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December 3, 2021 | Insights

Is Your DC Culture Impacting Job Performance?

December 3, 2021 | Insights

There’s no question that company culture has shifted quite a lot over the past few decades. While the corner office used to be the goal, today’s workers see professional success in different ways. How the workplace defines success is often measured in its culture. However, that culture is often in the eyes of the beholder. A CFO may define it solely as it relates to productivity. A hiring manager and the HR team could use metrics like turnover rates or worker’s compensation claims. Management and sales may keep their focus on customer satisfaction and order volume.

Those discussions, and subsequent intelligence from them, are unquestionably important. However, if you don’t involve the staff directly in conversations about company culture, those very metrics outlined above will suffer. Productive organizations remain successful because of the shared beliefs held among the entire company. 

What Does the Data Say About How Workplace Culture Impacts Performance?

For most of the 20th century, management theory put productivity first. When sales are up, so is morale, and so on. Productivity, however, does not always increase your retention rates or limit turnover. While incentives like bonuses and overtime are important in keeping staff, your values as an organization have to go beyond pay and salary alone. 

Here’s something you already know: Employee churn is expensive. Gallup estimated that turnover in the U.S. costs businesses $1 trillion, and reported that “52% of voluntarily exiting employees say their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving their job.” 

Organizational culture and priorities often have an outsized impact on productivity and retention. The Journal of Organizational Behavior analyzed 95 different auto dealerships for six years, looking for links between culture and performance. What they ultimately found was fairly direct.

Because all dealerships sold the same products (model and make of automobiles), the product data inputs were essentially identical. What they assumed, and concluded, was that culture can influence performance (vs. the inverse). 

Your leadership culture could be chasing your best folks away, with Gallup citing that management can impact team engagement as much as 70%. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) put respect and treatment above compensation as a primary motivator for why employees choose to stay with a company. 

Most of the reasons that employees walk and take the bottom line with them? In a word: culture.

Employees Don’t Quit Jobs…

They quit bosses. It’s one of the oldest expressions in the workforce, but if the Great Resignation (and compelling data long before it) demonstrates, we’ve continued to say it for one good reason: It’s true. However, it may be more accurate to update it with a clarification. Employees quit leadership cultures.

Usually, where you see a lot of turnover, there may be issues with management, and employees are more likely to leave than they are to complain about a boss. 

One way to reward longevity is with promotions, but before you send someone up a layer in the org chart, make sure they have the right skills to lead. Modern management skills are more holistic, and employees have a higher set of expectations from a job in 2021 than they did even five years ago. That includes leadership that drives a culture of empathy and opportunity. 

Start with Leadership Skill Training

A Gallup survey in 2021 found that 15% of workers surveyed were disengaged while they were at work. A good manager should respond to those signs of disengagement early. How can leadership do this?

Listen to and address employee concerns, for one. Can you solve all of them? No, but often feeling heard and believed could make all the difference. If everyone on the team is confident that management and coworkers can support them during a rough time, or can hold down the fort when they’re sick, that could mean the difference between them staying or leaving.

So, spend time speaking to and checking in with their teams. Management should be just as invested in an individual as they are in the team, or the client. One-year reviews are still valid, but they’re not enough. Managers who are open to feedback are as important as leaders with open-door policies. Train your management to:

Allow for anonymous feedback. If someone wants—or needs—to raise an issue about safety or another colleague, an anonymous forum or ticket system gives them a greater sense of security and privacy.

Create a culture of recognition. Train management to encourage positive feedback, even for small contributions. The more employees feel appreciated by colleagues and management, the more they are likely to look forward to coming into work.

Look for signs of disengagement. Is a productive employee suddenly late more often, calling in sick, taking more personal days, or isolating at work? Management should be on the lookout for those signs and talk to the employee in an open and non-confrontational way as soon as possible. Sometimes, a cup of coffee or lunch can go a long, long way to smooth things over. 

Improve skill training and adopt new technology. Even in entry-level or low-skilled jobs, employees want to feel like they’re learning and growing. So, management needs to feel equally empowered to provide that training, as well as access to platforms and technology that will (A) make that employee appealing for promotions or new opportunities down the line and (B) make their jobs less stressful. 

Investing in Management and Tech is an Investment in Culture

Keeping people engaged and satisfied requires ongoing investment in your leadership and the platforms your staff uses.

How do you know when and how to make those improvements and how can those improvements scale to keep up with the demanding pace of the yard? While culture isn’t necessarily turnkey, technology and staffing overflow is when you work with the right partner. 

For years, NSSL has provided logistics and staffing support for busy yards across North America. We take an individualized approach to yard management, providing you with some of the leading technology in our industry, as well as increasing or decreasing the number of operators and trucks you need based on volume. Contact us today for a free yard audit.