Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the homebuilding industry as well as construction engineer, site manager and in training, auditing and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental and safety management awards for clients.

Denis is co-author of 'The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence'.

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The disconnect with company culture

September 14, 2012

A recent survey conducted by Deloitte entitled ‘Core Beliefs and Culture’ showed that culture creates strong business performance, it also showed a key disconnect between leaders and employees.

Both “executives 94% and employees 88% believe that a distinct workplace culture is important to business success and  83% of executives and 84% of employees ranked engaged and motivated employees as the top factor that substantially contributes to a company’s success.”

There is a correlation between employees who say they are “happy at work” and feel “valued by [their] company” and those who say their organization has a clearly articulated and lived culture.

Indeed the report found that “clearly articulated and lived culture had a correlation with strong business performance!  Exceptional organizations were those with core beliefs that are unique, simple, leader-led, repetitive, and embedded in the culture.”

So far the findings show a significant impact on a business from having a positive culture and environment.

However “there is a disconnect between organizations simply talking about their culture and those that are actually embedding their beliefs into their operations.”

“Executives have an inflated sense of their workplace culture when compared to employees based on significant differentials in their responses to questions about how culture is expressed in their organization.”

Also “when considering what factors impact workplace culture, executives rank tangible elements such as financial performance 65% and competitive compensation 62% among the highest, whereas those factors were among the lowest for employees.

In contrast, employees rank intangible elements such as regular and candid communications 50%, employee recognition 49%, and access to management/leadership 47% highest.”

So executives perceive employee satisfaction and their company culture as being stronger than it is in reality. Also while of course competitive compensation is very important, often it is the non-financial side that is forgotten! That is the recognition of employees for their achievements, honestly communicating with them and ensuring that you are connecting with them in person are all critical aspects of embedding a culture and expressing leadership.  Employees need to be able to have direct access to leadership.

Leading from a desk and saying great things in an email, blog or company monthly newsletter just won’t do!

“45% of executives say social media has a positive impact on workplace culture while only 27% employees agree. 

41% of executives compared with only 21% of employees believe that social networking helps to build and maintain workplace culture.

As it relates to management visibility, 38% of executives think social media allows for increased transparency while only 17% of employees agree.”

So a strong positive company culture will improve your corporate performance but to achieve it you need to connect with your team in person, recognize them and ensure that they can communicate with you most importantly in person.

Finally, this report underlines the need to find out what your team REALLY thinks. DON’T just ASSUME, don’t have a disconnect!

Further details on this report including charts can be found at:

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