Do you know the biggest predictor of employee attrition? I’ll give you a hint…it isn’t pay. It’s actually workplace culture.
Workplace culture has always been important, but now more than ever, people are willing to leave their job if the culture of the organization is not a good fit for them.
Culture impacts profitability, productivity, profits and public perception. But what impacts culture?
- People. The team you hire—and their collective personalities, values, skills, diverse experiences and everyday behaviors—make up what we refer to as workplace culture. How they interact with each other on a daily basis impacts everything about the company. Are they collaborative or finger-pointing? Supportive or competitive? Task or team oriented? Your co-workers and team should be people who build each other up, support each other, and work with each other, not against each other.
- Leadership. The way the company leaders communicate and interact with employees has a huge impact on the company’s health. What leaders emphasize, the stories they tell, and what they publicly celebrate and recognize matters. So does their ability to bring a vision to life, rally the team when there’s a setback, visibly embody the company’s values and earn the trust of employees and stakeholders alike.
- Management. Similarly, how the organization is managed makes a difference. Clear systems, procedures, hierarchy, controls, and goals help drive an organization forward. If these are also fair, well-vetted and frequently reviewed, fewer mistakes (and less drama) occur. The degree to which managers empower employees to make decisions and offer feedback also affects morale.
- Workplace practices. This plays a part in shaping the culture as well, especially as it relates to retention and advancement of employees. This includes how a company recruits, selects, onboards, compensates, recognizes, trains, develops, reviews and honors the outside commitments of its employees. Our survey showed that employees experience frustration in a lack of clarity in this area.
- Policies. Nobody can say that there aren’t enough policies, procedures or regulations in aviation. If they do, I’m sure many of us could send them a stack of FAA or EASA-issued handbooks. How we apply those operations policies, as well as those issued by any department of labor, matters. Companies also have employment policies such as attendance requirements, uniform or dress codes, ethics expectations, and zero-tolerance policies for certain behaviors. Even more important than the policies themselves are how consistently they are applied and enforced. Are they real policies or just lip service?
- Priorities. A company’s priorities are found in their mission, vision and values. They are critically important. If you value profit over safety, you may end up with incidents or worse. But, if you value safety at the cost of operational efficiency, you may end up out of business. The mission, vision and values of an organization should be clear enough to build enthusiastic buy-in. They should be almost over-communicated, and only changed upon very careful consideration. My most successful coaching clients hire for values. They, and their team members, can articulate not only what those values are but what those values look like in practice—and they live them out as much as possible.
- Communication. Overarching all of these impacts is communication. Not surprisingly, a lack of clear expectations, unprofessional verbal and non-verbal communication, inconsistency, and the absence of transparency lead the causes for workplace dissatisfaction.
You may be wondering, why is it important to know what impacts culture? I’ll tell you why. Workplace discord is a 12 times more accurate indicator of employee turnover than dissatisfaction with pay. Yes…12 times. I think we can all agree, workplace culture is extremely important, and something we should strive to make better every day at our organizations.
If you’re a company leader looking to better your organization’s workplace culture, visit https://theaviationcollective.com/leaders/ for additional resources and next steps.