- In a survey released Tuesday by VitalSmarts, a leadership training provider, managers reported they prefer and foster very specific values as part of their company culture. But when asked, employees say what managers value is different from what they say they value.
For example, managers report they favor innovation, initiative, candor and teamwork. Employees offer a stark contrast, saying obedience, predictability, deference to authority and competition with peers are actually valued by managers.
- It's no surprise then that of the more than 1,200 employees, managers and executives surveyed, employees have a stronger negative view of corporate culture than managers and executives. In fact, the more senior the executive, the more positive their perception of their company culture – regardless of reality.
When employees believed that only obedience, predictability, deference to authority and competition with peers are valued, they are 32% less likely to be engaged, motivated and committed. Performance-wise, they are also 26% less likely to rate their organization as successful at innovating and executing.
If the survey is accurate (and this isn't the first time management and employees have different perceptions of workplace issues), employers have much work ahead when it comes to improving culture. According to the study, only 9% of employees have a favorable opinion of their culture. Managers and executives were slightly more optimistic with 15% reporting they viewed their corporate culture favorably.
Some ways employers might begin to close this major perception gap is to clearly delineate the business case (the reasons for change); focus on a few, not many, vital behaviors (the ones that have the most impact); really listen through real conversation, not an employee survey, and finally, do something. It's critical that after the listening is done that an action plan is created and deployed in the effort to change behavior and close the perception gap.