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5 min read

4 ways company culture drives performance in tech

What does your company culture say about you? Discover the individual elements that make up a performance-driven company culture.

94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success, according to Deloitte’s Core Beliefs and Culture Survey. Further research shows that companies with strong organisational cultures perform better than their competitors. According to a study carried out by Harvard Business School Professor James Heskett, a strong company culture can improve a company’s performance by as much as 30%.

This sentiment is echoed in employee engagement specialists, Culture Amp’s recent report What New Tech Employees Need. Their data indicates that people who work at the most engaged companies are 20% more likely to recommend their employer and 30% less likely to be looking for a job elsewhere.

In this blog post, we look at four ways that company culture drives performance in tech. Let’s begin by defining what company culture is exactly.

What is company culture?

Company culture is often a matter of perception. To an employee, a company’s culture might be different to how it’s perceived by customers or competitors. It can be broadly defined as the values associated with the business in relation to its processes and policies. In simple terms, a company’s culture is about how it behaves. And since behaviour drives performance, it plays an important role in the success of an organisation. 

Culture brings together common values and goals

A united workforce is a productive workforce. Behind every company culture is a set of values and ambitions that are shared by employees and directors alike.

Technology companies with a strong sense of mission attract and onboard motivated workers who are willing to go the extra mile to deliver on the company’s overarching goals. According to research conducted by analytics company Gallup, workers who are engaged are 27% more likely to report ‘excellent’ performance.

Companies can drive performance by ensuring that their values and goals align with those of their workers. Thorough onboarding and training programmes can give new employees an insight into a company’s history and vision, providing essential context on why the business does what it does and its strategy for the future.

Likewise, setting both employee and company goals creates accountability and makes workers feel that their contributions are valued.

A strong culture means loyal employees

Companies that have a strong culture are more likely to retain their workers. High employee retention helps drive performance as experienced workers are generally more skilled and have the expertise to fulfil tasks effectively.

The tech industry is notoriously known for its high turnover rates

Thinking about the high hiring and training costs, it becomes clear that it’s in the interest of every technology company to integrate employee loyalty into its culture. When employees leave a company, the morale of workers who are left behind often depletes. It also takes time to fill vacant positions, which inevitably leads to a disruption in company productivity as other team members pick up the slack.

The technology sector moves quickly and is largely driven by demand and compensation. As the tech sector’s offerings become more competitive, the top talent is more likely to be open to seeking out new opportunities.

Tech companies can improve staff retention by integrating employee-focused initiatives into their culture. Introducing flexible working opportunities, wellbeing programmes and training opportunities helps motivate employees through acknowledging their value.

An inclusive company culture is more productive

According to analytics firm MSCI’s recent report Women on Boards: One piece of a Bigger Puzzle, a gender-balanced workforce is more productive. The report found that employee productivity is higher for companies with three or more women at board level than those with a single, or no female directors.

These statistics are interesting, particularly for the tech industry, where gender diversity is an ongoing challenge. CWJobs’ report, Increasing UK Competitiveness Through Gender Equality found that most key decision makers (87%) agree that there is a gender imbalance in favour of men. They also believe that it’s the responsibility of organisations (50%) to drive change.

One company that believes gender balance leads to increased business profits is telecommunications company Sky. The company recently won the ‘Game Changer’ Award at the 2018 Gender Equality Awards for its “Get Into Tech” programme. The initiative offers women free training in web development, focusing on PHP, JavaScript, HTML and CSS. In the past 12 months, Sky has hired 23 women into software development roles, many of whom hadn’t previously written code.

Tech companies can create an inclusive company culture by implementing returnship programmes to encourage more women back into work after a career break. Being transparent about salaries and removing bias in the recruitment process by using skills-based assessments can also help create a more inclusive company culture.

An open company culture encourages innovation

An open company culture is one that encourages employees to share information and ideas freely. Companies that actively encourage workers to provide feedback, make suggestions and question processes tend to be more innovative.

According to research conducted by management consultancy firm McKinsey, 84% of executives say that innovation is key to their growth strategy. However, according to Deloitte’s Global Board Survey, innovation is where director’s understanding is weakest.

It’s therefore clear that innovation and tech talent go hand-in-hand. In order for companies to achieve performance through innovation, attracting top talent needs to be integrated into their culture.

We’ve previously written about how companies can recruit skilled workers. We concluded that investing in technology education and offering workplace flexibility are two of the principal drivers for attracting talent.

In an interview with Business Reporter, our Director Dominic Harvey concluded: ‘Employers often miss out showcasing the unique selling points that are valued by candidates. Can team members work remotely? What are the possibilities of promotion? What does the future of the business look like?’