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“Corporate Culture” is local

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A chart showing the four different worlds that employees have to function within.

Engagement is a psychological characteristic which is well worth pursuing. When people are highly engaged they are more productive, happier, do better quality work and tend to remain with your organisation (e.g. Harter, Schmidt, Hayes, 2002).

But what causes people to be engaged? The diagram above shows four of the key drivers of engagement. It turns out that employees live in four “worlds” at work.

  • The Job they do
  • The team they belong to
  • Their direct leader
  • And their organisation

A range of research outcomes have shown that the first three account for about 80% of the employee’s engagement at work. So, if you are in a good team in a bad organisation you are in heaven, if you are in a bad team in a good organisation you are in hell.

Local leaders sometimes feel disempowered but this research shows that local leaders can really make a difference to employees relationships to their jobs as well as to each other by demonstrating positive behaviours.

The term “Corporate Culture” is therefore almost a myth. Anyone who has measured engagement scientifically will know that the biggest differences in engagement are not between organisations, but between teams within each organisation.

If you would like to find out more about how each of the four factors above drive engagement join us for a free seminar on the topic in May. Find out more about how to measure engagement at work.

Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002). Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: A meta-analysis. Journal of applied psychology, 87(2), 268.

Andrew Marty

Managing Director at SACS Consulting

Andrew is a qualified psychologist who has over 25 years of human resource management consulting experience, including extensive senior executive search and selection experience.

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