Poor workplace culture is a silent, but deadly, killer of employee loyalty

Study shows 42% of UK employees would gladly choose to work longer hours than work for a company that doesn’t value their workplace culture.

The average employee turnover rate in the UK is 10% per year, according to employment website Monster.com. In the battle for employee loyalty, engagement is often thought of by HR and internal communications teams to be a key differentiator.

But as “The Culture Factor: Improving Employee Loyalty and Relationships” research study released by Speakap indicates, culture trumps engagement and has far more pernicious consequences for employee satisfaction, workplace relationships and loyalty.

Workplace culture is key

For example, when asked to choose between working 60 hours per week and working for a company that doesn’t value culture, nearly half (42%) of those surveyed in the UK said they would gladly work longer hours rather than sacrifice culture. Plus, 58% said they would take a job with a competing company if the new company had a better workplace culture.

According to Patrick Van Der Mijl, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Speakap: “The sad fact of the matter is that many companies today mistake physical perks and amenities as being a critical part of workplace culture. They simply are not.

“Culture is the sum of a company’s values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours and attitudes. By focusing only on providing superficial perks, such as free food, recreational games, yoga and social events, companies are proving that they don’t understand what culture truly means, how it should be activated and how it can positively (and negatively) impact the employee experience.”

Key findings from the study include:

  • To build a strong culture, emphasise respect, fairness, trust and integrity over transactional engagement. When asked to specify the most important attribute of a strong culture, amongst the UK respondents, the following qualities ranked highest: respect and fairness (45%), trust and integrity (24% ) and teamwork (8%).
  • Companies are too stuck in their ways when it comes to culture improvements. 34% of the UK respondents said their company is stuck in its ways and isn’t open to suggested improvements to culture.
  • Pre-boarding is the new on-boarding. When asked what makes them feel connected to a company’s culture during the first 30 days, 22% of the UK respondents said being invited to join an employee communications app and communicate with colleagues before the first day of work and another 21% reported being assigned a buddy/mentor before the first day.
  • Job guidance, positive recognition and shift/schedule flexibility go a long way to motivate employees long-term. When asked what makes them feel connected to a company’s culture after the first 30 days, 25% of the UK respondents said ongoing job guidance and support, while 19% cited positive recognition and rewards and 13% said shift/schedule flexibility has a similar effect.
  • Workplace relationships are the lifeline of culture and engagement. 93% of the UK respondents said having a positive working relationship with their manager is either very important or important. Yet, 14% admitted that they don’t have a positive relationship with their direct/line manager.

Patrick concluded: “While the study’s findings clearly indicate a culture problem exists within many organizations, there is an upside. Technology, particularly employee communications platforms like Speakap, can be a vital tool in helping to make employees feel connected to both the company culture and fellow colleagues across the entire organization. This can lead to stronger workplace relationships, increased collaboration, more personal fulfilment and a greater sense of loyalty for employees – that means less turnover for companies.”

>See also: Millennials are the hardest employees to engage, say HR