An online job portal recently released a study revealing Filipinos are now less happy in the workplace due to lack of career development and poor management style in the companies they work for. Meanwhile, those who were happy in their jobs cited "relationships with colleagues," "work location," "schedule," "company reputation," and "values" as some of their reasons.
Though at first glance, the data doesn't seem to align, any seasoned HR can decipher what these factors have in common and how they actually add up--they all comprise a company's culture.
There are many ways to define what culture is, which essentially makes it difficult to identify. If the lifeblood of the business is its employees, culture is the adrenaline that charges them up toward prosperity in the years to come. When cultivating company culture becomes a priority not only to HR but to the whole organization, winning becomes a possibility for every moment they have as they run toward the future.
Young and Agile
For us at BPI-Philam for example, our company culture is all about energy and grit--our own translation of the homegrown word "gigil"--a strong desire, tenacity, hunger not just to perform, but outperform.
We are well-known for our energy and agility. Though we are diverse in terms of age group, everyone is young here and the youthfulness of the workforce propels the company's performance.
This can be confirmed as year after year our employees are breaking records and reaching new heights--all that despite people calling financial work "not easy."
Our CEO, Surendra Menon, is a firm believer in the importance of cultivating a strong company culture, inculcating it effectively to our employees over just executing strategies to consistently hit organization goals. This is because he understands that at the end of the day, a business strategy won’t work if the people who need to make it work can’t rally behind it.
We may have many plans to drive our organization's growth, but strategies often change in an agile and sporadic workforce such as ours. 90% of our employees aren't housed in the same building, and without something to unite and anchor them, the organization won't be functioning as well as it does today.
The Harvard Business Review publication on Leading Culture emphasizes the strength of company culture as a driver of positive organizational outcomes. Culture, in our case, defines how our strategy is created to deliver business goals. It enables us to remain agile despite industry changes and adopt new ways of doing business.
Word-of mouth became our strongest recruitment tool as our employees themselves are bringing in applicants which make up 65% of our total new hires. We advocate to our employees the same advocacy we have for customers: total wellness in health and wealth with Philam Vitality--the company's wellness program. We provide them with wearable devices and phones equipped with free Vitality. Also, wellness activities are scheduled for them four days a week which are all free, they only have to register.
For the financial aspect we promote financial literacy, provide them with retirement benefits and investment options, these help in managing and building their wealth.
All these because we desire for them to experience the benefits of total wellness themselves--that it's something we truly value and strongly believe in. We don't want them to sell products, we want them to believe in transforming lives together through experience.
Cracking the code of Company Culture
Two years ago, another business publication posed company culture as a "must-have" in order to attract, engage, and retain the modern workforce. Their article notes that culture and engagement is considered as the number one challenge many HR leaders cite and the findings of the recent Job Happiness Index report confirms this.
Many companies worry about high turnover rates, but culture is important in three stages of employee retention.
First in recruitment, culture paints for your prospective employees a picture of what it would be like to work for you. The clearer your culture, the more vibrant the picture is to applicants, the easier it is for them to visualize themselves in your team.
Next in engagement, culture supplements the developmental map every employee is given. How they are honed, what values are taught then put into practice, and what opportunities they are given to contribute to the community are some areas where this can be applied.
Finally in retention, the sum of their experience being recruited and engaged estimates areas of growth they can work on to rise to new positions and what other opportunities are afforded to them. This is where an employee will decide whether they will remain with a company or seek greener pastures elsewhere.
When your workforce can clearly see where they fit in your organization and how they contribute to success through your company culture you are making yourself a trustworthy employer they can forge a strong and lasting relationship with.
Whether they realize it or not, businesses exude their own brand and style of management that rubs off on its employees. This eventually becomes visible to the industry they move in through the work they put out. That's why I believe now more than ever companies must realize the importance of defining what their culture is because their growth, development, resilience, and ultimate success as a corporate body depends on it.
Monica Bondoc is the Head of Human Resources of BPI-Philam. She leads an energetic workforce determined to do well and do good through grit and perseverance to make insurance easy to get and have for every Filipino.