Company culture plays a significant role in employee productivity. PAUL FINDLAY explains why it’s so important and how FMs can create a positive workplace environment.
A company’s culture is like a fingerprint – a unique identifier. It is a factor that is distinctive to every business and an attribute that can breed a winning team.
While achieving an award-winning culture in your business can be a steep task, investing in it can deliver extraordinary outcomes.
As Jim Collins, of Good to Great fame and a legend among business consultants, once said: “In determining the right people, the good-to-great companies placed greater weight on character attributes than on specific educational background, practical skills, specialised knowledge or work experience.”
While many could read Collins’ wise words as being a key consideration in future recruitment, the management team of training and development provider PD Training (PDT) believes it should also be a key consideration for team development.
This particularly applies to industry sectors like facilities management, where for variously- and multi-skilled teams working
in high-rise environments or across multiple sites, being empowered by positive company culture is crucial.
It is a philosophy that has been a cornerstone of PDT’s business since its inception, and one that has been behind its business and awards success.
It was this thinking that saw it recently win accolades in the ‘Training and Professional Development’ and ‘Recruitment and On-boarding’ categories at the HRD Employer of Choice Awards.
While the team generally comes with some level of soft skills, or EQ (emotional intelligence quotient), the company also invests in its people to further develop their skills in managing disruption and change, displaying courage, increasing collaboration, engaging and developing people, solving problems and displaying resiliency.
Not only has this resulted in enhanced productivity by individual team members, but it has also cultivated a contemporary working culture full of gratitude, team synergy and overall contentment.
DISPELLING THE MYTHS
Now, there are those who say that the uniquely humanistic qualities that constitute the desirable soft skills of the workforce of today and tomorrow are unable to be taught.
Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson claims, “You can learn expertise and gain experience, but attitude is inherent.”
This is one area where I disagree with Branson, and many other business leaders, based on what I have witnessed from members of our team and many others who have participated in the various training programs focused on the non-technical skills required for the workforce.
PDT has taken a unique approach to the content, activities and tools that help people enhance their soft skills. Some would say it has flipped the paradigm of how soft skills are approached by the human resource (HR) and organisational development (OD) industry.
A DATA-LED APPROACH
The analysis of available data is both a powerful and an essential way of tracking the development of a winning team.
Based on the reality that any HR or OD investment needs to be accountable and demonstrate real return on investment, PDT analysed thousands of data points from participants of more than 200 professional development programs to understand what evidence-based materials were consistently adopted and delivered real impact.
Then it undertook a meta-analysis of behaviours, attributes and surveys of workplace performance and psychometrics in a multi-year study with over 40,000 data points to develop statistically reliable ways to monitor personal growth and predict corresponding improvements in workplace performance.
PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE ADVANTAGE
PDT’s data-driven approach to training has created many powerful benefits and created an award-winning, high-performing team with a positive workplace culture. These include:
Greater workplace courage – Courage was the first virtue Aristotle spoke about, as it makes the other virtues possible. In addition to being an important human virtue, it is also powerful for business as it promotes innovation. From experience, PDT has noted that by helping staff find their courage, they have the confidence to share their opinions and that there is less resistance to organisational change.
Increased collaboration – Studies have shown that just the mere perception of working collectively on a work task can supercharge employee performance. In fact, participants in a recent Stanford University study who were put in a collaborative environment stuck at their task 64 percent longer than their solitary peers, and also reported lower fatigue levels and a high success rate. PDT has noted a similar experience. Through providing tools to enhance collaboration, it has observed its employees work faster, do better work, be more innovative and have greater workplace satisfaction. It’s clear that businesses that embrace a collaborative strategy are more likely to outgrow competitors and improve their profit.
Resiliency – Resilience has become a growing focus area for employees in efforts to improve corporate wellness. A recent research report for Conduent HR services found 22 percent of companies have a resilience program, and 28 percent are set to offer a program soon. The resilience program PDT uses helps to build and maintain resiliency, assist employees to rebound from setbacks, push through difficult situations and embrace change.
There is a range of other benefits the company has witnessed through its focus on enhancing teams’ soft skills such as better decision-making, more effective communication, inspiring trust and valuing diversity.
But ultimately the result of its investment in soft skills is a positive team culture that has helped achieve and sustain a more productive, innovative and proactive workforce. ●
Paul Findlay is CEO of PDT, an Australian- owned professional development training company that operates in 10 countries.
This article also appears in the October/November issue of FM magazine.
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