters most so that you connect with what’s most meaningful for employees, become an irresistible place to work, and ultimately achieve financial success.

By o.c. tanner
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