What is a High-performance Culture?

A high-performance culture is an organizational culture built on a set of behaviours and norms that lead an organization to achieve better results. That is to say, companies with high-performance cultures achieve better financial and non-financial results than companies without high-performance cultures. Non-financial results include employee retention, customer satisfaction, competitiveness and innovation. In other words, having a high-performance culture isn’t just about encouraging good behaviour or empowering employees, it’s a combination of both.

Characteristics of a High-performance Culture

Organizations with high-performance cultures have several common characteristics which include:

1. Strong leaders

Team performance is built on the foundation of leadership. In other words, leaders set the tone, communicate action-oriented goals, and affect employee performance in many ways. Furthermore, they set the bar for performance through their actions and behaviours. For example, a leader who works hard to meet key performance indicator (KPI) goals will inspire their employees to do the same. Essentially, leaders of high-performance cultures motivate employees and inspire them to be and do their best. They are both cheerleader and coach, creating a work environment where employees feel engaged and empowered.

2. Engaged and empowered employees

Organizations with a high-performance culture ensure that employees have the necessary tools, knowledge, and skills to confidently make key decisions on their own. As a result, this leads to increased engagement. In fact, according to a SHRM survey, 70 percent of employees ranked that being empowered to take action when a work problem or opportunity arises was an important factor of their engagement.

Group of high-performance culture employees greeting supervisor
3. Continuous development

High-performance organizations know that employees need to continually improve their skills and knowledge to experience long-term performance. Therefore, organizations need to evaluate employee development needs and determine strategies to support ongoing growth and learning. 

4. Openness to change

Like all organizations, high-performing organizations experience constant change as they adapt to technological advancements, competition, and changing consumer behaviours. So, this is why openness to change and agility are key characteristics of organizations with a high-performance culture. These organizations plan for change and are ready to adjust strategies, work practices, processes, or job descriptions to achieve optimal results.

How to Create a High-performance Culture

To create a high-performance culture within a company, organization’s should consider five key elements: 

1. Clarify and communicate values

Value added to your business processes makes your company more desirable to work at and more profitable. The values you define for your organization will drive company behaviour day in and day out. Additionally, it will contribute to the overall success of your company.

2. Reinforce positive behaviour

Fostering a positive and motivative mindset in your employees is important. So, leaders should reward employees who represent the values of the organization as it increases the chances of them performing well again. When employees perform better, customers are more satisfied, and the overall success of the company improves as well. Therefore, to reinforce positive behaviour successfully, leaders should motivate employees to work efficiently and productively. As a result, their confidence will be increased.

3. Encourage open communication

Organizations that encourage open communication experience a more trusting and healthy workplace atmosphere. To clarify, no matter what the topic is, communication should be unbiased and open. Furthermore, effective leaders ensure that the flow of information is smooth from top- level to entry-level employees.

4. Empower employees

While employees trust that their leaders will make decisions that will positively impact them, they need to also feel empowered to make key decisions on their own. In fact, employees perform better and are more engaged when they feel empowered. To help employees reach their full potential, successful leaders create a culture of trust,  communicate a clear vision, and provide the relevant training for professional growth. 

5. Collect feedback

It is essential that organizations promote a feedback-rich culture to establish a positive work environment. By collecting feedback from your employees, you will have a better sense of how employees feel about any internal processes that may need improvement. To create a feedback culture, leaders should:

  • Encourage employees to submit suggestions
  • Reassure employees that they can submit suggestions relating to any topic
  • Provide feedback back to them – this ensures that employees feel heard