Company culture is key to employee engagement, but don't count on a quick fix

It has been shown that high employee engagement can lead to favorable business outcomes, and though many executives may think shifting company culture can lead to higher employee engagement, they shouldn't expect a couple of quick fixes to have a substantial effect on employee happiness, according to strategy+business.

Shifting company culture to be more employee-friendly does not just mean offering free snacks or other kinds of surface-level office amenities that have become trendy in recent years. Employee engagement is not only connected to culture, but also to compensation and office layout, factors that are independent of culture but no less important to employee satisfaction. Employers must address concerns such as these in concert with cultural changes.

Employee engagement can be an organic byproduct of a cohesive, top-down culture evolution, but trying to achieve it as a tangible goal of a culture shift will seem transparent and rushed.

"Clearly, the necessary critical behaviors that drive performance in a culture evolution effort are distinct from behaviors that improve employee engagement. Of course, driving performance through culture is not mutually exclusive with driving engagement," writes Alice Zhou, an adviser with global consulting firm Strategy&. "Ideally, the critical few behaviors and related structural/process changes that drive performance will harness sources of emotional energy within the company and thus also improve engagement."

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