Does Company Culture Contribute to Employee Engagement?

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Large organizations often turn a blind eye to the correlation between the importance of aligning employee engagement to company culture. The one size fits all approach to employee engagement tends to ignore company culture as a factor. To quote, Julia Roberts in the film Pretty Woman, “Big mistake”.  As a small business owner I keep a watchful eye on the relationship between employee engagement and company culture because employee satisfaction has an immediate effect on the bottom line.

Glassdoor is a research- based company that annually looks at companies with at least 1,000 employees and ask employees to rank their organizations on the following factors:

  • Overall satisfaction
  • CEO leadership
  • Career Opportunities
  • Compensation
  • Work-life balance

The results of the survey are published in Forbes magazine and Yahoo as the best and the worst companies to work for based on employee responses. When Forbes released the results of a recent Best Places to Work, Glassdoor CEO, Robert Hohman is quoted as saying, “these companies stand tallest for providing outstanding work environments and company cultures.”

In 2015-2016 Bain & Company, Facebook, Nestle Purina Pet Care, In & Out Burger and Power Home Remodeling Group made Forbes top 20 Best Places to Work list. Employees supported the CEO’s of these companies by a margin of 95%-100%. Even though the businesses represented diverse industries the employees consistently commented on “strong culture”, “good company culture”, “supportive culture” and “open culture” as positive aspects of being employed at the respective businesses. Employees intended to remain at the different companies because of the following reasons: “sense of family concern for all team members”, “company associate appreciation incentives”, “emphasis on learning and mentoring” and “corporate structure that fosters career development and growth.”

Conversely, a look at the top 20 Worst Places to Work during the same period reflected the lack of attention to how the company culture effected employee engagement and retention. Disgruntled employees rated some organizations as low as 1 out of a possible 5. Surprisingly the low ratings included familiar organizations such as CVS, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), Dish, Xerox, Dollar Store, Dillard’s, and Sears Holding Co. Employees rated the CEO’s of these companies between 19% – 40%. Employee criticism included: “culture of favoritism”, “personal relationships more important than work ethic when it comes to raises and promotions”, “disorganized management”, “unpleasant working conditions”, “lack of work-life balance”, and “unreasonable manager expectations”.  William Dillard III, VP at family- owned, Dillard’s Department Store reported to the Arkansas Business Journal “a manager’s role is to bring out each employee’s uniqueness to full positive impact.” Employees reported in the survey that this action was non -existent at Dillard’s.

Company culture matters to employees. A positive culture can make an employee stay and want to be a productive contributor.  Indifference or negative company culture keeps employees moving in and out a revolving door. Whether the organization is large or small, company culture impacts employee engagement. If you haven’t looked at your company culture in a while, now may be the time for a tune up. Who knows, your organization could make Forbes 2017 Best Places to Work list?