In this current war for talent, I get asked how you can attract and retain talent – are team members jumping from company to company as an opportunity to better their salary and benefits? In my answer, I usually say that whilst it could be for a mix of reasons, including salary, benefits, and their manager, a great workplace culture truly matters.
Culture is defined in many ways. One of the more commercial ways of thinking about it is that culture is the degree of alignment between strategy and the way employees think and behave.
In 2016, HBR ran an article titled ‘Manage Your Emotional Culture’. The article talks about and distinguishes between Cognitive Culture and Emotional Culture. It goes on to talk about the fact that emotional culture is rarely managed as deliberately as cognitive culture, and that it’s often not managed at all. It gives some great examples of how companies suffer as a result. Employees who should be showing compassion – in health care, for example, become insensitive and indifferent. Teams that would benefit from joy and pride instead tolerate a culture of anger. People who lack a healthy amount of fear (examples may be security firms or investment banks) act recklessly. The effects can be especially damaging during times of disturbance, such as organisational restructurings and financial downturns.
To understand emotional culture, we must ask: Why do we react the way we do, how does others’ behaviour impact us the way it does?
We all experience a wide range of pleasant and unpleasant feelings at work, as we interact with colleagues, customers, suppliers and others. These feelings influence our decisions, behaviour and performance.
Pleasant feelings have a ‘broaden and build’ effect, causing us to think more broadly, engage more deeply and perform better.
Unpleasant feelings tend to have a ‘narrowing and limiting’ effect, causing us to be more closed-minded, less engaging and poorer at performing.
Collectively, these emotions impact the bottom line for better or worse.
Think about your positive and pleasant experiences in the workplace for a moment.
Conversely, let’s look at negative or unpleasant emotions.
Emotional culture surveys are the most direct and impactful way to measure emotional culture because they measure three distinct things to help identify whether or not emotions experienced need to shift. They measure:
By understanding the gaps, you can do something about them. It allows you to more easily understand where the differences are – so you can be informed in making decisions for your training and development of your teams and workplace culture. You can continue to strive to be a great place to work.
As we enter into a world of AI, automation and machine led learning, our ability to feel and be human is what makes us unique. Visit my page for further insight or to experience the Emotional Culture Index.
Karl Grech coaches mid to senior leaders to inspire, motivate & engage their team. He supports people to gain confidence in their leadership role and helps them overcome challenging situations. Karl is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.karlgrech.com to learn more.
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