Tech can’t fix everything: Large majority of workers say company culture is what drives productivity, innovation, and customer service

by | Sep 27, 2023 | Public Relations

Business leaders are scrambling to get AI into their operations to boost their company’s productivity and CX efforts, and of course that’s a good plan, but new research sheds light on what brands and businesses can also do to drive those initiatives more organically—pay more attention to strengthening company culture. Nearly three-fourths of U.S. workers (73 percent) say the culture at their workplace impacts their ability to do their best work.

The new research from Eagle Hill Consulting and Ipsos takes the pulse of today’s workplace, where cultural toxicity is under a much brighter spotlight than before the pandemic—for example, just requiring employees to come into the office can be seen as contentious if not communicated properly (a nonexistent scenario before 2020). When asked about the most important elements of the ideal organizational culture, workers cited respect (74 percent), integrity (57 percent), stability (55 percent), ethical treatment (53 percent), and employee wellbeing (51 percent).

A healthy workplace leads to healthy results

The research findings also reveal that 72 percent of workers surveyed say that culture drives their productivity and efficiency, while another 65 percent of employees say culture impacts their ability to best serve customers, and 64 percent say it drives innovation and creativity.

“It wasn’t long ago that employees were walking out the door in droves during the Great Resignation, largely dissatisfied with their organizations, their treatment by employers, and burnout,” said Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting, in a  news release. “While employment trends have shifted as the economy has softened, employers can’t lose sight of the fundamental importance of a strong culture. Not only does it help retain your best workers, a healthy culture drives peak performance, innovation, and customer service.” 

A successful culture requires commitment and effort

“The most successful companies are intentional about their culture and employee wellbeing,” Jezior said. “Company culture just doesn’t just magically happen. Leaders must define their company culture, manage and monitor culture, and model the behaviors they want to see across the workforce. You can bet that when culture isn’t a high priority, a company isn’t competitive, recruitment and attrition are chronic problems, and reputational issues emerge.”

Additional survey findings:

  • When queried about who impacts organizational culture, 86 percent say it’s their colleagues, 79 percent say it’s their boss, 75 percent indicate it’s human resources leaders, and 69 percent say it’s executive leadership.
  • Actions employers could take to create a healthy workplace include investing in improving employee wellbeing (51 percent), holding workers accountable for bad behavior (46 percent), and leadership development (42 percent).
  • When it comes to employee wellbeing, only 30 percent of workers say their company has increased its focus during the last year. Fifty-four percent say the focus on employee wellbeing remained steady, and 17 percent say there is less of a focus. 
  • When asked who they trust in their workplace, 45 percent of workers say they trust their colleagues, 42 percent trust their boss, and only 13 percent trust executive leadership. 
  • Thirty-nine percent of workers say their organizational culture is better than most organizations, and 10 percent say it is worse. Fifty-one percent say their culture is about the same as compared to other organizations.
  • Eighteen percent of employees say they have reported unethical behavior observed in their workplace.

Read seven way to fix a toxic work environment.

These findings are from the 2023 Eagle Hill Consulting Culture Survey conducted by Ipsos from July 25-28, 2023. The survey included 1315 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter