A high-performance culture, according to research by Gartner, is "a physical or virtual environment designed to make employees as successful as possible in supporting corporate goals and adding value to the organization."
Employees work well in a high-performance culture because they feel appreciated, engaged, and always learn new things. Such an environment provides meaning to their work and instils a commitment to the organization's mission and a continuous improvement mindset that motivates performance.
Characteristics of a high-performance culture
Here are some key characteristics of an organization with a high-performance culture:
Future-minded and strong leaders
Team performance is built on a foundation of leadership. Leaders communicate objectives, set the tone, and directly impact how well employees perform in different ways. Leaders drive goal execution and act as a catalyst for team performance in a high-performance work environment. Through their acts and behavior, leaders establish the standard for success. Additionally, they express excitement for achieving challenging objectives and show how to overcome obstacles that can obstruct teamwork. For instance, a leader who makes a concerted effort to surpass sales targets or master a new procedure will motivate their team members to follow suit.
Leaders with a high-performance culture express specific, measurable, and action-oriented goals while setting goals and providing feedback. They engage in empathetic communication, provide constructive criticism, and motivate staff to work to their full potential. Leaders significantly impact culture, productivity, and work culture.
Beyond inclusivity, though, future-focused leaders achieve outstanding achievements. Teams under the direction of future-minded leaders have a high performance culture. Additionally, workers exhibit improved performance, resiliency, and risk-taking.
When it comes to employee engagement, companies with a high-performance culture back up their words with actions. They ensure that workers have the resources, expertise, and knowledge needed to make wise decisions.
A positive employee experience might be the "make it or break it" element in this two-way connection. It has to do with how a company respects its workers and shows that it cares about them as full individuals.
Learning and Development opportunities
It is necessary to assess the staff development needs and find measures to encourage continuous improvement and learn to foster a high-performance culture. This is especially true for key performers or personnel on the leadership track because leadership development assures the sustainability of high-performance cultures.
High-performance cultures are strongly influenced by employee learning pathways. If employees perceive prospects for growth and development, they are more likely to stay with their company. This encourages connection, ownership, and belonging to the organization.
Think about how you can promote learning in your organization. Any business must invest in professional growth. Nevertheless, if you want to promote a high-performance culture, do not ignore learning opportunities.
A high-performance organization must possess the agility and a change-oriented mindset. Organizations with a high-performance culture prepare for change and do not hesitate to alter their strategy, work procedures, workflows, or job descriptions to accomplish outcomes.
High-performance businesses are not exempt from the rapid speed of change that permeates every industry, just like all other organizations. However, individuals in high-performance environments view change as an opportunity rather than merely an impediment to surmount. Organizations with a high-performance culture are not hesitant to re-evaluate their strategy or redesign their workforce, work procedures, or other internal operations to accomplish outcomes. They anticipate, welcome, and use change as an opportunity to innovate.
How to create a high performance culture
The goal of developing a high-performance culture may seem lofty and impossible, but it is not. It is possible, but it takes planning, investment, support from the top, and time. Here is a starting point.
Make it a point to communicate
Any high-performance culture must prioritize open communication between management and employees. Employees can more easily achieve goals at the individual, team, and organizational levels when expectations are clearly stated. Similar to this, managers who are aware of their staff members' career and development goals are better able to coach them and assist them in finding learning opportunities that will help them advance their careers.
Managers can facilitate one-on-one meetings with their direct reports. During these regular check-ins, managers and staff members can discuss comments, share accomplishments, communicate progress, and identify solutions to problems.
Lattice 1:1s make it simple for managers and staff to collaborate to create an agenda in advance each week. They can also take and share notes inside a single, user-friendly platform and follow up on action items.
Set inspiring and ongoing goals
Setting motivating goals that promote high-performance behaviors is crucial for creating a high-performance team. Instead of putting more emphasis on input, there should be a shift toward rewarding results over labor hours. Senior teams should establish objectives that support business continuity and endure in the face of shifting conditions.
Clarifying individual, team, departmental, and corporate expectations is also essential. Organizations should follow a consistent process for creating goals, make their corporate objectives clear, and cascade them throughout the business. This will guarantee that workers connect their aims to the broad business goals and align with the company.
Cascading goals will give employees a greater purpose and encourage "big picture" thinking. This method of cascading goals ensures that the company's direction is clear. This guarantees a clear line of sight and promotes employee autonomy.
Prioritize performance management
Performance management allows managers to boost employee engagement, which is one of the many reasons it may be extremely beneficial. First, managers may emphasize a company's commitment to employee advancement by starting talks about employee development. Additionally, managers can coach, energize, and inspire their staff by providing concrete feedback and clear expectations.
Performance management includes performance evaluations as a crucial element. However, if not done correctly, they can become tedious drills that managers and workers despise. However, when conducted wisely and deliberately, performance reviews can give both sides a chance to give and receive feedback and check in on the status of projects, thereby improving the manager-employee relationship.
However, performance management must be a part of a continuous feedback culture to be genuinely effective. This entails instantaneous, regular praise and more formal mid-year and annual performance evaluations. Sharing real-time feedback is simple with Lattice, whether between peers, managers and direct reports or even between senior leadership and teams.
Encourage innovation and experimentation
Leaders must encourage innovation, creativity, and experimentation to create a high-performance culture. They must foster an atmosphere where workers are encouraged to be interested and try new things without worrying about facing the consequences if they fail. People are better able to create and achieve at a higher level when they can view failures as opportunities for learning.
We can learn from the innovation and experimentation that tech behemoths like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft foster in their workforces. For instance, Google's "innovation policy" allows all staff members to dedicate up to 20% of their working time to their initiatives. This openness made the development of Google Maps, Gmail, and Google News possible.
While some businesses cannot provide their employees with such rules owing to time and financial restrictions, they can still promote creativity by pushing people outside their comfort zones. For instance, give people the chance to make mistakes, teach staff members how to communicate new ideas, and provide online forums where people may discuss new projects.
You will enable employees to autonomously improve their performance by giving them the chance to learn, develop, and experiment.
High performance and frequent feedback are strongly correlated. Employees that receive effective performance feedback will improve personally and professionally, pick up new skills, and succeed. Leaders must adopt a feedback culture where constructive feedback conversations are promoted across the organization if they want to create a high-performance culture.
Although both formal and informal feedback should be used, continuous, informal feedback is the most powerful. Feedback between an employee and boss should be spontaneous, particular to an incident, and two-way. Encourage managers to give their teams timely feedback (both positive and constructive) by providing them informal feedback training to help them strengthen their coaching and mentoring techniques.
Another essential component of a high-performance culture is multidirectional feedback. Supervisors should provide feedback to their direct reports in a "top-down" manner, and employees should provide feedback in a "bottom-up" manner to their managers and the senior leadership team.
Benefits of a high-performance culture
- Improved employee engagement: A high-performance culture results in high levels of employee engagement.
- Better productivity, innovation, and creativity: A high-performance culture increases productivity, innovation, and creativity.
- A deep sense of belonging: A high-performance culture is made easier when employees have a sense of belonging with the company.
- An open culture of communication and feedback: Communication that is open and transparent and opportunities for giving and receiving criticism is very helpful.
- Improved cross-collaboration: It matters how your staff interacts with one another. They will therefore work more effectively together across functional lines as a result. You can efficiently grow teams within your company with the appropriate scaffolding.
Nicole Chimwamafuku is Finance, Strategy, and Performance Management Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a business management and human resources consulting firm.
Phone: +263 242 481946-48/481950
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