Listening to employees is a critical first step in establishing a strong culture. But to proactively drive positive change, employers need to create measurable goals related to their culture, continuously ask employees about their experience, implement new initiatives based on employee feedback, and change or add initiatives if they aren’t getting the desired results. Creating a strong culture is a constant, purposeful effort that requires bridging employee sentiment with data science to help workers bring their fullest, best selves to work.
Greg Pryor, senior vice president, people & performance evangelist at Workday, recently sat down with two leaders from Great Place to Work®, an organization that has been studying company culture and employee survey data for almost 30 years. The company advocates for leading with values and humanity which their research proves is not only better for people, it’s better for business.
Pryor chatted with Marcus Erb, vice president of data science and innovation and Matt Bush, culture coaching lead to discuss the data science behind being a great place to work for all, under all circumstances.
Meeting, and Exceeding, Baseline Expectations
In the 30 years Great Place to Work has been in operation, Erb says they’ve seen recessions and changes in politics, but “at the root of it all, people are always looking for trust in who they work for, pride in what they're doing, and camaraderie with the people they work with.”
As a baseline, employees expect fairness in terms of compensation and recognition, but that’s the beginning, not the end of most people’s aspirations. “When employees feel they're a part of something bigger than themselves, it's incredible. They're more likely to tap into their discretionary effort, giving extra to get the job done, and more likely to innovate, to come up with better ways of doing things,” shares Bush.
Listening and Using Data to Enable Belonging and Inclusion
When employees—across business functions, leadership levels, and demographics—trust their employer, have pride in their work, enjoy their coworkers, and feel a sense of belonging and inclusion “businesses thrive, have greater performance, and have greater capacity to bring innovation to the company,” says Bush.
Bush continues, “If you're not checking in with your employees, you’re often wasting time and valuable resources investing in practices that might not have the impact that you intend them to. If your intent is not having the impact that you want it to have, survey at regular intervals to make sure employees know what the objective is.”
And, Bush adds, “The purpose of surveying is not to try to validate what you think you already know, but it's to listen to your employees” and emphasizes building a great place to work “is not contingent on ideal circumstances.” Rather, it has to be done, “under all circumstances, especially when times are tough.”
Checking in on employees to see if they’re feeling a sense of belonging and are having an equitable experience with the company is essential. Erb says, “If those are working well, it creates this ability to innovate, grow, have resiliency and agility.”
Creating, Reinforcing, and Continuing to Be a Great Place to Work for All
In the current environment, listening with humility and willingness to learn is essential. Pryor says that in these times, when many people are disconnected from the people and places that give them a sense of belonging, “helping keep a sense of connection couldn't be more important.”
“Why work on being a great place to work for all, in good times or bad times, wherever you are?” asks Erb, and explains that when you treat employees as whole human beings, it’s better for their families, their communities, and the business. “The most important thing is,” Erb says, “it’s better for the world.”
Check out the full discussion here: Bringing Out the Best of Your Workforce.