The latest research from Gallup shows that U.S. employee engagement has slipped below 33 percent.

Many reasons contribute to employee disengagement:

  • Jobs and work tasks are poorly designed, leading to boredom and lack of career growth
  • Employees are not clear on their roles and how they contribute to the organization’s goals
  • Managers are distracted from coaching and mentoring employees
  • Company compensation and benefits packages are not internally equitable and externally competitive
  • Managers have increased responsibilities, taking time away from necessary activities such as employee recognition

However, culture mapping is only one piece of the equation. Organizational culture drives the way things get done. Work processes are filled with company culture—from the way an organization approaches planning to the way they hold meetings to the way they measure outcomes. Culture determines the way an organization sets objectives and key results, which ultimately determines their business performance. Engaged employees understand their roles and how they fit within the organization. Companies with high levels of engagement have clear work processes and communicate those processes well.

Culture also impacts the work processes that involve talent. Culture drives candidate experiences such as interviewing, onboarding and orientation. Culture has a huge impression on employee experiences like training and development, performance management and succession planning. Engaged employees are excited about their work, receive regular feedback about their performance and know what it takes to reach their career goals. Organizations with high levels of engagement have managers who are focused on developing and recognizing talent.

3 Strategies for Connecting Company Culture and Employee Engagement

While having competitive programs is important for recruitment and retention, they do not sustain a company culture. People play the most significant role in making company culture a reality, which means that organizations must have the right talent to create a high-engagement culture.

It starts with recruitment. Managers hire people based on cultural fit. It can be very tempting to hire based solely on skills hoping the cultural fit will happen later. Many organizations have adopted the mantra, “hire for attitude and train for skill” for a reason. It’s easier to give employees the skills they need to be successful.

While it starts with hiring, recruitment isn’t the only answer. Engagement needs to be present throughout the entire employee life cycle. Even if organizations do all the right things during the recruitment process, they can find themselves with a disengaged workforce if the rest of the employee experience is disconnected from the company culture. Here are three ways that companies can strengthen their culture/engagement connection after the initial hire:

  1. Invest in developing employee collaboration skills. The amount of time spent on collaborative activities has increased by over 50 percent. Employees need to collaborate in order to be successful. And collaborative activities build positive working relationships, hence increasing engagement.
  2. Train employees at every level on the best methods to establish, accomplish, evaluate and adjust objectives and key results (OKRs). Any time an individual or the organization is creating change, they must make sure that it aligns with company culture.
  3. Develop managers to coach and support employees. This will emphasize the employee’s performance, which in turn builds a stronger connection with the organization. Performance coaching isn’t always about changing poor behaviors. Engaged employees need to hear positive feedback as well.

Hiring employees who fit the company culture is the beginning of a highly engaged culture. Then it takes the entire organization’s focus on learning, development and feedback to sustain the engagement/culture connection that’s been made. If you want to learn more about building a highly engaged company culture, download the Manager’s Role in Employee Engagement whitepaper. It focuses on those activities managers should do to engage employees at every level.