What Is A High-Performance Culture And How Do I Create One?

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Jamie Nichol

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Company culture is not just about providing perks like ping pong tables and team happy hours. While these perks can certainly be present in a high-performance culture, they do not alone represent company culture.

So, what is company culture?

Simply put, company culture is the set of behaviors that determine how things get done at your company. It is both how and why things get done. 

When company cultures are particularly high-performing, they can impact all corners of your organization. Increased engagement, productivity, and retention are all outcomes of a high-performance work culture. For example, job turnover at organizations with strong cultures is 14%, compared with 48% in companies with poor cultures.

So what does a high-performance culture look like, exactly? And how can your organization create one? Read on for the answers.

What is a High-Performance Culture?

A high-performance culture is a set of behaviors and norms that leads an organization to achieve superior results.

In other words, it’s a culture that drives a high-performance organization, which according to Cornell ILR School, is a company that achieves better financial and non-financial results (such as customer satisfaction, employee retention, etc.) than those of its peers over a long period of time.

To get to this definition, let’s back up. As mentioned above, company culture is how and why things get done in an organization. When those behaviors and norms are aligned with organizational goals, customer needs, and employee priorities, the company is poised to achieve both financial results and other benefits, such as retaining and engaging employees.

So, now that you know what a high-performance culture is: How do you achieve a high-performance culture in your organization?

How Do I Create a High-Performance Culture?

To help companies like you create a strong company culture, CultureIQ recognizes 10 measurable qualities of high-performance cultures (in no particular order):

    1. Collaboration: Employees cooperate, share, and work well together.
    2. Innovation: The company encourages new ideas, and individuals are able to move ideas through the organization.
    3. Agility: The company responds and adapts to opportunities.
    4. Communication: Employees send, receive, and understand the necessary information.
    5. Support: Employees provide each other with the resources and guidance they need to be successful. They’re confident in company leadership.
    6. Wellness: The company has the policies and resources to help people maintain physical and mental health.
    7. Work Environment: The company has a comfortable workplace where people have the resources to be effective in their work.
    8. Responsibility: Employees are accountable for their actions and have the independence to make decisions regarding their work.
    9. Performance Focus: Employees know what determines success in their role, and they are rewarded or recognized for achievements.
    10. Mission and Value Alignment: Employees know, understand, and believe in the company’s mission and values.

These 10 qualities are common to high-performance companies, and they can provide guidance as you assess your culture. For example, if your company is a certain size or in a specific industry, it might be hard to implement the same culture programs that you read about in the news, but you can still find ways to foster innovation and support in your company.

Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Survey your employees regularly on these 10 qualities so you can identify strengths and pain points. Our free eBook will show you how to create impactful employee surveys.

  • Once you’ve collected constructive feedback from employees, make sure to follow up effectively and develop a plan of action. Here’s a simple six-step plan to follow.

  • Empower your senior leaders to embody company values and culture qualities. They play a critical role in establishing a high-performance culture. Here’s why.

What About Increasing Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is a big buzz word in the workplace these days, and rightly so! It is a significant consideration for employers, and it has shown to impact the bottom line.

How do the above cultural elements relate to employee engagement? Engagement is just one of many outcomes of a high-performance culture; as The Boston Consulting Group explains, it is the manifestation of these company culture attributes. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on understanding and strengthening your company culture as a means to increasing employee engagement and creating a happy, healthy workforce.

So once again, it all comes down to company culture! Make the business case for company culture by downloading our free eGuide.