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How Workplace Culture Drives Employee Experience

Initially thought to be nebulous and the "HR flavor of the week," the concept of employee experience has evolved significantly in recent years. And now that we know there's a link between employee experience and overall profitability, its value has skyrocketed.

There are three business areas that intersect to create an employee's experience at work. Along with technology & systems and communications & productivity, a key contributor to employee experience is your overall organizational culture.

Culture is by far the most subjective of the three pillars of employee experience. It's all about the way your job, your colleagues, and your company make you feel. And while historically considered to be taboo in the workplace, an emotional response at work is one of the most powerful contributors to overall business success or failure.

Let's take a look at how organizational culture impacts employee experience at your company.

It defines your purpose

I often find myself thinking back to a webinar we hosted with senior Forrester analyst David K. Johnson. It sticks in my mind, not because we had big names on the docket, but because I felt so enlightened by the discussion. During the session, David cited research that found the most important thing to employees was, "being able to make progress every single day in the work that they believe is most important."

Purpose and culture are intrinsically tied together. Your organization's purpose drives your employees' purpose, which in turn drives culture and employee experience.

It influences your public image

We live in the era of "influencers." From YouTube stars to Instagram models, the word of one person with a large following can make or break a business. Though it sounds scary, for organizations that place a high value on their employee experience, influencers are marketing gold. For those who don't, well...

Remember the United Airlines "involuntary de-boarding" incident that was captured on video and shared on social media platforms? In response to the video, several travelers vocally refused to book their flights on United, and instead chose to travel with other airlines. In a statement to Business Insider, airline expert George Hobica blamed United's poor "top-down culture," saying that the "CEO and other leaders set the atmosphere for the rest of the employees."

In stark contrast, consider Wendy's. After re-thinking the way their marketing team operated, the fast food corporation's social media team took flight and became an international hit.

Kurt Kane, chief concept and marketing officer at Wendy's credits a shift in culture with the brand's newfound success, saying that removing the existing bureaucracy and empowering employees to make their own decisions helped his team thrive. “We had too many layers of approval,” he told me. “The team just didn’t feel as empowered.”

For Wendy's, making a cultural change completely transformed their social media account, and the experience of the employees managing it.

On the business side of things, Wendy's was able to earn 970,000 new Twitter followers. They also beat out Burger King as the number 3 fast food restaurant in the U.S. with a 4% share of the $247 billion U.S. market last year.

The message is clear. Place a strong emphasis on building a positive workplace culture, and you'll see an increase in employee experience and, ultimately, profit.