ABA Banking Journal - July/August 2017 - 40
> HUMAN RESOURCES
How to build a culture of employee belief
in an environment of constant change.
BY KERRY O'LEARY
t's no surprise that employees who can articulate what
an organization stands for-and believe in the mantra
themselves-work harder to reach both personal and
business success. But, how can an organization instill
pride in its employees so that they walk the walk, when
people are uniquely motivated? The question becomes: are
people uniquely motivated? Or, are there innate motivators
organizations can emphasize to build what Chester Elton and
Adrian Gostick call a "culture of belief"?
"There absolutely are," says Elton-an author, speaker and
organizational culture guru who has shared his insights on
MSNBC and CNN and published in the New York Times, Wall
Street Journal and his own series of best-selling books. "And
the best managers are those who can follow a simple, yet
effective road map to getting their team 'all in.'"
The "all-in road map" charts the seven steps to attaining
a high-performing culture, which in and of themselves are
sound tips: define your burning platform, create a customer
focus, develop agility, share everything, partner with your
talent, root for each other and establish clear accountability.
This isn't advice that would shock a seasoned manager.
When all seven steps are at play, a high-performing workplace
culture begins to exist.
Elton offers an equation to define high performance: E+E+E,
or, engaged, enabled and energized. The three Es pave the
road map, so to speak, giving a path from step to step and
back again. A high-performing employee is one who can say
"I believe what I do matters, and I can make a difference,"
explains Elton. And the key to getting there centers on
managers' abilities to tap into motivators (fulfilling the seven
steps), resulting in both bottom-line and reputational wins.
ABA BANKING JOURNAL | JULY/AUGUST 2017
It's an entirely people-first philosophy, says Elton. As
evidenced from a 2012 study from research firm Willis
Towers Watson-which surveyed some 300,000 individuals
from industries across the spectrum and informed the Elton
and Gostick book All In-motivation counts because people
come first, he explains.
"The research reaffirms that the human element of business
was still critical, even in today's world of automation and
virtual contact," says Elton, "In essence, your people drive
The respondents tell a story of open communication
and authentic recognition as motivators to perform, what
Elton refers to as the flattening of an organization. "A flat
organization has a direct line of sight to leadership, and that
is always a positive," Elton explains. Among the first steps
toward flat status: executives who walk the floor, creating
opportunities to interact; all-employee town halls; more
structured internal communications vehicles like newsletters
or online forums; and the all-important "recognition
piece," which shows that employees who receive personal
recognition for their work are more motivated to perform.
"The old school way was 'no news is good news' or 'I'll tell
you if you need to know'," says Elton, noting the contrast
to what was found in the survey. He says employees are
three times more likely to love their jobs when they have
trusted relationships at work. He also cites a Harvard
Business Review study from 2013 that concluded a five-toone ratio of positive to negative comments in the workplace
translates to higher performance. That same study found
that culture accounts for nearly 30 percent of the differential