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Why Culture is the Ultimate Advantage

Is your leadership team always chasing the next big idea?

The disruptive strategy. The latest product innovation. The newest financial plan. The overlooked marketing or sales tactic that will give you an edge over your competitors.

You pour endless resources into new approaches for marketing, sales, product development, and production processes hoping that this campaign, this methodology, or this hack will be the magic ingredient you need to add to take your company to success.

But every advantage you find quickly fades. Because everyone else is doing the same thing

In today’s world, information flows fast, which means that every new disruptive strategy is quickly discovered, analyzed, and actioned by every leading company. And as soon as that happens, it’s no longer disruptive.

When every possible competitive advantage is common knowledge, is there any sustainable competitive advantage left?

There is one.

It’s a competitive advantage that will last for years.

It can’t be easily reproduced by your competitors. 

It can fuel innovation, market intelligence, productivity, collaboration, and a whole lot more.

Company culture is the ultimate advantage

Organizations which invest heavily in creating a healthy, positive, and collaborative environment are rewarded with gains in almost every area.

They attract better people, who bring the knowledge to drive them forward. 

Their teams enjoy their work more, and come in every day with the passion and energy they need to reach their goals. 

They collaborate more, because they feel more connected with each other. 

They bring new ideas to the table, because their employers invest in their growth and empower them to try new things.

Culture is the great multiplier. It drives more innovative, disruptive strategies and processes across every area of your business. 

The best companies already understand this. In a recent IBM study, companies that outpaced others in terms of profitability, innovation, and revenue growth all had one thing in common –  HR execs which were striving to consistently reinvent and improve their culture.

Culture Matters Now More Than Ever

Not only is culture the ultimate advantage, it’s an advantage your employees are clamouring for

Millennials are now the largest segment in the workforce, and they are looking for companies with great culture where they feel their contributions matter and are valued. Studies have shown that millennial employees prize ‘cultural fit’ above all other factors when looking for a job.

Couple that with the shift to remote work caused by the pandemic, which has made it more difficult for people to feel connected and engaged, and you can see why improving culture isn’t just an advantage, but an imperative

This is underlined by ‘The Great Resignation’, which has seen thousands of employees all over the world leave their jobs in search of more supportive, enriching, and connected work environments.

So why aren’t more companies looking to invest in culture?

Why Culture Gets Overlooked

Unfortunately, most leadership teams tend to see investing in HR as a cost centre rather than a revenue generator or cost-reducer.

The problem is that the impact of investing in culture is seen as intangible, meaning most executives and managers fail to truly understand its benefit.

In an increasingly data driven world, leadership teams tend to favour strategies which provide clear, measurable ROI over more subjective initiatives. Technological innovations, marketing campaigns, sales techniques, and other traditional business functions are able to provide more demonstrable results, so they attract more investment.

The value of investing in culture, on the other hand, is more difficult to quantify. 

What does a great culture really mean, for both employers and employees?

How do you actively shape the culture you want to create in a visible, measurable way?

How do you make culture tangible?

Employee Recognition – The Best Way to Intentionally Shape Great Culture

An employee recognition program is traditionally seen as a small perk, a nice-to-have, the cherry on top of other efforts to create a better work environment.

But it can be so much more than that. When used intentionally and strategically aligned with your core values, mission, and vision, an employee recognition program can help actively create the culture you want. 

Recognition can help align your people with your organizational goals, make it easier for them to connect with their teammates, and empower them to succeed. 

It can help you create a culture where they have a sense of purpose, opportunity to grow, and where their wellbeing is a priority. 

And the best part? You can measure it. 

By aligning your recognition program to your core values, you can see which of these values are being applied by employees, and which aren’t, and how it grows over time.

By analyzing how widespread recognition is at your company, you can see just how connected your team truly is. 

By seeing how often employees recognize each other, you can see firsthand how recognition empowers your employees.

With this knowledge, your team can pinpoint areas that are holding you back, address cultural issues, and identify new initiatives and opportunities that will help shape the culture you want. 

All the while, your recognition efforts will continuously reinforce your cultural vision to your employees, and encourage them to take actions that reflect it.

Your employee recognition program becomes the Rosetta Stone that translates your culture from an intangible, abstract idea into a visible, measurable strategy that drives tangible success. 

The 1400% Advantage of Recognition

The ROI of using employee recognition to shape culture is mind-blowing. A well-executed program can easily deliver:

  • 10% gains in efficiency
  • 10% improvement in productivity
  • 15% improvement in retention
  • 10% reduction in absenteeism
  • 10% reduction in onboarding costs

This amounts to an incredible 1400% return on your investment.

And that’s before you consider how much improving your culture will drive more innovative strategies, collaboration, and intelligence in every aspect of your business. Not to mention the benefits to your employer brand, increased employee advocacy, and your ability to attract better talent.

Best of all, you’ll be able to sustain these advantages. Where knowledge loss due to employee churn can really hurt a business, companies with great culture are better able to retain their talent. 

By keeping people longer and building a more collaborative culture, you keep more expertise in your company, meaning your employees will continue to grow with you for years to come.

With a more engaged, collaborative, and passionate team that is constantly challenging themselves to grow and improve, your culture will be your ultimate advantage, and recognition is the key to tapping into it

Want to learn more?

If you are interested in taking a deeper dive into how culture can transform your business, check out Culture is the Ultimate Advantage. Over 40 pages, we detail what makes great culture, how recognition helps shape culture, and how that culture can drive real, tangible results for businesses. 

Fill out the form below to get a direct link to the guide!

Culture is the Ultimate Advantage

Set yourself apart using the power of company culture. Stand out to new applicants and motivate your team to do their best work.

Skai Dalziel

Written by Skai Dalziel

Skai is the Co-Founder of Guusto. He leads the Customer Success Team, and loves helping HR leaders build workplace culture by sharing his experiences from working with thousands of companies.

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