How is the need for culture change defined in 2014?

While researching and preparing for meetings recently, a statistic caught my attention: less than a third of U.S. employees (30%) are engaged at work according to Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace report. Gallup notes statistics, which show improved employee satisfaction in a variety of areas even though the same employees report low engagement.

And the consensus in surveys and research seems to be overwhelming that employee engagement is a key issue now and will be predictably for years to come. A 2014 global research by Deloitte said 79% recognized it as key.

What can businesses and organizations do?

One answer is to take a line from Robert Palmer’s 1989 hit “Simply Irresistible” and follow the lead of other companies like those on Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For. In his blog dated April 4, 2014, Josh Bersin identified these five elements of a Simply Irresistible™ workplace:

  • Meaningful work
  • Great management
  • Growth opportunities
  • An inclusive, flexible, fun environment
  • Leadership we can trust

The specifics that would lead to this paradigm shift and culture change need to be invented and “owned” by the companies and employees. What gets designed and implemented needs to be authentic and not merely an attempt to repurpose what was successful in another company. What works at Google or Zappos may not work in your company, but the concept behind what works can be applied.

Culture change and employee engagement are here to stay!

The idea of engaging employees has its roots in the late 1700s to the early 1800s with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Society moved from being agrarian to organizing to using technologies that enabled mass production. We have been interested in what motivates and inspires engagement and its relationship to productivity ever since.

Just do it!

What motivates or inspires employees has evolved and changed dramatically over the years since then. The need to do so remains important for us to excel, innovate, and contribute in the 21st Century.

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