Which is more important? Employee engagement or Workplace culture?

Last updated: 2023-12-115 min read time
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Employee Engagement

Gallup, the global analytics and advice firm, recently published their State of the Global Workplace report for 2022, which surveyed 1000 people in each country of which there were over 160. The percentage of employees that were engaged at work globally was 21%, which showed a 1% rise from 2020, and a 9% rise when compared to 2009, and 33% of employees were thriving in their overall wellbeing. They put the lack of improvement in employee engagement down to the pandemic, which seems to have stalled many areas of employees’ overall wellbeing. Gallup also found that the U.S. and Canada showed the most employee engagement (33%) whilst Europe was, surprisingly, found to be the worst (14%).

It's fair to say that the 21% figure for engaged employees globally is low, but how important is it for employers? Well, if employee engagement is high then this helps retain talent, increase productivity, and creates good company ambassadors. It also goes without saying that company profitability goes up when employee engagement is high. Gallup claim that employees that are more engaged make a company 21% more profitable. It’s also fair to say that employee work tasks have to fulfil each individual’s needs and goals, and a company has to acknowledge when an employee has gone the extra mile within their role.


Workplace Culture

Workplace culture has undergone some fundamental changes due to the pandemic, and this has seen the rise of hybrid and remote work across the board. In some ways, this has led to the importance of company culture being questioned because can a company have a culture when its workforce is fully remote? The accountancy consultants Deloitte claim that 94% of executives and 88% of employees say that workplace culture is important to business success, but what exactly is workplace culture, and what makes one more efficient or better than the next?

There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to company culture. What works for Google might not work for Volvo, for example. What is important is that a company should define its core beliefs, which is then communicated and reinforced through various channels. A good workplace culture can only be as good as the communication that surrounds it. If communicated in the right way, employees feel better working for an employer with a good company culture, and therefore will get more enjoyment out of their work. This, in turn, should address the issue of hybrid / remote work, which has become the norm for many. If a good workplace culture is created out of good communication, then employees should still feel connected even if they don’t find themselves at their company’s headquarters or one of their offices. According to Built In, the online community for startups and tech companies, 65% of employees feel they are more productive at home. So, employers really need to think about hybrid / remote work as part of their workplace culture.


What wins? Employee Engagement or Workplace Culture?

The quick answer: neither. The two are unequivocally interwoven together, and neither can work without the other. A strong workplace culture can drive employee engagement through efficient and well-planned communication, but employee engagement relies upon job satisfaction, recognition, and working on own initiatives as well as in a team.

The key to building both employee engagement and workplace culture is through digital HR platforms that work both on desktop and mobile devices. Through a state-of-the-art HR platform, an employer can communicate its workplace culture easily and efficiently, no matter where employees might find themselves. When it comes to employee engagement through a HR platform, the same can be said about efficient communication. Employees should have the means to fill in surveys about how they feel, and if their engagement is low, then managers can act to solve this. Communications about company events, benefits (e.g. gym memberships, wellbeing discounts), and recognitions (e.g. in-house programs or bonus schemes) through a digital HR platform boosts employee engagement when they know what their total rewards are.

Companies should be concerned about the 21% statistic as reported by Gallup, but there is help out there if they want to reach out and seize it. It all boils down to good communication that starts at the top of the company, and works it way down to each and every employee – on-site, hybrid, remote or otherwise, and the best way to do this …. is to invest in HR tech.

Do you want to know more about employee engagement and workplace culture? Download The Benefits and Engagement Report: A European employer’s guide to employee experience of the 2020s below.

Download The Benefits and Engagement Report