workers agree: company culture matters
back to overviewNew Randstad Work Watch Survey Reveals Secret Weapon for Business Success
ATLANTA, 10.04.10 – As many companies continue to focus on recession management strategies such as cutting costs and increasing operational efficiencies, Randstad’s latest Work Watch survey reveals company culture is a critical driver of business success. In fact, two thirds of working adults (66 percent) believe that company culture is very important to the success of their organizations.
The survey also found that employees believe company culture has the greatest impact on employee morale (35 percent), followed by employee productivity (22 percent). Twenty-three percent of younger workers, ages 18 to 34, say it plays the biggest role in building job satisfaction.
While company culture may be the secret weapon companies need to retain workers and increase productivity and morale, it has suffered during the past two years. According to survey respondents, 59 percent believe that recent economic events have had a negative impact on company culture. With layoffs, reduced benefits and wages, morale has suffered and many workers are feeling disengaged from their employers.
“Companies that will perform well will nurture the factors that make their employees feel happier and engaged at work, more connected to overall results, and more motivated to make a strong contribution,” said Eileen Habelow, PhD., Randstad’s senior vice president of organizational development. “Going forward, companies can’t ignore culture. Rather, it should be addressed as a critical component of their overall business strategy.”
As the economy continues to recover, companies will need to consider how to increase their productivity and drive overall performance improvements. Randstad has found that company culture is often an overlooked place to jump start business improvements. The keys to a better culture begin with benchmarking current culture: how it is defined, what it means to employees and what the organization would like it to be.
Elements of Company Culture
So what, exactly, do workers find to be critical to company culture? The survey revealed that the top two elements critical to company culture are employee attitudes (69 percent) and effective management (64 percent). Respondents reported other important elements of culture including:
- Strong trust relationships (57 percent).
- Customer focus (55 percent).
- High accountability standards (50 percent).
- Commitment to training and development (47 percent).
- Compensation and reward programs (45 percent).
- Support for innovation and new ideas (42 percent).
- Useful resources, technology and tools (41 percent).
- Emphasis on recruiting and retaining outstanding employees (40 percent).
“The elements that build a culture are unique across each organization, however, there are similar characteristics across strong cultures,” said Habelow. “Companies looking to shift their culture should focus on a few key areas - building employee morale through incentive and training programs, clearly defining values through mission and vision statements, putting strong leaders in place that set the tone and empower others and, finally, encouraging better relationships with both employees and customers.”
Defining Company Culture
In their book “Corporate Cultures: the Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life,” authors Terrence Deal and Allan Kennedy outline four categories of company culture:
- All Hands on Deck Culture - everyone works as a team no matter your title or position, the focus here is working together to get projects done.
- Process Culture - it's all about data, grids and forms, the culture lacks creativity, but focuses heavily on the procedure and bureaucracy.
- Work Hard/Play Hard Culture - fun and action are the rule here, employees take pride in work and its quality, but don't miss opportunities to enjoy time with co-workers.
- Tough-Guy, Macho Culture - get the job done is the focus here, feedback and constructive criticism reign and you are expected to know what you are doing with little or no direction.
Using these definitions, Randstad found that 38 percent of workers describe their current work culture as “All Hands on Deck.” Fewer categorize their company as having a “Process” culture (18 percent), a “Work Hard/Play Hard” culture (16 percent), or a “Tough Guy, Macho” culture (12 percent). One in six (16 percent) say that none of these categories describes their company culture.
Differences in these classifications also vary by age and by the size of the company. Almost half (47 percent) of workers aged 55 and older characterize their company culture as “All Hands on Deck.” Younger workers are more likely to describe their culture as “Work Hard/Play Hard” (19 percent). Those aged 35 to 54 are more likely to characterize their company as having a “Process” culture (21 percent).
Additional Survey Findings
- Workers including college graduates (76 percent), employees at companies with more than 100 employees (72 percent), and those with a household income of $50,000 or more (69 percent) find company culture more important than other working adults.
- Fewer workers believe company culture has significant impact on company reputation (13%), employee turnover (7%) or company communication (5%).
- Workers aged 35 and older are more likely than those who are younger to feel that the economic crisis has negatively affected the culture at their company (64 percent vs. 49 percent). Majorities of workers across demographic groups – with the one exception of younger workers – believe that the economy has had a negative impact on their working environment.
For more information please contact Christina Setser via email or call 404.870.6829.
Abbreviated Survey Methodology
For the survey, a national sample of 1,008 adults aged 18 and older who are currently employed from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online. The poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs August 16-19, 2010. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the U.S. population of working adults according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.
A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of employed adults aged 18 and older in the United States had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error, and measurement error. Total percentages may add up to more than 100% due to rounding.