A group-focused culture serves employees better than a highly-individualized workplace
- According to new research from the University of Alabama, employees favor a culture that benefits everyone over one that caters to their personal preferences. The study of more than 700 workers, representing a range of occupations, found that a fair, supportive and stable culture appealed to most of them more than a personalized approach. Research results were published in an article in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
- The article's lead author, Culverhouse College of Business research fellow Dustin Wood, said while personalization might increase employees' job satisfaction, a culture that provides what most people want will prove more desirable. "What really makes a difference is if your organization has the things that pretty much everyone wants — such as offering you opportunities for professional growth," he said.
- The research showed most people prefer organizations that prioritize quality, hold high performance expectations, value experimentation and collaboration, offer professional growth opportunities and provide employment security.
Some workplace cultures emphasize a nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic, while others foster more informal, relaxed atmospheres. No matter the modus operandi, workplace culture can determine the success of an organization's recruitment, engagement and retention efforts.
As the UA research revealed, satisfaction with workplace culture might correlate more to group values rather than individual preferences. Barbara Porter, chief customer experience officer for Senn Delaney, previously told HR Dive that culture determines how people act and work together to deliver results for an organization. To work successfully together, employees' personal satisfaction is often secondary to the satisfaction generated from group collaboration. Personalization in training and benefits might bolster engagement, but it might not be as productive when it comes to overall culture.
Social, political and workforce changes are constantly influencing and, in some cases, reshaping organizational culture, presenting serious challenges for HR. For instance, the gig economy is changing the employment landscape, including how people are recruited and how work gets done and by whom. The #MeToo movement is affecting how employers respond to allegations of sexual misconduct and what protocols are needed to prevent it. Employers must be prepared to adjust and, if necessary, overhaul their culture in response to external and internal forces.